Fusing cutting-edge style with clever design that takes into account functionality can be a difficult balance when seeking to create unique items, but this balance is even harder to ensure when the items in question are intended to be worn. Every fashion designer dreams of creating moveable artwork: something that will draw the eye and astound, while also acting as a functional clothing item – the MET Gala is somewhat of a masterclass in this type of fashion statement.

When it comes to men’s fashion and design, balance is harder to find and it can go either way – too functional and tame to be noticed, or so visually appealing and daring that it is far from practical. Again, all we have to do is look to previous MET Gala outfits adorning male guests to see this in action; it’s very rare that men other than Billy Porter or Ezra Miller get it right. But it is possible to obtain the perfect balance – you just need to look in the right places.

Here are some fashion ingenuities that fuse style and design in a clever way, to create a look that will leave an impression whilst remaining functional.

Stylish Eyewear

Just because your vision isn’t exactly 20/20, doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your individual sense of style to be able to see. Many generic eyewear brands and stores focus on practicality and simplistic, durable design, which can leave any fashion-conscious gent feeling half-dressed. As with many items these days, the opportunity to create a bespoke piece with a knowledgeable designer is a way of bridging the gap between functionality and style. Consciously designed eyewear – such as these Blake Kuwahara glasses – combines quirky, individual aesthetics alongside robust designs that are wearable in all situations, proving the benefits of buying bespoke.

sunglasses men

Fashion-Forward Outerwear

These days, with such temperamental weather, it can be hard to balance your desire for stylish outerwear alongside your need to be warm and dry. Sure, that calf-length coat in checked tweed looks fantastic, but isn’t exactly suitable for wet or cold weather, and would be too onerous in the sun.

In the case of cold weather, a trick here (if that coat is a must-have style addition) is to focus on your accessories – hats, gloves and scarves are all additions that can be both stylish and functional, particularly if you embrace contrasting colours and/or patterns, and quirky styles that match the style of your coat.

Innovative designers are a good port of call if you want a unique item that maintains a balance between fashionable and practical. For example, there are some stunningly-designed coats that are light enough to be worn during mild weather, but that can be reversed in case of rain – that’s one way of solving your style vs function issue, straight out of the gate.

stylish outerwear

Feet on the Ground

Shoes can make or break an entire outfit. You could be wearing a cheap suit with a simple shirt and find your entire look elevated just by choosing the right pair of shoes. However, the balance between practicality and style is often amiss in footwear.

More designers are working to create shoes that are high-quality and stylish, instantly improving the whole outfit visual, whilst ensuring they remain practical – this can be achieved by simply changing the sole of the shoe, utilizing a different material, or providing tips for how to make your purchases more durable with different products. A little research in this area will ensure that you can find sneakers that are not only good for the gym, but that can elevate an outfit to make it look effortlessly cool, instead.

Although it may be difficult to identify items that look good whilst also retaining functionality, it isn’t impossible – you don’t need to sacrifice one for the other, you simply need to look a little closer and do a bit of research!