Tartan is timeless. A pattern piece of Scottish history that is and always will be loved by many. So, we and our friends over at Barbour worked with men’s style expert Ben Heath, aka Twenty First Century Gent, to bring you the explorer’s Tartan style guide — helping you create timeless looks that blend rich heritage with modern dressing.
Q. How did you become a men’s style inspiration?
Ben: My journey to becoming a men’s style inspiration was crafted through my own inspiration; finding the small details in menswear that really help to complete a look. I felt like a lot of men become overwhelmed when it comes to dressing the part and it’s much easier to look at hero pieces and subtle details to really finish off an outfit. That’s where I try to guide others in menswear choices.
Q. How would you describe your style and how did you discover it over the years?
Ben: I would describe my style as very much focused on the hero pieces. Be it a pair of shoes or a smart jacket, I try to tailor an outfit around an item, rather than the other way around. I did spend a lot of my time in London, and so I was very much about the tailored looks. With a new life in the country, I now need to blend style and practicality.
What advice would you give to men trying to find their own unique style?
Ben: The one piece of advice I would give to men trying to find their own style is to focus on the individual pieces and then craft a look around that. You’d be surprised at how simple an outfit can be if you have just one statement piece!
Q. Tell us about the AW21 Barbour Men’s Tartan collection…
Ben: I absolutely love the tartan prints on the AW21 Barbour Men’s Tartan collection. It goes without saying, but the colours and prints running through these pieces are so beautiful, and I especially love the overshirts.
Q. What makes the new Tartan collection perfect for exploring?
Ben: This is a collection that really has the durability for exploring the outdoors. Waterproofs on your feet, tartan print to keep you warm, and the signature wax jackets to keep you dry. It really is the ultimate outdoor collection which gives a nod to the Scottish countryside.
Q. What are your top three tips for styling this collection?
Ben: My three top tips for styling this collection are…
- Layer up the tartan as an accent to the outfit (aka use it as the middle layer)
- Wear the smaller ankle boot for a smarter look
- Try and run the same colours throughout the outfit; match the blues to the blues and the greens to the greens
Q. What makes the Scottish Highlands so great and what is your advice for exploring them?
Ben: I absolutely love the Scottish Highlands — it’s one of my favourite places in the world, come rain or shine. There is nothing quite like the stillness of a loch set against the drama of the mountains. Plus, the people are so incredibly friendly and the food never fails to impress. Just make sure you pack a waterproof as the weather is extremely unpredictable!
Q. In your opinion, how does this collection pay homage to Scottish heritage in a modern way?
Ben: The tartan in this collection is the perfect homage to Scottish heritage. Using it in the overshirts is the perfect way to bring this into the modern era.
Q. What makes the Tartan collection such a versatile one for men’s wardrobes this season?
Ben: The Tartan Collection is extremely versatile and I really think the majority of the collection can be worn as hero pieces. Don’t be afraid to incorporate a bit of tartan into those outfits!
Discover the new Outdoor & Country x Barbour Men’s Tartan collection here.