Standout casual pieces that will revitalise your style for the season ahead.

The typical Kiwi male might have a hard time getting their head around the latest menswear fashion trends, but it's time to get a grip. It is after all 2011, and the idea that fashion doesn't have a place in a man's world is irrelevant and archaic.

Menswear trends don't necessarily need to dictate the man, and when it comes down to it, they're generally a lot less strenuous in comparison to the breakneck speed women experience with fashion trends.

I'm not talking about pink shirts and naff man-bags here; rather, a selection of standout pieces that will update and revitalise your wardrobe for the new season ahead, so take note.

A lightweight jacket


A lightweight jacket is the perfect accompaniment for some of those cooler days when the sun isn't entirely out, and an easy-to-wear, throw-on jacket is all that's needed. Country Road has a range of lightweight parkas that touch on yachting/nautical themes, available in two colour ways: coral red and black. Working well with light layering underneath, it's the kind of jacket that doesn't come with any added bulk or heat. $229.

T-shirts in block colours

Finding the perfect T-shirt that's cut well and made in quality cotton is key to a Spring/Summer wardrobe staple, and for the new season it's about investing in block colour tees. Choose colours that work well with your skin tone, or look out for block colour T-shirts in this season's key colours: mustard, orange, burgundy, turquoise and cobalt blue. AS Colour have a myriad of block colour tees available in soft, breathable cotton with prices that won't break the bank (T-shirts start from $10); or look online at American Apparel for even more colour options.

Baseball caps

Take note here, it's not trucker caps or those flat brimmed caps that still have the holographic stickers on them as worn by many rap artists. If you've got a head for a hat, give the trilby a rest and try a classic baseball cap from Flexifit or have a look at the soft baseball cap options from Polo Ralph Lauren for those days out in the sun.

Shoes with an espadrille sole

Once a peasant's only means of protecting their feet, an espadrille shoe and its distinctive jute rope heel can be found on a variety of shoes this season, from brogues to canvas trainers. Australian label Vanishing Elephant (available at Black Box boutique) have a pair of canvas shoes with an espadrille sole in beige and in red, perfectly subtle and the right amount of tidy casual for some of those informal outdoor events this season.

The Hawaiian shirt


No longer the domain of your dad's summer wardrobe or that of an American tourist, tropical prints prevail this season adding a sense of fun, colour and old school kitsch to any outfit. Little Brother have included a Hawaiian print short sleeved cotton shirt in its latest collection at Barkers, perfect with a pair of beige chinos or seersucker shorts, which funnily enough are both also available from Little Brother; or alternatively, look to much loved menswear retailer Strangely Normal, for some other Hawaiian floral print options that work well with some of its retro-inspired trousers and shorts.

Square shaped wayfarer sunglasses

The classic wayfarer shape for sunglasses has well and truly made itself known for the past few seasons now, with vintage inspired frames making a comeback. This season, the wayfarer is still around, however is much less rounded and more square in shape, with thicker frames and an exaggerated quirk. Ksubi eyewear have released three key exaggerated wayfarer shapes, the Atik, the Ara and the Skeleton, that will serve double duty in keeping those peepers safe, as well as turn up the cool factor on any outfit.

Western-inspired denim shirting

Denim shirts are an all-year-round favourite due to its ability to give you the right amount of warmth during winter, but still be light enough to wear in spring. This season, the denim shirt gets a makeover from its workwear roots and touches on frontier themes with dome buttons, snap pockets and stylised yoke in the front and back; some are complete with Navajo/western-inspired embroidery. Topman have the ultimate western-inspired denim shirt at The Department Store, which features a pair of blue and red embroidered birds.

Above the knee swim shorts

When it comes to the beach, we're still in our trusty board shorts or rugby shorts; however this season it's about time to branch out and check out some seriously cool swim shorts that look just as good on land as they do in sea. Australian label Toggs have a selection of fun shorts coming just above the knee. Made from quick-drying microfibre with inner mesh and side pockets and available in a range of prints from colourful stripes, Hawaiian florals and retro prints, they are available from the menswear department at The Department Store ($150 each). Denim legend Wrangler have also included above-the-knee swim shorts in Aztec prints as well as hyper-coloured florals available from October.

Fresh smelling cologne

So often guys tend to overlook their choice of fragrance, and for something a bit special, Crane Brothers have an exclusive range of Penhaligon's fragrances for men from London. Made with the finest ingredients and with over 135 years of history behind it, the Penhaligon's portfolio of fragrances is another way in which you can update your wardrobe for the new season. You can trade in the Old Spice for something exotic such as the Elixir, a unique blend that includes red Turkish rose, Egyptian jasmine and eucalyptus; or the Opus 1870, a lightweight fragrance that includes bourbon, black pepper, cedar wood, yuzu fruit and musk. $225 each.

Irregular stripe T-shirts

The Breton stripe, although a classic, takes a slight back seat this season as stripes lean towards the thicker side with striped T-shirts a relaxed, no-fuss approach to casual but cool dressing. The team at emerging menswear label I Love Ugly have included a key stripe T-shirt this season, displaying irregular three colour-way stripes with a relaxed neck-drop ($89). Thick irregular stripe tees can also be found at Australian chain store Marcs as well as from local designer Katie Battersby.