WORDS BY JONNY CLARKE
Tan. A word that evokes images of C.J. Parker’s sun-kissed body from the 1990s Baywatch series (no? Just me?). But if, like me, you turn lobster red in the sun, fear not: there are other ways to wear a tan…
Tan (or ‘natural’) leather is traditionally associated with cowboys and the Wild West. Their saddles, holsters and cowboy hats were all made from tan leather; unless you were the bad guy, in which case they were usually black.
But before you go and buy yourself a pair of chaps and stirrups, hold your horses for a second (see what I did there?). The modern-day usage of tan-coloured accessories is far subtler than that.
Give Your Wardrobe a Tan
Unless you’re a lumberjack, builder or hipster, you’ve probably never known the delights of wearing tan leather footwear. In fact, the main reason a lot of men don’t rock the colour tan is down to them not knowing how to wear it.
The first rule to wearing tan is to get the jeans right. Dark blue jeans (straight leg or skinny fit) will accentuate the shoes more so than a lighter colour or bootcut. If you’re wearing tan with a suit, always opt for a blue three-piece. Never wear tan leather shoes with a black suit; unless you’re going for that 1980s, ‘Manhattan stockbroker’ vibe: In which case, fill your boots.
The Devil is in the Detail
If you like to coordinate your clothes to impeccable levels of detail, do it in threes: pair your tan footwear with a tan belt and a brown leather watch. Girls will notice this kind of attention to detail, making you seem a meticulous individual (even if you’re anything but).
Brownie points from your style combinations might just earn you a second date and allow her to overlook your terrible chat-up line.
For a more summery look, a pair of tan suede shoes work well with some cream/white chinos and a polo shirt. Yacht optional.
Oh, and if you do happen to drive a classic convertible, you need a pair of natural leather driving gloves to go with some Ray-Ban Clubmaster sunglasses if you want to channel your inner James Dean.
Change with the Seasons
As a colour, tan can be more versatile than you might think. Pair some tan brogues with pastel-coloured chino shorts for an even cooler summer look (just remember not to wear socks, as this would compromise the entire image).
And when summer starts turning to autumn, just switch up the outfit again. A classic Barbour wax jacket, dark jeans or smart trousers, coupled with a check shirt would all benefit from some tan accessories.
Take colour inspiration from the fallen leaves around you - tan, brown, burgundy are all complimentary colours which ooze class.
Now go forth and rule the land with your newfound knowledge and tan-wearing prowess!