The metro

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 July, 2008, 12:00am

Last week Dutch-Chinese designer Hu Shequang was busy trashing the city's fashion sense. 'There are so many beautiful clothing shops,' he said. 'Why don't people put on more fashionable clothes?' As much as his remarks may grate, they're not completely without merit.

One thing that bugs me about many guys in Hong Kong is their mundane sneakers. Don't get me wrong, sneakers are fine - but only the right sneakers. Yet on the streets what I see mostly are those nondescript, sporty ones that came into fashion in the 80s. Yes, the 80s!

Some men also seem to think that wearing the same pair of sneakers day in, day out is a display of personality. It's a display of bad hygiene, at best.

If you must wear sneakers other than in sports contexts, go for a pair of Neil Barrett metallic leather sneakers (top right). Silver shoes are very easy to match with clothes, and they add something edgy to even the most mundane attire.

And another thing: beyond sneakers, you must have other types of shoes. As an alternative for casual footwear, how about Marc Jacobs' derby-like slip-ons? They're adorable to look at and easy to wear.

I can't emphasise enough that every man over 30 should have at least one pair of good loafers. They're great for summer and a stylish pair can carry you through from brunch to dinner at a smart restaurant.

Every man should also have a pair of 'sexy shoes', something for partying or in situations where he wants attention. Snakeskin works: Fratelli Borgioli python boots (bottom), for instance, look as good with jeans as with trousers. And in the age of relaxed dress codes, you can even wear them to work.

Hong Kong's summer isn't particularly fashion-friendly, and most people want to wear as few layers as possible. But that shouldn't limit you to T-shirts. There's nothing wrong with wearing a collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Short-sleeved shirts are a risky business, however, as not so many men have the arms for them. One of my favourite brands for shirts is Hugo Boss, whose shirts are always nicely cut and can be worn with blazers or on their own. The same goes for cotton stretch shirts by Dunhill (below left).

The secret of wearing a shirt well is to find the right fit. If you're slim, Boss is the way forward, but if you're on the bulky side, a shirt with a more relaxed fit is probably a better choice. Ralph Lauren Polo (below) is good for men with a bigger build.

Summer is also the season for shorts, but that doesn't mean you should wear solely shorts - and certainly not calf-length shorts, which do nothing for your appearance other than making you look like you're a 12-year-old wearing a hand-me-down (unless you're going for John Galliano's wild, baggy look [above left] - although to carry it off you need to be very well proportioned).

Shorts that end just above the knee are OK. But if you have pale, skinny legs that haven't seen the sun and the leg-press for a while, wear long trousers. Spare yourself the embarrassment.

Shopping list

Fratelli Borgioli, Neil Barrett and Marc Jacobs shoes available from Seibu, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2971 3888

John Galliano available from Joyce, Queen's Road Central, tel: 2522 7402

Dunhill, Shop 315-6, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2537 1009

Hugo Boss, 8 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2868 3122

Ralph Lauren, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2869 0388