Currently, menswear is undergoing a paradigm shift, trading traditional looks for cutting-edge, statement fashion. Menswear had industry insiders buzzing throughout London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks, as designers opted for more memorable, vibrant and alternative looks.
Men: this is your go-to guide on how to incorporate the coveted ’14 fall and winter looks into your everyday wardrobe – from the office to a casual night out.
Alternative formalwear was everywhere during Paris Fashion Week (most notably Riccardo Tisci’s Givenchy collection – everything from the fashion to the set embodied an edgy, sporty vibe). Formalwear is now reflecting the way we all live and utilize fashion, but the key to adapting this trend lies in subtlety. It’s one thing to look cool and comfortable at the office, and it’s completely another thing to look like you just got out of bed.
Start by adding sneakers and casual shirts into your office attire; both are foolproof methods of bringing edgy, sporty formalwear from the runways to the cubical. Let’s start with sneakers. Sneakers are the new loafers – try pairing sneakers with your favorite slacks and button-down. In addition, swap your stiff shirts and melancholy sweaters for loose fitting casual shirts (even a t-shirt). Word to the wise: don’t try both looks at once – it’s easy to look like a 38-year-old Justin Bieber. As you become more comfortable blending casual into the formal, you can mix and match as you see fit.
Loud ‘n’ Proud Winter:
Winter serves as our unbelievably heavy cross to bear here in the Midwest – seriously, I think I dropped mine back in the snow a few weeks ago. Men can make the Polar Vortex their bitch by transforming homely winter staples into avant-garde pieces of self-expression.
Let’s start with the most visible winter trend: statement topcoats. Burberry, Jonathan Saunders and Topman showcased my favorite statement topcoats during London Fashion Week. Most topcoats featured intoxicating patterns, innovative color schemes and head-turning colors.
This trend can seamlessly be woven into the fabric of the Midwest by mixing a classic outfit with a loud topcoat. First, look for vibrant colored or patterned topcoats (Remember, you’re dipping your toe in high fashion’s water – stick with a primary color or tribal print in order to not create too much of a ripple). Second, pair the coat with a classic outfit – I love to wear an all black ensemble underneath my busy coats. In addition, try to pair a statement topcoat with your favorite pair of fitted pants –a coat that comes down to reveal a slim knee is eye-catching on men of all ages and sizes.
Loud knitwear and sweatshirts also dominated London Fashion Week. Again, subtly is crucial when adapting this look – pair loud knits and patterned sweatshirts with your classic pieces (fitted jeans, slacks, sneakers, loafers, etc.).
Animal silhouettes were the most notable sweatshirt trend. You know how you find it quirky and endearing to still watch Spongebob Squarepants reruns? You can now channel that same quirkiness into your wardrobe. I suggest pairing this look with your favorite jeans and slip-on sneakers; you can also add a beanie or baseball cap if you’re feeling extra fun. Knitwear with vibrant colors and patterns can already be seen at discount retailers like H&M and Urban Outfitters.
Now we’ve come to the quintessential cozy winter staple: the chunky roll neck sweater. If you’re one of those men who reserve these sweaters for sick days, you’re missing out. Go big or go home, in terms of the size of the roll neck. These can be paired with anything from jeans and slacks to sneakers and dress shoes.
Let’s start off with everybody’s favorite: tartan print [FYI: tartan is basically a glorified term for plaid, but I’m going to refer to it as tartan because it makes me feel more legit]. Tartan can already be seen everywhere around here – from tried-and-true Midwesterners (like the unavoidable silver-haired talker with a drinking problem at your favorite dive-bar) to your buddy from college (the one who squeezes himself into girls jeans and loves to talk about the latest life-changing Netflix documentary). Tartan is the one trend from the fall and winter ‘14 men’s shows that we have long embraced here in Middle America. So, the subtly rule goes out the window. Stand out and utilize this Midwestern staple to your advantage by pairing tartan with super trendy pieces. For example, wear a tartan button-down with a pair of leather pants and combat boots (i.e. Kanye West). You can also pair the same shirt with ripped jeans and heavy jewelry. Go as wild, unique and eye-catching as your fashionable heart desires.
Tangerine serves as the second trend that can be incorporated into your everyday wardrobe. It seems like designers collectively agree tangerine is the must-have color, not only for men but also women. Mundane and predictable colors have always been the cornerstones of menswear, but now men can demand attention with this dazzling color. Christopher Shannon’s collection was bold enough to showcase head-to-toe tangerine looks at London Fashion Week, but subtly, again, is crucial when adapting the color to the Midwest. Bring the heat to Naptown by adding tangerine into subtle aspects of your wardrobe, such as socks, handkerchiefs or belts. If you prefer living life on the wild side, opt for a tangerine button-down underneath your blazer or jacket.
Last but not least, there’s one vital accessory that you must wear to successfully pull of each of these trends: confidence. No matter your style, embrace it and own it. Confidence can be contagious, and your coworker Bill might ask you where you got it. We all know Bill, the Midwestern cliché. His idea of a cutting-edge spring look consists of a snug polo tucked into ill-fitted Dockers. Bill also believes his waist is 4-6” above his belly button. Spread this newfound confidence around the office, and you might see your pal Bill sporting a tangerine sock – or maybe he’ll just realize where his waist actually is. Either way it’s a win, win!