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Men's fashion: Is the Gatsby look a coming trend?

4 May 2012

Gatsby fever has been stirring ever since pictures from the film set of Baz Luhrmann's forthcoming remake started appearing on the internet showing Leonardo Dicaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan looking resplendent in jazz age gear.

Now, fashion houses have dipped their toes in the look for women this season. Gucci's 90th anniversary collection was a nod to the 20s, with deco dresses given a disco twist - a look the high-street has lapped up. Meanwhile Ralph Lauren, who designed the clothes for the 1974 film version of the novel starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, also returned to the 1920s era this season for his women's collection.

Everybody knows fashion loves a retro look. The 'Mad Men' era of the late 1950s/early 1960s has proved a particular hit for men's fashion – think neat hair, tie pins, swish suits. The hype of a film by a director as blockbuster as Luhrmann with a star as bankable as Dicaprio is incredibly likely to have retailers backing the Gatsby Lite Look later this year, ahead of its Boxing Day release. In anticipation of this fashion inevitability, I found myself watching an intimate adaptation of the F.Scott Fitzgerald tale at Wilton's theatre complete with straw boaters, cream suits, high-waisted slacks and even a Hamish Bowles look-a-like. Here are some early thoughts on how the look might pervade menswear in the coming months:

Licked hairLeo's hairdo looks smashing in a retro fancy dress party kind of way. But how does one achieve this wavy look at home without drowning in hair pomade? Gatsby-looks-that-will-catch-on rating: minimal - it's probably easier to do a strict greased parting in manner of Robert Redford or Tobey Maguire.

High-waist slacksDespite wider, fuller trouser shapes and pleated fronts being shown on various catwalks over the past two seasons, no trouser style has really given the slim or skinny leg an actual run for it's money. Last night, a fellow male colleague during the interval did comment on the matter: "high-waisted trousers are good on your derriere aren't they?" He's got a point. Gatsby-looks-that-will-catch-on rating: turn-ups on trousers seem the likeliest Gatsby-to-reality slacks situation.

Shawl collared cardigans in emerald I've never liked shawl collared knitwear because they always looks a bit like a bad dressing gown. Then I saw Mr Maguire in his green cardigan. This was much like the mohair-jumper-as-worn-by-Nicholas-Hoult-in-A-Single-Man moment, ie totally sold! Gatsby-looks-that-will-catch-on rating: along with tennis jumpers, shawl collars and the colour emerald look likely to be 2013's menswear smashes.

Double-breasted versus three pieces These two suit styles have arguably been the choice of the more forward thinking men on the red carpet over the past 18 months or so. The former jacket style was worn by the actor playing Tom Buchanan at Wilton's in navy. But it's the waistcoat, contrast or matching, that seems to unite Redford, Dicaprio and Maguire. Gatsby-looks-that-will-catch-on rating: the waistcoat is a shoo-in.

Monogrammed shirtingIn Chapter 5 of the book Daisy Buchanan is described as crying into Gatsby's monogrammed shirts. "It makes me sad because I've never seen such — such beautiful shirts before," she says. In the 1974 film, despite all the clothes being designed by Lauren, in this particular scene, there were visible shirt boxes from Turnbull and Asser. The Jermyn Street label offer a monogramming service on their shirts at £10 a letter. Gatsby-looks-that-will-catch-on rating: you might have to be quite fancy for this one but it could be this year's Christmas gift for the man who has everything.

Straw boaters versus baker boy capsThis is surely a next spring men's hat-off waiting to happen. If anyone actually partakes in the classic boater look with any seriousness, I'll eat any hat you wish to drop in my lap. Meanwhile the soft white baker boy as favoured by Redford seems rather less like a massive leap from the popular baseball cap. Gatsby-looks-that-will-catch-on rating: it's unlikely to do much for a generation of lads who favour hoodies but it could be next year's trilby.

Collar bars Leo sports one in the new film. Tie bars are a bit Mad Men ergo collar bars have a chance to overtake. Gatsby-looks-that-will-catch-on rating: yes, but with a lot of high-street backing.

Retro swimmers Forget the imminent return of Daniel Craig's Bond skimpy trunks for a minute. Redford sported all-in-one style swimwear as Gatsby – a vest and shorts affair with a belt. Despite excessive googling, what kind of pool look we can expect from Leo remains a (nail biting) mystery. Gatsby-looks-that-will-catch-on rating: well, a swimsuit with a vest section is a heck of a lot easier to wear than Bond trunks. But a lot of men may feel they're in a tan compromise situation. Tricky.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2012

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