The other day I was doing my neighbourhood watch in Causeway Bay and I came across a shop called Chocoolate. It's apparently a local brand by I.T, but the shop is rather unusual for Hong Kong with a lot of space and a North American style. The store stocks basics - mostly black and white and other low-key colours - and classic patterns such as stripes and polka dots. I was drawn to the polka dot umbrellas.
I love polka dots, they always makes me smile. A polka-dot necktie can add a whimsical touch to your work attire and American designer Waraire Boswell, whose clientele includes the Hollywood set, has even put polka dots on a suit lining - with fabulous results.
A polka-dot shirt, however, is a wild card. Not every man can carry it off, but those who do exude confidence, charm and playfulness. If you believe you're one of these supreme individuals, a light-blue polka-dot shirt from Vivienne Westwood is to die for. Short of that, a black polka-dot silk scarf from Paul Smith is a stylish alternative to a necktie.
If you aren't sure that you can handle polka dots, go for stripes, another all-season classic pattern that's much more forgiving. Paul Smith stripes are always irresistible, be they on a shirt or a tie (top). The British designer has given the look a touch of the 80s with his skinny-stripe tie - one of the very few things I would still embrace from that experimental era.
It would take a lot of effort to mess up stripes, and very few things can go wrong with a nicely fitted pinstripe suit, especially a classic number from Ferre (right). Local brand Uffizi also has great striped suits this season topped off with a matching striped shirt (bottom). For the man with well coiffed hair and manicured nails, the Yves Saint Laurent look of striped suit and paisley silk scarf adds a lethally sexy edge to the boardroom look.
Stripes are not limited to classic looks: striped shirts and neckties (centre right) are also part of Junya Watanabe's runway look this season.
Tartan is also coming back, and almost every designer has something. Yohji Yamamoto even has models wrapped in tartan blankets as if they had just been evicted from their dwellings.
I had my tartan days and still remember loving the street chic look of a checked shirt under a corduroy jacket. But I've never considered a tartan jacket because I've always felt tartan should be worn in closely controlled doses.
That feeling changed slightly when I spotted D&G's conspicuously red tartan jacket with shiny black lapels (below left) in a magazine.
Nicely tailored, I can imagine myself wearing it with a pair of designer jeans or maybe even to a dinner party.
Watanabe also showed a masterful use of tartan this season, with the pattern subtly applied on a jacket's chest pocket, adding a touch of schoolboy coyness to a contemporary and whimsical look.
But much as I love the Japanese designer's unconventional approaches to menswear silhouette, I would have to say no to his advocacy this season of dangling pants.
Grown men are allowed to be boyish and playful with their attire up to a point, but certain things, such as having your mum pick your shirt for you, are just not acceptable after the age of 12.
Chocoolate, 537 Lockhart Rd, Causeway Bay, tel: 2572 6687
D&G, Shop 1037, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2805 0577
Ferre available from Swank, Shop 230, The Mall, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2845 4929
Junya Watanabe and Yohji Yamamoto available from Joyce, G/F New World Tower, 18 Queen's Rd Central, Central, tel: 2810 1120
Paul Smith, Shop 216B, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2523 5868
Uffizi, Shop L044, G/F, New World Centre, TST, tel: 2724 1001
Vivienne Westwood, Shop LG2-70, Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong, tel: 3106 8558
Waraire Boswell, wb-collection.com
Yves Saint Laurent, Shop G116, G/F, 11 Canton Rd, TST, tel: 2377 2608