Real cowboys know, “Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway!”
Courage is one of those things I grew up whipping into myself for all that life would face me with. Along with the notion that to have a strong heart, you need to train it, and hide it behind a dapper jacket. Knowing that real cowboys don’t break hearts!
Trust New York Fashion Week Mens (#NYFWM) to bring back a flood of childhood memories about horses and cowboys, a passion while growing up and showcased in vogue before. Scandinavian design house J Lindeberg chose to bring back the retro cowboy look in its Spring Summer 2016 collection, much to my pleasure, and judging from the gasps of spectators, much to the admirable, borderline heart-clutching, surprise of the world. Probably one of the most photographed collections due to its setting at Spring Studios with a backdrop of sunny downtown New York, J Lindeberg remains my favorite collection of the season. And not just because of the setting, but also because I simply heart anything cowboy related.
The Scandinavian fashion house has been around for nearly two decades and epitomizes a Scandinavian outdoorsy lifestyle, with independent brands for tailoring, golf and skiwear. In line with the sport themes at NYFWM, this took a less literal approach and relayed a more country time hobby, reminiscent of what one might see in 70s action flicks or in a setting fit for the Sound of Music remake. J Lindeberg marked the return of the retro cowboy look, complete with chocolate and earthy hues, suedes and pony hair textures, unskinny light wash whiskered jeans, epic short cut jackets with frays and tassels, and silver studded wide cowboy hats.
My favorite pieces were the suede jackets with frays and tassels, evoking a shimmy dance that one of the models succumbed to, too. While the black made a statement with white jeans and retro curls on its model, the brown was a more contemporary take, dark in hue, paired with black jeans and a low button shirt and cowboy hat to evoke just the right swagger that transitions from sumptuous nights to stare-worthy days.
Without frays, the suede jackets were more classic outerwear and performancewear, varying in hues of light beige to chocolate brown to an almost mustard hue. These alone were devoid of zippers and cuts that I would have aspired, but made for great canvases to make other outfit pieces shine.
There were also several jackets that belonged to the blazer category instead of performancewear. Of these, my favorite was similar to a piece I owned – a cotton black-and-white river striped blazer with black lapels, giving these touchy parts of a man’s chest some playfulness. Another was a grey self printed paisley jacket, actually part of a suit which spelled more retro than I was used to but scored in texture and apt choice of muted color. A longer green jacket bordered a trench which made it perfect for spring, as did some others in basic whites and blacks, but I quite preferred the spotty check classic blazer from grandpa’s wardrobe with a matching trench. Another one of those work to play to work transition pieces that could fit any lifestyle.
Neckwear was another focus, and distinct from the bandanas on formalwear look made popular by Toddy Snyder, the neckerchiefs and scarf treatment to ties was a casual and sporty take that worked in toning down formal looks and adding a dash of whimsy to a country lifestyle. Some matched the blazers or jackets for a touche nudge to daywear counterparts, while others were in contrast, keeping in style with playful accessorizing.
And speaking of accessorizing, nothing is complete to a cowboy look without a hat. While the hats themselves were simple, with a stud here or a metal insert there, their freshness amongst other trends at NYFWM made them pop. While I preferred them with studs, the lack thereof revealed some steal-worthy hairstyles from dapper models.
Belts are probably an underrated focal point of an outfit, unless the buckle screams see me, which I have been pleasantly seen sporting on Lookbook many times. My favorite belt here was seen when a model stretched for a water break, and I spotted a pony hair cowprint. Another glinted of what silver bling on brown or white leather, another comeback. The glint of rhombus patches or a dash of excess studding (my favorite!) showcased the sheer opportunity that this very simple staple can have on mens fashion. For on functional fronts its all about how and when you put the jeans off, and where you take them off.
And so ended this season’s fashion week, and while leaving spring studios I felt the need for a horse.
And if people would look at me coyly on the streets of New York, I’d simply say: “Let him ride a horse – he’s a cowboy ain’t he?”