You Asked: How Should Someone With Tattoos Dress?
Illustration by Ms Anje Jager
How to upgrade your airport attire (and get yourself upgraded), what to team with tatts and why it is easy being green – or dressing that way, at least.
This week, we’ve been charged with finding out what colours go with green tailoring. It’s a special investigation. Please don’t fire us. This week’s other controversies include: how to style out tattoos and if it’s OK to wear to sweatpants on a long-haul flight.
Keep your questions coming via the usual channels, but don’t ask any we don’t like. We’ll answer a selection every Friday.
I’m sure you’ve heard that oft-trotted out style rule “blue and green should never be seen”. Yeah, well let me tell you, that’s a load of codswallop. Just because it rhymes doesn’t make it true. (See also: “no brown in town” and “beer and wine, you’ll be fine; but wine then beer, you’ll feel queer”. Also not true. I digress.)
The easiest shade of green to incorporate into your wardrobe is olive or military green – and it goes very well with blue. In fact there’s no better combo. So you could try wearing an olive green suit with a button-down blue denim shirt. See for example how our editors styled this Officine Generale suit or this Tod’s suit. Just to change it up a little, here’s a Massimo Piombo green suit with a blue striped button-down shirt and Carouso army green suit with a light blue penny-collared shirt. For tailored separates, try wearing a navy blazer with olive green trousers. This can also work in reverse: green blazer, navy trousers.
Richy, I don’t want to sound like your dad, but it it’s a bit late for tattoo remorse. Think before you ink. But presumably the very reason you got the tatts in the first place was to make a statement. (Either that or you were very drunk on that stag do.)
Ours must be the most tattooed generation in history so you’re far from alone in wondering if the permanent designs on your arms (and elsewhere) might be competing with those you’d like to wear.
These days it seems acceptable to daringly combine and contrast patterns and colours like never before. You could look at all the patches in the latest collections from Gucci and Saint Laurent in particular and argue that the pervasiveness of ever-intricate tattoo artwork has contributed to that.
Our advice is to be bold and “own it” in the way that the full-sleeved menswear icon Mr Nick Wooster does. In his MR PORTER interview he explains how he’s a fan of the sartorial equivalent of a mullet where he’s “business on top and party on the bottom” or vice versa. He says: “I’m an amalgamator, like a DJ, taking two things that don’t go together and making them go together.” Often, for example, statement garments and tattoos.
However, there is a way to do this successfully. If you Google image Mr Wooster, you will see that he hardly ever directly clashes tatt and pattern. If he exposes his arms, which he certainly likes to do, he normally wears a plain shirt or T-shirt. If said shirt does have a pattern, then it tends to simple in colour palette so the overall effect is not too busy.
However, if he is wearing something with long sleeves thus covering up his tattoos, then he’s likely to go big and bold with pattern and/or colour. Mr Wooster has been careful not to get tattoos on his hands and neck so that when he wants to, he can wear an outfit without showing any ink.
Mr Wooster does admit that if he could go back in time he would only get monochrome tattoos, in part because colourful designs can limit your wardrobe options. This monochrome strategy, you may have noticed, works well for Mr David Beckham (40 tats at the time of writing).
When I lived in Australia, I had a very handy (and now much-missed) connection at a well-known airline which meant that I could swing a space-available upgrade to and from the UK upon check-in. Good times. But the deal was I had to dress smartly so that people who had paid full whack didn’t suspect that there was some free-loading interloper from economy nailing their champagne. To wit, I used to wear a suit and tie. It was most uncomfortable and inappropriate. (That said, Mr Tom Ford apparently flies long haul in a three-piece suit.)
These days, dress codes are more relaxed across the board. Hell, people wear pyjamas in the street and sweatpants to the office. So the primary consideration on a flight is comfort. My go-to brand for travelling is Derek Rose. I love their cashmere hoodie and their super-soft micro-modal stretch cotton T-shirts. Oliver Spencer’s Loungewear line is also perfect for travelling. I also have a lightweight Begg & Co scarf in my bag in case I get cold because I’m not a fan of the shrink-wrapped blankets they give you. Then I tend to go with a pair of drawstring trousers and slip-on sneakers, because belts and laces are a pain when going through airport security.
But there are sweatpants and then there are sweatpants. Let’s not go too far the other way here. We’ve all seen that infamous picture of President Ronald Regan aboard Air Force 1, right? But then presidents can do what the hell they want, can’t they?