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Fashion

Menswear tips: classic shorts, a watch, and easy on the jewellery says fashion designer Aaron Levine

Abercrombie & Fitch’s senior vice-president of design never leaves home without his Rolex, doesn’t go sockless in cold weather, and ignores the style rules to keep the fun in fashion

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 December, 2017, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 December, 2017, 11:19am

Born in the US state of Virginia, menswear designer Aaron Levine was credited with making brands such as Club Monaco cool again. In 2015 he joined American casual label Abercrombie & Fitch as head of men’s design and recently took on the role of senior vice-president of design.

What is your vision for Abercrombie & Fitch?

When I think of Abercrombie & Fitch, I think of an iconic American brand. It’s been around for 125 years, so it has the opportunity to be the pinnacle of casual iconic American luxury. I wanted to inspire the team from an authentic place so I redefined what our brand pillars were, which is a history of military, an outdoor heritage and northeastern prep culture. We are taking these reference points and merging and styling them together to create something unique, emotional and casual.

How has the men’s market changed since you started in the industry?

The attention to menswear in general has exploded. When I started working in men’s in early 2000, the look was either very corporate or casual, and totally cookie cutter. With access to more information, everyone got interested. Finally, it was OK to care about men’s dressing and trends started to play a role too. Being individual with your style is much more accepted.

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What are your top style rules for men?

I don’t play by the rules. It comes down to the individual and what they want to wear. Once you apply a rule you stop having fun, which is the point of fashion.

Should men go sockless?

It depends on the weather! If your feet are cold, wear them. If your shoe is too big, a pair of socks will also help!

Do you advocate men’s jewellery?

To me, less is more. I wear a watch and wedding ring. If you wear jewellery, make sure you don’t look contrived.

What’s the best way to make a pair of shorts look elegant?

If you’re less confident, being more traditional serves your style. Look at Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. The less confident you are, the more traditional you should be. A classic look always looks more polished.

Which country has the most stylish men?

I like elements of British and Italian style but mixing the two is compelling to me. I love Savile Row suits or a bench-made English brogue but I also appreciate a soft Italian tailored garment.

What’s your favourite style capital?

I love London and Tokyo. For me it’s about taking it all in and distilling elements from everywhere.

What one item should every man invest in?

A watch. I love my Rolex Daytona with a ceramic face. It automatically elevates my look as I am always dressed down. A watch is classic, timeless and doesn’t depreciate.

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What are your packing tips for guys?

Go simple and focus on items that are versatile. I always pack denim, a nice cashmere sweater and decent rain coat.

What’s your shoe of choice?

Everyone loves sneakers but I prefer shoes. I need to wear sneakers because my knees hurt now. If I do, I love New Balance.

What about your grooming essentials?

Fish oils and probiotics! I love Kiehl’s skincare and I have been wearing the same perfume for years. It’s Patchouli by Santa Maria Novella from Florence.