It’s always great to mix trendy pieces with more classic looks to give you the perfect look that always looks up-to-date. Color is big for men this season (I love colored interesting shirts of all kinds), as are relaxed chic looks (like relaxed suits), etc.
Accessories that are hot are really simple: well kept shoes. It’s one of the first things people notice, so always make sure the shoes are right and clean. Here’s something I like to do. Instead of looking at celebs, I check out various magazines and advertising and check out different looks I like (for You GQ, Cargo) and then get shopping!
If you are wondering why some of today’s most sophisticated men’s stores – Polo Ralph Lauren, Bergdorf Goodman Men, Barneys New York – are stocked with enough hard-core color to resemble the team uniform section of a sporting goods shop, well, perhaps that’s fitting. Color has become practically a contact sport.
Mens wear Bright New Look In the last few seasons, many men have developed a major passion for sharply tailored suits and brightly patterned dress shirts, snapping up $200 Etros by the half-dozen. But this spring, in the eternal game of one-upmanship known as fashion, the look has been taken to a new extreme. Solidly colored pants, sweaters and blazers – in tangerine, lemon, viridian, magenta, royal blue – have raised the stakes, and some men are, to retailers’ surprise, taking the bet.
Retailers report that traditional two-button cotton sport coats and pinwale corduroys struck by a lightning bolt of color have become some of the hottest sellers of the season. And in a rare meeting of minds, old-school retailers like Paul Stuart are sharing a design aesthetic with edge-of-fashion lines like Burberry Prorsum and Duckier Brown.
“The first thing that blew out of Barneys was all the color,” said Daniel Silver, a partner in Duckier Brown. “When we were designing it we were thinking: ‘It’s so bright. Are guys really going to buy this?’ But they have. It’s like someone knocked down the wall between his and hers closets.”
The trend has obvious appeal to men who want an easy new way to express a bold streak. But it has an august precedent as well, in the late, great NBC peacock, Johnny Carson. In 1973, when country clubs swarmed with pants and blazers of every hue, Carson’s own fashion line was the best-selling men’s tailored clothing line in the country, according to Homi Patel, the chief executive of Hartmarx, which owns the line. In 1973 alone, 80,000 electric blue sport coats (with five-inch lapels!) were sold.
Unlike many looks with roots in the past, this one is a study in jarring contrasts. It has both the edge and cheek of early 80’s New York, when Day-Glo color fueled the New Wave scene, and the ease and entitlement of an early 70’s Republican enclave in Palm Springs.
“The roots are in that country club thing,” said Joe Zee, the editor of the men’s wear magazine Vitals. “The edge is in its conservative aspect.” Striped shirts and plaid jackets can play into a conservative look, but solid colors, Mr. Zee suggested, are bolder. “Men are more used to pattern,” he said. “So a pink striped shirt is easier for a lot of guys than an all-pink shirt. That’s a more specific fashion statement.”
No sector has taken up the call to color more than the hip-hop world, in which dandies like Usher, Farnsworth Bentley and Andre 3000 of OutKast (hard at work on a fashion line called Benjamin) will wear, and combine, the splashiest of colors. “You have urban rappers from Nelly to Puffy saying, ‘I can wear this without being a sissy,’ ” Mr. Zee said.
Chris Chambers, a dapper vice president for publicity at BMG Music, feels the pull. “There’s definitely a mixture of an urban thing with classic country club.” he said. “I’ll wear the pink Ralph Lauren blazer but maybe not with the white slacks they show. I’ll wear it with some Evisu jeans and a cool sneaker.”
Still, it takes guts. “I think a solid bold color looks fresh, but you have to have a level of confidence for it,” Mr. Chambers said. What makes the look less brash and more appealing, he said, is its history as the onetime uniform of 19th-hole golfers everywhere.
Ross Geisel, a Manhattan fund-raiser, has taken a shine to color because of its associations with a life of gentlemanly ease. “I can get away with wearing it to work, and then if you go out afterward, you don’t look like you came from the office,” Mr. Geisel said.
Another reason he likes extreme color is that there are so few rules about wearing it. That, he maintains, makes it easier, not harder to dress. “It doesn’t matter what you do,” he said. “I have a loud pink shirt on today with a corduroy chocolate brown blazer. I can wear it spring, summer or fall, with any shoe I want.”
Even with his outlaw attitude, he said the style reminds him of his father’s country-club clothes. But the concept of Johnny Carson as a symbol of style is lost on him. “All I remember is Carnac,” he said.