The fashion world has long celebrated the sea loving allure of the Nautical Look and has marked this style of clothing that was once reserved to fisherman as an integral pillar of fashion in its own. As with most things made fashionable, the seagoing style of dress takes its roots from a part of human culture that acts as inspiration and interest to many of the masses; that entity is celebrity.
It all began in 1846, when Queen Victoria dressed her eldest son, the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward, in a sailor suit for a portrait in 1847 painted by the celebrated artist . After the public saw this look, it became the reigning trend in fashion for children and soon, menswear took inspiration from this seafaring rage and so began one of the greatest and most timeless looks in the history of fashion.
In menswear today, the nautical look is an understated recurring trend in menswear that never sees an absence from the shelves. Although this style is typically associated with the warmer months, there are nautical themed pieces that belong to the colder seasons and there are pieces from the warmer months that can be incorporated into fall and winter wear, therefore, I am going to show you how to embody the nautical style throughout the year but without the conventional anchor and sailboat themed pieces you find in a gift shop.
Swab the Deck in the Spring
Lets begin our ship worthy gear with the first season of transition in the year, spring. Spring is the time of year when things are starting to gradually warm up but the weather can still be on the chilly side making this is the perfect sweater weather.
One of my favorite nautical inspired sweaters is this number from Mr. Porter by Club Monaco. This sweater is designed in a donegal style wool-blend that offers a light layer of insulation on a breezy spring day.
Since this sweater is made of wool, it can easily be used as your lone layer of outerwear over an oxford shirt or paired under a trench coat when the temperature takes a dip at night.
This sweater would be a great feature in your closet because it offers an easy and casual way to bring texture to your look thanks to the ribbed weaving and plush yet trim wool fibers (oxymoron alert).
This style of sweater is the type often worn by fisherman throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century and gives off a relaxed vibe due to its understated design.
“A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work” as the proverb goes. Channel that laidback fishing day vibe by matching this sweater with chinos in a muted color of your choice or a pair of jeans and white sneakers to channel a relaxed urban-fisherman look, a look that I just made up and i bet you can still relate to.
Summer is the season we associate with anything nautical as this is the best season for any boat related activities. That’s why this is the time of year when brands will sneak in a few nautical themed pieces into a collection for those sea loving style enthusiasts like me who love heritage style apparel with a contemporary spin.
A “must have” item for the summer or in general is a polo and this one by Fred Perry is a great pick for adding that sailing culture into your everyday look in an easygoing way. I don’t know if it’s just me but this polo says I own a boat and I know how to operate it as the simple white cotton against the strips gives an air of relaxed leisure that is synonymous of summer. This polo will pair well with a pair of chinos in red to pick of the subtle red striping on the collar and sleeves plus it’s summer so why not kick up the heat.
In light of the seasonally transitional theme of this post, keep in mind that this polo can carry you through the year with the addition of layers and this polo would look great under a cableknit cardigan or a bomber jacket.
How can we talk aquatic fashion if we don’t mention any gear that can be worn in the actual water and these swim trunks are the perfect fit. These trunks have that quintessential maritime vibe with a black and white color blocking that mirrors the navy-blue and white stripes synonymous with nautical themed….. everything.
Notice the fit as these trunks are cut in the slimmer fit with shorter length completely opposite of the bulky board shorts that have for years, plagued the style of men when it came to swimwear. These trucks from the world’s most coveted aquatic brand Speedos are a great example of the timelessness of the sea-going look will be a great addition to your beachwear and will last you for as long as your waistline stays intact.
Fall-ing in Love with the Sea
The changing of the leaves is a symbol of great things to come in the world of style as all the items of fashion week for the fall begins to hit the shelves giving you an hoard of different layers ables to add to your closet to truly take part in what I deem as THE season of style. Just as the fisherman who inspired some of our nautical gear, you can add new layers to your wardrobe that can carry over your love of all things oceanic and still take on the cooling temperatures of fall.
Layerables like this sweater from Orvis were worn by fisherman to combat sometimes fridget temperatures out to sea to catch all that seafood we are too lazy to catch ourselves. The warm and folded over collar of these sweaters acted as a protective barrier against the brutal cold and acted as an alternative to wearing a shirt, sweater and a scarf because it supports all of those functions in its own.
Although this was not the aim, these fisherman unbeknownst to themselves were sporting some serious style in wearing these knitted cold barriers and now so can all of us.
Sure, you may not be catching cod fish in Alaska or lobsters in maine but this sweater will be your go to in outerwear for the fall and the winter. It’s heavy enough to be worn on its own on a breezy afternoon or under a light jacket. I say a trench coat would do just fine as the slickness of the typical trench coat’s fabric will contrast nicely with the texture of this sweater.
Going to a football game? Watch your favorite team tackle that endzone in style by pairing this sweater with jeans and a pair of chelsea boots giving you simple suave look but unlike the rodmen, yours will be intentional.
Winter on the High Seas
Nautical fashion isn’t inspired by fisherman alone, the Navy has also placed its mark on this genre of style and nothing represents this better than the time-honored peacoat.
Crashing waves splashing icy waters on deck with howling winds whirling through the air that has a thickness of a deep freezer is no match for the warm and protection provided by a peacoat. We’ve all seen the look of the standard navy blue peacoat but why not step things up a bit and try out a peacoat with a modern edge like the following from Ted Baker.
This peacoat offers a more cutting edge approach to a classic look with its large scale checkered pattern paired with a luxurious shearling collar that would put navy men of the front page of men’s fashion magazines.
One of the cool hidden features that is common with other outerwear from Ted Baker is a printed lining. This lining has a neo-seventies vibe with its paisley motif which is furthered by the shearling collar which makes this part of two of the hottest trends of fall/winter 2015-2016.
As with most of my picks, this coat has a versatility that will allow you to wear it any most occasions. You can compliment a suit with this stunning coat for a ritzy european look or remove the dyed lambskin collar and where this coat over the fisherman’s sweater mentioned above and a pair of chinos. When the weather really gets cold, throw on that turtle neck sweater we discussed with a pair of corduroy pants and rugged boats for and cold weather, ass kicking look thats says “is that all you’ve got winter?” the options are endless and so is the relevance of the peacoat in menswear.
So you see, the nautical style doesn’t have to only bring to mind, navy blue and white stripes, boats shoes and beachwear, this style of fashion has a relevance for each season.
So if you believe the seafaring style to be a time-honored piece of menswear awesomeness that you love to wear, I hope I have helped you to step up your maritime look and make it a small part of your everyday look all year long. Happy sailing!