Out With the Old, In With the New

Something I really enjoy about the month of December is that within a week of nostalgic reminiscences of the previous twelve months, gorging on goose, turkey, fruit puddings, wines, and all sorts of extravagant comestibles, a shiny new year is being welcomed in and the portly merriment of Christmas becomes a joyful espousal of the coming year. Vows for personal betterment are made, and though old acquaintances be not forgot, the 31st of December is very much about the future; a positive and hopeful future.

And there is hope, hope that the coming year brings happiness and prosperity; friends yet unmade and love yet unspoken. All symbolic action, even the unwrapping of a calendar, feels right and good after the contemplative feast of Christmas, and even man’s wardrobe should not be shy of an annual renewal and upgrade.

Psychologically, it is an excellent time to pluck up the courage to discard rarely worn or damaged items; creating space for future purchases may sound like a bad idea, but keeping what you enjoy wearing and discarding what you do not will give you a pretty good indication of what you need, and what you desire. Hoarding is not practical and not attractive; keeping clothing wrapped up for posterity will become a nuisance the longer it continues, so begin the New Year with a good deed and donate items to charity shops.
If you can’t quite bring yourself to simply give things away, but you can’t bring yourself to wear them either, EBay is useful for creating a little revenue for the new wardrobe.

If you’re interested in trends, 2008 is promising to be a good year for grey. With diverse designers like Dior, Ralph Lauren, Burberry Prorsum and Gucci offering a good number of grey options, the style seems to be schoolboy preppy with a dash of sixties Martini-swilling-bachelor panache. Darker greys have a cocktail-lounge sheen to them, whereas the lighter greys are flannel-like in texture.

Patterned trousers and suits are making more headway, so expect to see window checks, Prince of Wales checks and country checks aplenty.

Feverish anticipation of spring also seems to have designers covered in a rash: a rash of brightly coloured accessorising garments. Bright greens, reds and yellows dominate.

For those more interested in evergreen style, there are some safe and sensible purchases to make at the start of 2008.

Firstly, for a New Year, buy yourself a new white shirt. It doesn’t have to be a fantastically expensive one, decent white shirts are widely available. Make sure it’s versatile; not button down and not double cuff, and importantly make sure it’s the right fit for you. White shirts, even when washed, can look tired soon enough, and it’s another of those psychological boosts to gaze upon the crisp whiteness of a new shirt in your bedroom mirror.

Secondly, a good cricket jumper will serve you well for spring, summer and even autumn. The simpler the better; keep crests and stripes to a more subtle minimum. It’s youthful, sporty and yet utterly timeless.

Finally, take your favourite black shoes to the cobbler for a fresh sole and heel. Or if your current shoes are looking like they’ve seen better days, keep the poor things off the pavement and make a visit to a good shoe store for a classic Oxford shoe. Black shoes are indispensable, but they are common, and they are also commonly ugly. Choosing a good shoe, and taking good care of it, will make you stand out from the crowd.