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Unsolicited smiles

Suddenly, people are smiling on The Tube. More and more. Headphones in, breaking into a grin, sometimes even a giggle. Maybe they’re enjoying a particularly winsome Pet Shop Boys’ lyric? More likely, they’re ears-deep in the podcast revolution. It’s odd though, seeing the traditional wall of blank faces cracking with smirks. Disconcerting too. Especially if, as a gentleman of the cloth, you’re watching this unfold while wearing a vaguely outré outfit. You see someone smiling to themselves, they catch your eye, they carry on grinning – are they amused by the contents of their earphones or the cut of your trousers? Is your leopard print roll neck too much?

It is through such seemingly trivial moments that the insecurities of the enthusiastic menswearer are exposed. Logic tells you that that girl is giggling along with Pandora Sykes on The High Low. Your cowardly mind tells you she’s laughing at your shoes.

Looking for the ideal piece to make you feel uneasy as a carriage of commuters snigger and stare? This’ll do it. It’s a knitted Judo-style jacket from Japanese makers Naissance. What business have you got dressing like a Cobra Kai student? None. Which is why it takes some front to pull off. And why it could provoke unsolicited smiles.

It’s in a wool/acrylic mix, so it’s less jacket, more cardigan. But tied up at the front with a little belt and featuring a deep, ribbed V down the front. I’m thinking a round neck under this is probably the way to go. Although, on second thoughts, maybe a double-denim fit of worn denim shirt and jeans might add enough casual – I’ve-just-tossed-this-all-on – insouciance to make it work. Dress this up at your peril. To pull off a piece like this, it’s got to look thoughtlessly casual. Fancy it up as part of a going ‘out-out’ look and you’ll just look like the kind of abundantly moisturised bro who shops in Selfridges and thinks Pop Brixton is edgy.

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