Girls Talk Menswear with Olivia Purvis
So I guess this needs some form of short introduction. Girls Talk Menswear is a new series for the blog where I’ll be talking to girls about what they like us men wearing, sharing their style tips for men, as well as what they think should be left at home. I’m really excited for this series as I feel it offers something completely different and lets us know about what they think about us guys.
The first person for this new series is the lovely Olivia Purvis of What Olivia Did. She’s a fashion and lifestyle blogger who is more than equipped to help us out with a few menswear do’s and don’ts, partly down to her boyfriend Joe. We sat down at Blixen in Spitalfields and started talking…
What do you like Joe wearing? What do you like a guy wearing?
I like Joe wearing things I can wear, things that we can share. I take a lot of inspiration from his style in a way as he plays around with a lot of things and experiments. Joe looks amazing in a suit I think, cool suits. Pairing so many different things together that he may have seen on Instagram. He’s quite open to trying different things, which is quite nice, because it’s a new perspective I probably wouldn’t of looked at.
Do you think more men should become more experimental then?
Not necessarily. A big part of style is feeling comfortable in what you’re wearing. If you don’t feel comfortable in it or you’re trying to be too out there, it shows. It’s really reflective on how you feel. I like seeing guys that are a bit more open to experimenting with their style because it’s refreshing. There are so many cool menswear brands out there, why not experiment? I think a lot of guys do feel limited to shops like Topman, as there isn’t a great selection for guys. It’s easy to get stuck in that same little bubble of the printed shirt and trousers. A somewhat routine way of dressing.
Is it down to brands to give the opportunity for men to experiment and a wider range?
That’s something Joe has said to me a lot. You will never go into Topman and see half the amount of stuff there is in Topshop. No variety. A few standout pieces here and there. Joe: Topman is one of the better brands. Zara is alright, but not every guy likes zips and studs. It’s not proving a point guys. Joe: But even say Dorothy Perkins and Burton. Sorry I’m taking over! You can go into DP and find something, whereas Burton, it’s near impossible. High street male brands are very safe. As I said Topman are one of the better brands and if I had to style a guy it’d be much easier to style him in there.
I think it’s also down to self-conscious thing. The reason you’ve (Joe) become a lot more experimental is because it’s down to reading blogs and looking at Instagram. He’ll often be like ‘I saw this of this menswear magazine’ and from that he’ll take inspiration. If he didn’t have that platform he probably wouldn’t feel as comfortable.
What kind of brands would you recommend?
Well from shopping with Joe, Percival. They do simple things, but they do them really well. They use nice prints and nice fabrics. Who are your favourites Joe? I like Reiss a lot. They are one a few brands that actually have a bigger men’s section then women’s. I do like Zara, have you seen their autumn/winter? That is right down my street.
We’re in London and I think it’s a lot more socially acceptable for guys to experiment with their fashion, but do you see it now spreading outside of London?
In Central London it’s quite normal to see men being more eclectic with their taste. Outside of that, men might not feel brave enough. I think with social media, you’re able to find blogs and Instagram accounts that like similar kind of stuff and you can kind of create a community, whereas beforehand, it’s hard for people to even find having the similar kind of music. It’s not an issue anymore.
What are staple pieces for those men who want to improve their style in an easy way? Things that a guy should have…
Hmm, simple things. I think a good pair of jeans that fit your body shape. I think for guys it’s easier to get jeans. What else… A striped top. They are universally good pieces as they are quite classic. I suppose if you’re trying to be really trendy, a hat is a good shout. It’s a good thing to set you apart a little bit. Especially if you’re wearing basics, it draws it altogether. Good. Quality. Basics. And then a few little accessories like rings and sunglasses. Playing around with your style and seeing what you like and feel comfortable in is important.
Particular jeans brands…
Cheap Monday. Topman maybe. American Apparel, there a little bit more expensive though. I think if you’ve got budget for a high-end pair of jeans then yeah go for it. They are worth investing in as long as they are a good fit as they have a good longevity. Joe: I’ve got a pair of Cheap Monday jeans that I always wear, but I think these are just from Forever 21 and they pretty much exactly the same fit. But yeah, get that one pair you can rely on and they go to your high street.
What do you think about men wearing jewellery?
I’m a big jewellery advocate! I love rings and necklaces. I think it looks really cool. Earrings are really cool. I like anything. Honestly I think it is really cool and it’s definitely a confidence thing!
How important do you think shoes and trainers are?
Whenever I see people and look what a guy is wearing for example it’s his shoes. There was a guy on the train recently and he had a really cool Harrington jacket, printed shirt and jeans and then these really bad shoes! It was a really weird thing. I looked at the whole outfit and you could kind of been like ‘I know what you’re going for’ and then you get to the shoes and you’re like I don’t know what you’re going for at all! Shoes are really reflective. Shoes can shape a whole outfit massively. Joe: I think it’s a lot more important to spend a lot more on a pair of smart shoes then just trainers. Really nice well fitted proper shoes it’s a little difficult.
And what are guys things should stay away from?
You should experiment, but I’m not big on low v-neck tees, really low trousers and a lot of boxers. I just don’t get it, it’s a little bit of a palaver. Less is more.
And on that note we ended it there. You can find Olivia on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I really hope you enjoyed the first in the series and I’d love to hear from you, both guys and girls, if there’s something you really want to find out. As always, thank you for reading!