The New Formal marks a new relaxed take on menswear, but this laidback trend extends beyond just what we wear and is changing the look and feel of where we spend our time too. We asked interiors bloggers Mark Russell and David White of Forward Features to take us through how the trend for relaxed style is finding pace outside of our wardrobes, and how you can tap into the look at home too. Over to the guys.
When it comes to personal style, there’s a lot you can learn about yourself from what’s hanging in your wardrobe. We train our brains to gravitate towards certain textures, colours and designs. This is true of what we wear – but it’s also true of what we put in our home.
Having our homes reflect our own style is becoming more and more common. Exposure to design on our social feeds is inspiring us to be a bit braver when it comes to interior design – allowing us the freedom to have our homes reflect our tastes as well as the personal ways we live. Since we’re all go-go-go in our daily lives, our homes also need to be places we can slow down and relax. Everyone wants to feel at home, don’t they? Just like menswear, right now it’s really all about interiors that feel as good as they look. So here are three ways you can get the New Formal look in your home.
If it’s time to switch up the generic Swedish-designed interior products you’ve been choosing, first thing’s first: take stock of what you wear. Menswear has changed and it’s no longer all about the regimented suit and tie combination; we’re going more relaxed with slouchy silhouettes and layered styling.
If your style is more relaxed, then bring this into the home. We’re talking oversized cushions casually stacked on sofas, or perhaps propped up against walls as impromptu seating – the aim is for it to look inviting. Textured fabrics like tweeds, velvets and wool feel welcoming, especially in the colder months, as will plump, comfortable furniture. Steer clear of sharp edges and instead look for curved corners and smooth lines to encourage guests (and yourself) to kick back and stay a while.
However, if you’re the type who’s not ready to give up his polished brogues just yet, you can still embrace this form of relaxed formality at home – just soften the look with a few small changes. In menswear, the look’s all about ditching the tie and adding in a softer layer like this season’s brushed cotton shirts or a fine Merino knit. In order to bring this look into your home, it’s again about making a few small edits. If a sofa covered in cushions isn’t your thing, go for a sleeker look instead with one or two (or none at all) but stick to a sofa with those round edges or elegantly worn-in leather upholstery.
The New Formal’s all about great materials and colours that are easy to mix and match and you can recreate this feeling at home with a tactile rug, warm wood furniture and minimal accessories. Earthy shades of brown, taupe and ochre work well here as will natural materials like wood, wicker and stone, while highlights of deep green or teal and a few reflective surfaces for contrast.
Lastly – it’s all about those finishing touches. Just as you would wear one standout piece, such as a vintage watch or cufflinks, do this in your home. Create a focal point in a room that sums up your personality. Now we’re not talking about one huge ceramic vase or anything – we’re here to tell you about vignettes. These are ‘snapshots’ that you can create in a room to emulate your personal style.
Layer different object such as photo frames, books and ornaments in one space (shelves work really well) and you’ll find yourself an area that reflects your personality. Hang a framed vintage movie poster or graphic piece of art for the finishing touch. What’s also great about these final details is that, as in tailoring, these can be changed about at your will, depending on your mood or the season.
David White and Mark Russell are interiors bloggers from South London. Their website Forward Features – winner of Best Design Inspiration blog, Amara Interior Awards 2016 – discusses the latest trends and design news and you can find them on Instagram too.