The Six Statement Pieces We Want Right Now

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The Six Statement Pieces We Want Right Now

Words by Mr Chris Elvidge

1 June 2016

The MR PORTER staff confront their greatest fears... and choose something to wear that isn’t black.

Here at MR PORTER, we’ve noticed a glaring difference between our Wish Lists – that’s the on-site feature that allows you to keep track of the things that have caught your eye – and our wardrobes. The former are stuffed with exotic Eastern and animal prints, ornately embroidered souvenir jackets and kooky, chunky-soled shoes. The latter? Well, they tend to be a little more… conservative. Take one staffer, who shall remain nameless. His weekday wardrobe appears to consist exclusively of dark jeans, white T-shirts, blue Oxford shirts and a pair of Common Projects sneakers. His Wish List, on the other hand, contains every single item from Mr Alessandro Michele’s bonkers new collection for Gucci, from the snake-embroidered jeans to the on-trend track top and all the way down to this hat.

It’s got us thinking: wouldn’t it be nice if we could dress without fear of being judged, for once? We all dread the hushed silence that falls over the office when we walk in wearing something that our colleagues might deem “a bit jazzy”. But why, in 2016, should we feel the need to censor ourselves? Clothes are perhaps our most immediate means of self-expression – and by doing something as simple as changing the colour of our tie, we can instantly transform the way the world sees us. Sadly, though, most of us don’t use clothes to express ourselves; we use them to fit in.

For this instalment of Staff Picks, we’ve decided to indulge our “jazzy” side and try our very hardest not to fit in. Read on to discover the most daring items on each of our Wish Lists. The next question is: can we bring ourselves to wear them to the office?

“I’m really into the washed-out LA vibes”

I’ve just bought this, so I can’t be accused of not putting my money where my mouth is. I consider it a daring purchase less because of the all-over palm print and more because of the fact that it has some blue in it. As anyone who knows me will be aware, I’m quite a strict advocate of an all-monochrome dress code. Nonetheless, I’m willing to give it a try. I’m really into the washed-out LA vibes, and plan on teaming this shirt with skinny black jeans and 1970s Converse.

Wear it with

“Will I sink or swim in this tsunami of a garment?”

I had the pleasure of meeting the ebullient Mr Walid al-Damirji when his brand By Walid first arrived on MR PORTER last year. Then, I was swept away by his enthusiasm for antique textiles and enviable eBay skills. Now, I’m in danger of being swept away by this shirt, a tsunami of a garment covered in rich floral designs and a boro-like stitching print that echoes the detailing of Mr al-Damirji’s hand-finished patchwork jackets. Will I sink or swim? Conveniently, in case of chickening out at the last minute, there’s also a plain version. Phew.

Wear it with

“As if the tropical print weren’t eye-catching enough, these sneakerdrilles come inscribed with a 17th-century haiku”

Dressed to kill in espadrilles: that’s what I’ll be this summer, thanks to these bold, pineapple-emblazoned beauties. As if the double soles and tropical print weren’t eye-catching enough, these espadrille-sneaker hybrids (sneakerdrilles?) also come inscribed with a 17th-century haiku by the Japanese poet Mr Matsuo Bashō: “In the sea-surf edge, mingling with bright small shells, bush-clover petals”. It’s all a bit out-there, to be honest, but seeing as they’re made by Valentino – a brand with a knack for creating future classics – I’m willing to throw caution to the wind. I’ll be keeping everything else low-key, though, just in case. A pair of navy shorts and a simple linen shirt will do nicely.

Wear them with

Part of a suit

“I can break it down into separates or wear it with a T-shirt

“When the sun comes out, there is a tendency for some men to go a bit off-piste with their suit choice by embracing colour and non-wool fabrics in the spirit of the Pitti peacocks who we love to admire, and mock, every June. I too get drawn to this exuberant display, but for anyone who knows me, they also know that I rarely stray far from the blue-and-grey path. This khaki cotton suit from MP Massimo Piombo is tempting, however. I can break it down into a separate jacket and trousers, and if worn together I can dress it down with a T-shirt and sneakers.”

Wear it with

“It allows me to step out of my comfort zone – and forces everyone I encounter to do the same”

Because of its rather aggressive, celestial print, not only does this T-shirt allow me to step out of my comfort zone every time I put it on, it also forces everyone I encounter to do the same. This could be a positive thing, were it to discombobulate any enemies who may cross my path, for example. Or negative: if every meaningful conversation was totally side-tracked by slightly fearful questions regarding said T-shirt. Given this Staff Picks is all about being “daring”, this is a risk I’m willing to take. What a total maverick I am. To ensure that nothing else takes away from the impact of the tee, I’ll wear it with some plain black jeans and white sneakers.

Wear it with

“My only concern is how heavy it’ll be with all those studs”

My leather biker jacket is my go-to for almost any occasion, but this one takes a classic and amps it up to stratospheric levels. The level of detail and Japanese craftsmanship make this a total one-of-a-kind that I’m itching to rock (’n’ roll) in. My only slight concern (apart from pulling off the look), is how heavy it’ll be to wear with all those studs. But hey, if it means I get to combine a 5kg workout into my day just by wearing one, I’m all for it.

Wear it with

“I’ll wear it with a Panama hat and some leather sandals”

For me, a white suit will forever be linked to The Man from Del Monte, the ever-agreeable star of 1980s fruit juice advertisements. There are a few things one needs to get away with such a suit: a deep tan, even deeper self-confidence, and an invitation to a beach wedding. I have none of the above, but still, I fancy a white suit. I fancy one so much that I bought one last summer. So far, I have worn it precisely zero times. But this summer, I will pluck up the courage. When I do, I’ll wear it with a Panama hat and some leather sandals because, as the idiom goes, “you might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb”. And if The Man from Del Monte says, “yes” – which he always does – then so can I. I think.

Wear it with

Illustrations by Mr Joe McKendry