5 Fashion Trends from Cultures Around the World

Young man taking selfie by the sea, stylish, travel, phone

Young man traveling and taking photos | Source: iStock

We can sense your symptoms through the computer. Instead of focusing on the big work presentation that’s due next week, you’re finding yourself dedicated to a different goal: an impromptu vacation. In fact, you’re so committed to your travel fantasy that you’re checking airfares to Capri every two hours and are even trying to teach yourself some basic Italian. No, this is not a quarter-life crisis. Instead you have a case of wanderlust.

Not only is exploring a new country a great way to blow off some steam, it’s also inspiring: immersing yourself in a world of different cuisines, customs, and fashions is bound to amplify your creativity. Lucky for you, dear travel-crazed reader, we have a solution. You may not be able to call in sick and fly to Mumbai, but you can easily take some style inspiration from those destinations on your travel bucket list. Ease your wanderlust with these five international style tips.

1. In Mumbai, India: Experiment with unexpected fabrics

If you were to check the labels on every garment you own, you would probably realize that your closet is filled with mostly cotton, wool, and polyester. Sure, cozying up in one of these familiar fabrics may be the sartorial equivalent to a safety blanket, but they don’t make for the most diverse collection. Online retailer Strand of Silk, which has posts in London and Mumbai, boasts a wide variety of thought-provoking textiles.

From velvet waistcoats to raw silk kurtas, which an upper garment from South Asia, adding new fabrics to your closet is an easy and effortless way to spice up your wardrobe. Not to mention that an atypical top or pair of pants will double as a conversation piece. With what feels like a never-ending list of organic and inorganic textiles, finding the right match may feel like mission impossible. If you’re a fabric rookie, opt for a frills-free button-down in a light linen or silk. Ready to push the style envelope? A velvet blazer will add some much-needed pizazz to your wardrobe.

2. In Tokyo, Japan: Layer up

Young Man Commuting, blazer, apparel

Stylish man wearing layers | Source: iStock

What do successful menswear brands Sacai, N. Hoolywood, and Tomorrowland have in common? They’re all wearable Japanese brands. While it may be hard for the uneducated eye to recognize their origins with a quick look at an advertisement or runway show, there a several sartorial indicators that point east. For example, regardless of the season, each brand prioritizes layering. From a simple top under a cool jacket or a dress shirt under a blazer that is worn under a voluminous overcoat, these outfits are far more advanced than your average T-Shirt and jeans. Menswear website Kinowear can also attest to this style trick.

“My Tokyo friend tells me that it’s rare to see anybody wearing only one layer over there,”owner Jeremy Reeves writes after his trip to Asia. “If they are wearing a dress shirt, they will most definitely add something like a cardigan sweater, with perhaps another vest on top; and they’ll really put together a complete outfit by adding something like a fedora and a light-weight jacket.”

Not ready to risk adding unwanted bulge to your ensemble? We don’t blame you. However, referencing this style tip can be as easy as coupling a smart blazer or casual bomber jacket with your T-Shirt.

3. In London, England: Polish off your outfit with classic accessories

stylish man wearing cufflinks and a suit

Cufflinks and a suit | Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Sure, we may be decades away from the age of traditional Englishmen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t integrate the styles of London’s past into your current outfits. Fictional style icons such as James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and Mr. Darcy provide us with an idealistic model of what a proper Brit should wear. Outdated? Absolutely. However, adding thoughtful and classic pieces to an ensemble – a neat tie, dramatic coat, and bowler hat – instantly upgrade the look to appear more composed, professional, and gentlemanly.

Before you go running out to buy a surplus of old-timey bowler hats, there are more modern ways to assemble an English-inspired look. While the less daring dressers can easily add a clean pair of cufflinks to their daily ensembles, style savants can pay homage to Englishmen by adding a vest underneath their sports jackets.

4. In Ghana, Africa: Add punchy prints

shirts, apparel, style

Different prints | Source: iStock

Want to spice up your ho-hum wardrobe? Add a cool striped or checkered shirt into the sartorial mix, right? Not exactly. These common patterns are great ways to inject some life into your daily ensembles; however, Africa’s selection of patterns is a force to be reckoned with. You may be familiar with the destination’s traditional dashiki top, but the continent has several designers who give funky, tribal prints a modern twist.

Take Abrantie the Gentleman, an emerging brand based in Ghana. With a mélange of intricate diamonds, chevrons, and fruity-esque options, these prints are anything but dull. While we only recommend high-octane patterns for sartorial trailblazers, print rookies can also embrace this style tip by investing in a vibrant plaid or polka dress shirt.

5. In Paris, France: Relax with casual clothes

Trendy man wearing a V-neck shirt

Trendy man wearing a V-neck shirt | Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images

Women – especially American women – are obsessed with the idea of dressing and acting like a Parisian. From blog posts dedicated to copying a French women’s outfits and beauty regimes to the book How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, achieving that effortless je ne sais quoi is a dream. As for men? Nailing that French gent style isn’t as publicized. But just like their female counterparts, Monsieurs also have an effortlessly chic aesthetic.

“Parisians are generally quite stylish, but that doesn’t necessarily mean extravagant haute couture outfits—instead, think casual chic,” Condé Nast Traveler observed.

A far cry from London’s prim and proper flair, channeling a Frenchman is as easy as opting for more casual-wear. Ideal for the weekend or a creative job, simply switch out your uptight pieces for relaxed alternatives. For example, replace your preppy polo with a cool V-neck T-shirt. As for your shoes? Opt for a rugged pair of Converse sneakers instead of your dressy brogues.

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