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Pieces of nonsense

While he occasionally falls prey to prejudice and is eternally beset by ignorance, the author of this column does try to give his readers an honest idea of what's happening in the world of men's fashion.

Why? Because, as Stanley Tucci's character Nigel says in The Devil Wears Prada, "fashion does matter, despite appearances to the contrary". (Actually he makes a big long speech about why a particular shade of blue is in and another is out, but it comes to the same thing.)

On one hand, keeping abreast of styles and fashions is easy because nothing much changes in the way men dress and when it does it happens at a glacial pace. So you can say "Oh look, they're adding a fourth button to suit jackets again" and know it will be years before the trend works its way down to a line manager near you.

In other words, if you last togged up seriously in 2003, the chances are you still look pretty respectable today. You might have avoided buying a pair of deck shoes too.

Also, the designers make it easy to predict fashion changes because after they've made their clothes, they send their models out to be photographed wearing them. So all you have to do is wade through lots of catwalk images and figure out which "pieces" will have the high street retailers placing orders for cut-price versions. There's usually a couple of ideas they think they can sell if they water them down a bit.

Return to those same images and something else becomes apparent: even in the world of men's fashion, much of what's on the catwalks is bonkers. So what would happen if, instead of taking the easy-to-sell stuff, the high street latched on to some of the more outre ideas? Here's what, culled from this month's crop of autumn/winter 2014 fashion shows in London and Milan.

1 Crowns

Taking their, er, inspiration from the Normans who once ruled Sicily (and England!), Dolce and Gabbana sent out their models in crowns and what looked a lot like chainmail. Clank!

2 Skirts over trousers

Not going to happen, despite being spotted at several collections, including Man, Topman's hook-up with Fashion East.

3 Fluffy pink snoods

See above. That was Man, again, though Lou Dalton had something similar.

4 Carpet bags

Big ones, like Mary Poppins may use. Spotted at the Burberry men's show, among others.

5 Scary Mickey Mouse masks and straitjackets

Yup, these featured on models at Katie Eary's show, alongside bondage harnesses. Not coming soon to H&M, though possibly to River Island, who have signed up Ms Eary for a collaborative project in stores next month. Be very afraid.

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Fashion

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