In his latest video On A Level, Wiley, the world’s most brilliant (and most grumpy) grime artist, is shown casually strolling out of his suburban mansion in Nike socks and pool sliders. Incidentally, it’s not the first time this unisex look has appeared on an unlikely style icon, from David Beckham and Justin Bieberto Kristen Stewart and Alexander Wang’s five-year-old niece Aila. And now Wiley. We have arguably reached peak sock-and-sandal.
If you’re after a unisex look, here are five ways you might do it:
1. The Wiley look
Christopher Kane showed pool sliders in his spring/summer 2012 womenswear collection – reflecting a look that was already popular with internet artists and off-duty footballers – and they’ve since started appearing everywhere. If you’re after the Wiley look, all you’ll really need are matching socks and sliders. Most choose Adidas, but Wiley chooses Nike as he hangs out in his driveway with his health goth rapper mates in all-black sportswear.
That said, just the other day a mate of mine was complaining about “gazing miserably into the middle distance in Soho Square, amid the filthy mist and pigeon shit, thinking how living in London in 2014 feels like being stuck in some perpetual IKEA nightmare, surrounded by bored couples in matching trainers glumly traipsing around in circles looking at things they neither need or even want to buy”. So if you sympathise with his thoughts yet still wish to stay on-trend, you could always resort to the trusted Birkenstocks-and-woolly-socks combination. Just don’t wear it round Wiley’s house.
I like: sliders, £16, by Nike
2. The Juicy look
Today, the Californian dream has turned sour – it’s Lana Del Rey singing sad girl songs about death and Kendall Jenner dressing sort of like a goth. But not so long ago it was a velour candyland, one symbolised by Paris Hilton in her pink Juicy Couture tracksuit. Now, mostly through the efforts of Joey Essex, and young designers such as Nasir Mazhar and Astrid Andersen, that velvety look has crossed over into menswear.
Most recently Mr Essex turned up at Los Angeles International Airport in an all-white Nasir Mazhar tracksuit. Before that he appeared on This Morning in a red velvet jumper and gold chain and, in my opinion, looked rather regal; like William III of Orange, or a posh Christmas tree ornament. If you would like to look and feel luxurious on the cheap, velour is always a good option.
3. The One Direction look
The strangest look to have crossed over from womenswear to menswear, one that still flabbergasts me, is leggings and Uggs; or meggings and Muggs, to use the masculine parlance. This style has transcended its Sloanie Pony origins and somehow found its way on to the legs of lads – yes, lads – as exemplified by One Direction singer and heartthrob Louis Tomlinson, who loves to take a stroll down the shops in a pair of Ugg boots. Oddly it’s not a look that comes from the fashion crowd, but rather one that comes from contemporary British youth culture, and the first time I actually encountered it was when I was out shopping in the countryside last Christmas.
I like: spray-on jeans, £30, from Topman
4. The Rick Owens look
Last of all, dark American-in-Paris designer Rick Owen has popularised the wearing of T-shirts so oversized, and tunics so long, that they’re in effect dresses for men. The difference though is that you wear them with trousers. It’s a straightforward look, and if you have a sudden change of heart, well, you only have to tuck your T-shirt in to make it disappear.
I like: long T-shirt, £10, from ASOS
5. The Parisian look
In the fashion world some men have started styling themselves like chic Parisian fashion editors, most notably wearing their coats over their shoulders like a vampire’s cape; something that any of us can try at home. If you enjoy your cape, you only need Google the amazing US Vogue contributor “André Leon Talley”, or indeed the “Larry David cape”, for a wealth of inspiration.
However, if you’re not that daring just try a stripy T-shirt, which was one of many unisex styles that Northern Irish designer JW Anderson experimented with in his acclaimed first collection for fashion house Loewe. His silky short-sleeved top costs a lot, but of course nice striped Breton shirts are available in many shops for a lot less.
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