Gender Neutral Fashion Charlie Casey-Hayford On How YouCan Wear His Topman Collection

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by: Josh Newis-Smith
20 Jun 2017

On meeting menswear designer Charlie Casely-Hayford you’re immediately struck by two things: firstly, his BFG height – Charlie comes in at 6 foot 6 inches – and, secondly, his old school British charm.

The 34-year-old’s label, Casely-Hayford, which he runs with dad Joe (he likens working with his family as being “permanently in parent’s evening,”) is one of the reasons why editors are returning to London Fashion Week: Mens in their droves. Theirs is a free-spirited approach to British style and, by sidelining traditional tailoring rules, they bring a sense of anarchy to the runway.

Charlie’s own distinctive look, of relaxed tailored suits and sneakers, has positioned him in GQ’s Best Dressed list for three years running, and now he’s done a major collab with Topman.

But don’t click off the page just yet, this collection is one for the ladies, too. Focussing on gender neutral style, here Charlie explains how everyone can rock his Topman collab.

From how to wear a pair of tails to nailng that perfect Hawaiian shirt, ladies, this is how you can ACTUALLY wear menswear.

1. It’s all down to the cut and the kicks…

“We’ve cut quite a few different suits but a lot of them have been cut in a really modern way so that they are not so structured, making for a really nice relaxed silhouette. The suits can be worn with trainers or with sandals and also we’ve purposely done that so it is androgynous, to be worn by men and women. If you are going to wear trainers I like Axel Arigato, they are quite a clean take on your classic Adidas shoes, but they are a bit more luxe and modern.”

2. Formalise joggers…

“We’ve got a pair of jogger-style trousers in wool, so you’ve got that formality and then that sportswear mix as well. It’s the perfect silhouette that can work just as well on a woman as on a man.”

3. Embrace a new form of power dressing…

“Women wearing menswear can be very empowering, in terms of the structure that it gives to the body. So with the more formal suits in the collections when a woman wears the jackets it suddenly creates quite an imposing silhouette – I think that can be very flattering. Equally on the other side we’ve got really relaxed tailored separated that kind of feels like pyjamas in terms of their construction.”

Light grey check suit 

Available at Charlie Casely-Hayford x Topman | £250


4. Going oversized? Show some skin…

“If you’re wearing everything oversized you want a slither of skin visible somewhere, just to alleviate the pressure of having a huge weight of cloth. The only exception to that would be turtleneck, which works like as a second skin so you can still get away with wearing a baggy men’s suit. I think you should always look for a balance in terms of proportion.”

5. Tails: the new way to revolutionise a suit?

“Women are dipping into other formal menswear like tails. Tails on a women’s figure just becomes a totally different thing. So if you wanted to make tailoring seem like an alternative option again I love the idea of going in for a formal menswear touch.”

6. Posh-up your Hawaiian

“Hawaiian shirts obviously are a big trend at the moment and they can work well on women, too. Look for something that isn’t just a classic Hawaiian print but something more interesting. Put those with a pair of tapered trousers or another thing that is very impractical is a fine knitted polo!”

7. Take your kimono into the night…

“The kimono in the collection is based on something that my girlfriend has in her wardrobe. It’s quite silky and drapey and I love the idea of someone wearing that as evening wear with black tie suiting to completely throw things off.”

8. Dare to suit up for your wedding day…

“We are actually getting quite a few requests for wedding suits where we are making suits for the man and the woman. At the moment we are just speaking to someone where we are making a really baggy cream, oversized satin suit jacket with high-waisted trousers. I think the cream satin aspect gives the suit that elevation. It’s nice to have a mix of both.”

White tuxedo suit

Available at Charlie Casely-Hayford x Topman | £200


9. Reform formalwear with everyday classics…

“I very rarely wear a formal shirt myself- a shirt and tie is not really my vibe – so I’m always playing around with different ways of deconstructing suits or removing them from the context of formality and work. I try to treat suits like tracksuit bottoms or I wear them with my everyday classics. Loads of my suits are cut so that I can wear them with army boots or I wear a t-shirt everyday – it’s just about making it feel a lot more relaxed. I also like playing with silhouettes because I’m 6’6” and so I actually wear a huge jacket and then really slim trousers.”

10. How to update your boyfriend…

“Everyman should invest in a pair of chunky formal shoes. They give you a bit of weight and stability, and then you can play around with proportions with a wider or slimmer trouser. A sturdy shoe from somewhere like Church’s, or Marni can make a big difference to a man’s look.”

11. What you can learn from London lads…

London men pull higher and lower end brands together. I think the idea that street wear and luxury fashion are separate entities is absolutely obsolete now- no one thinks like that anymore. You’ve got your Supreme and people are wearing that alongside Dries or Prada, it’s not about being one camp or the other. What’s exciting about London menswear is that a really modern person wears all of them mixed together and that reflects what they are about.”

Double breasted weekend suit

Available at Charlie Casely-Hayford X Topman


12. Embody a modernist mantra…

“When it comes to gender-centric dressing I think why should there be a distinction? It’s such an old way of thinking, to think that because you’re a man you have to wear this and I think people are removing those barriers more and more, as we progress into a more modernist way of thinking. So for me this collection was I think provocative of that notion, and when I started I just thought, ‘why does it just have to be about men within a menswear brand.’ A lot of my girlfriends wear our menswear and that’s how we started to introduce womenswear to the brand.”

‘Fine Tailoring by Charlie Casey-Haysford’ is avaliable on now. Prices start at £40.


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