LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS: Style Royalty Layered Up

“Ladies and gentlemen, rock 'n' roll”. Those were the iconic words that introduced MTV to television airways in 1981 and initiated a colossal change in the music industry. Part of that change was how viewers were able to see their favourite musicians performing in their own living rooms, and sometimes the outfits they wore were just as exciting as the music. For Sean Paige it was the vibrant stylings from music royalty icons, Michael Jackson, James Brown and Prince that inspire his fashion sensibility. This fashion and photography student caught my eye as he was running out of the subway station, and I wasn't disappointed once I got to appreciate his entire look, which captures various elements from his infamous style inspirations.

Michael Jackson was not only a legendary vocalist, but he brought a stage presence and artistry to his performances, which had a lot to do with his style choices. You will be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't associate Jackson with his red leather jacket from his Thriller music video, designed by Deborah Landis. Due in part to his eclectic personal style and in part to his quirky disposition, he was able to wear looks straight from the catwalk from designers like Balmain to Givenchy. Two major looks that Jackson ushered in during the '80s was the military aesthetic and opting for fitted clothing, particularly in trousers. Sean has incorporated both of these elements into his look, but has given them a revitalisation and high street wear-ability. The army shirt is in a modern camouflage print, but set on a traditional mustard colour, mixing an original military colour palette with and updated print. This shirt loosely worn over the stone grey, skinny jeans, offers both colour and texture without creating noise.

Sean's baker boy hat and smart oxford shoes give a gentlemanly twist on an outfit that would otherwise take on a more punk aesthetic. In case it isn't already obvious, maroon happens to be one of my favourite colours from the past three seasons, and I can see it snugglingly wonderfully into both men's and women's wardrobes again this fall. The maroon accents on Sean's navy oxfords are highlighted harmoniously by his maroon cap, and it is a colour that both harkens back to the stylings of James Brown, but is also clean and modern. James Brown was known as the “Godfather of Soul” and though he was known for being effortlessly charismatic, he was also acknowledged for working hard to ensure that his music reflected the social injustices of the time. Part of Mr. Brown's charm came from the surprising dichotomy he presented on stage between the wild, passionate songs he sang and the tailored gentleman's, three-piece suites he wore to perform in. Similarly, Sean has meshed two opposing looks, one that is Ivy-league dapper and one that is '80s rock n' roll.

For both Jackson and Brown, however, no outfit was complete without some accessories, and who better to take cues from for this than the Glam King himself, Prince. The ever-evolving artist has done just about every look you could imagine, but he is rarely seen without a gathering of chains around his neck or a few rings snaked over his fingers. Prince's 1991 album “Diamonds and Pearls” captured a more hip-hop vibe, which is associated with metallic accessorising as part of the urban look. Here, Sean has layered a few simple wooden bead bracelets with a luxe Louis Vuitton one, and has crowned his fingers with a splash of warm turquoise and cool copper. Boys shouldn't fear throwing on a well placed jewelry accessory, it can not only give a finishing touch to a look, but can be quite sexy. Sean's bold rings and earthy toned bracelets are the right mix of subtlety and flash, to catch an appreciating glance, but not to overwhelm the onlooker.

Though it is important to take fashion cues from the past, always remember that icons like Michael Jackson, James Brown and Prince were performers and their style verged on the theatrical. To avoid entering pantomime territory with your styling, always update iconic looks and find new and exciting ways to reinvent them. As Sean said though, always remember to “do you” first and focus on developing your own individual style.

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