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Real Men Wear Red

Coca Cola's version of Santa Claus

Santa didn’t always wear red you know. Back in the days when Christmas was a more muted affair and he also went by the names Saint Nick and Father Christmas and was drawn wearing everything from a Bishop’s robe to the furs of a Norse Huntsman. He did, on occasion, turn up in a red coat but it was only when Coca-Cola commissioned illustrator Haddon Sundblom to draw Santa Claus for one of their adverts in 1931 that he became the pop culture icon he is today. That advertisement set the precedent for his signature wardrobe – red suit, black boots, red hat, black belt.

You might say that Santa’s distinctive style helped make him famous. Because you don’t get more distinctive than top to toe red. Which, admittedly makes the idea of wearing it somewhat daunting – if you get it wrong it’s even more glaringly obvious, and granted Santa hasn’t featured on many best dressed lists this year. The Amazing Spiderman star Andrew Garfield has though and when he opted to step out in a striking dark red suit and blue shirt the result was fashion-forward but tasteful, he stood out on the red carpet for all the right reasons.

Andrew Garfield

And the very daring can even pull off full fire-engine red - Kanye West pulled off a tomato-hued suit and matching trainers at one VMA ceremony purely with confidence and unapologetic swagger.

Kanye West

Not everyone is a frequent suit-wearer of course and another, less daunting option is to wear just one bold red piece. Neil Barrett sent out several rich claret coats onto the catwalk that are smart, dapper and yet would immediately spring out amongst a sea of classic business black and grey.

Neil Barrett A/W 12

And Hangover star Bradley Cooper, who is shifting up into the A list with new Oscar tipped film The Silver Linings Playbook shows us how to work a more casual take, with a cherry red bomber and sunglasses.

Bradley Cooper

And comedian Jack Whitehall may have cracked a joke in British TV series Fresh Meat about posh boys and their love for red trousers, but he probably hadn’t reckoned on ex-public school boy Robert Pattinson looking quite so good in his – though pairing with a lumberjack jacket and trainers rather than a button-down shirt was a smart move.

Robert Pattinson

Should you wish to veer in that direction though it is possible to do it and retain your style kudos, just take inspiration from Marc Jacobs and his A/W 12 Marc by Marc Jacobs collection, where male models looked sharp in red slacks, pressed shirts and retro knits.

Marc by Marc Jacobs A/W 12

And the easiest way to make a style statement in red? A cosy, tactile, eye-catching and yet somehow entirely classic knit. Take it away Acne…

Acne A/W 12

by Hollie Moat

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