Every February, giving New York City just enough time to clean up the guttered glitter from New Year’s Eve, the world’s fashion elite funnel into Lincoln Center for couture collaboration of the most chic degree. But if you’re like me (read: male) you might find it difficult to catch an earful about our new threads as opposed to the countless articles and blogs on what’s trending for our fabulous female counterparts. I’ve chosen to weed out some of the more extreme showings from NYC, as we men typically don’t change our look as quickly as the ladies do. I’ll focus on must-have staples for next fall/winter, noteworthy colors that are trending and the latest in footwear and accessories.
Though sadly I wasn’t invited to any runway events this year – an oversight on Mr. Lauren’s part I’m sure – I’ve read up on what’s in and one word can sum it up: Nostalgia. Designers are looking back to the classics, but naturally putting their own spin in these threads. First up: the collegiate look. From V-necks to sweatshirts and henleys, stripes and long-sleeve polos, the collegiate look is in! Designers from Perry Ellis to up-and-coming Marlon Gobel are incorporating this sporty, youthful look into their Fall/Winter 2011 collections. Layering is key, as are rich colors and varied textures: leather straps on coats, vintage leather and canvas backpacks, and colorful wool Glen plaids. Sweatshirts with unexpected sleeve length and unique photo-prints were also quite popular. Bold stripes can be seen in tops as well as pants, with retro, sport-inspired coloring such as burgundy, navy and white. Time to rummage through the latter part of your closet and seek out your vintage varsity threads and wear them with a newfound S-P-I-R-I-T.
Next up: what colors to choose. This Fall/Winter for men will find us wearing subdued but rich colors. Gone are the pale grays and browns, and in with Mulled Wine, with rich shades of aubergine, eggplant and wine, particularly beautiful in a three-quarter length leather coat by Pringle of Scotland. Also trending is Oil Slick, a rich, moody shade of sea green, teal and petrol blue. This color is exceptionally sharp paired with age-shined leather. International Blue, a bold, Greek-Sea blue is also a hit, finding its way into unlikely garments such as blazers, corduroy pants and suede. Caramel Dipped is another swell color to pump up your look. This color is an essential neutral, blending beautifully with chocolate brown, wine and all shades of blue. Look for it in a tailored blazer for a night on the town. Other popular colors were Stone Quarry (A personal favorite in varying shades of warm, neutral gray and calm beige), Rust Belt, found in tweed jackets and corduroy, and Agent Orange, a great accent color, ranging from rich rust to this year’s Pantone Color: Honeysuckle. Eat these colors up! They’ll plump your style presence in any occasion this year.
Lastly, how to tie these looks together. Speaking of tying, go straight laced! The urban military boot – with loads of laces – is in. Whether choosing a rugged work boot or a black-shined military look, feel free to wear these laced-up beauties with jeans or loose pants alike. Lightly tuck them into the top and you’ve got a serious winning look for your team. Burnished leather is also in, both for boots and oxfords alike. Soles on said shoes will start to swell as well, with the lug sole making its way back into style.
Ever find yourself wishing for a carrying case but not wanting to look like your father? Skip the LL Bean bag you’ve donned since your years at Brown and try a new flap-fastened tote in canvas and leather. The look is both presentable and handsome and leaves your pockets free to breathe. Room enough for your iPad, iPod, iPhone and any other technological stunner Mr. Jobs can carve up. Check out the great styles from Gucci and Burberry Prorsum. Just carrying one or two techno items today? Opt for a sleek leather portfolio in white, dove gray or maroon brown. These chic attachés will comfortably pocket your prized goodies and leave your hands free to shake, rattle and roll into work in high style. I love the latest looks from Lanvin in gray croc and Louis Vuitton in rich brown.
Glen plaid, stars and stripes aside, the most important thing to remember this season and always is this: wear your new kicks and cords with conviction, confidence and a smile. Throw these key players into your mix, and you’re on a winning streak to being a true, modern gentleman.