Rag & Bone S/S 2017
Rag & Bone Spring/Summer 2017. Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier

When one thinks of Indianapolis, one thinks of racing. When one thinks of race car drivers, one thinks of flame-resistant suits covered in sponsor’s logos. In neither instance does one typically think of high-end fashion. Yet, looking through the crowd at tonight’s Rag & Bone spring/summer presentation, there sat IndyCar drivers Josef Newgarden and Marco Andretti. Both happen to be pretty snappy dressers when they’re not driving in circles at 250 miles per hour. That the duo would be at a NYFW show isn’t surprising. That they would be at the more street-oriented Rag & Bone, though, might feel a little different from how we’re accustomed to seeing them.

First, I should mention that there is a considerable difference between the men’s wear and the women’s wear in this collection. The women’s wear has a lot of styling options, a great color palette, and a workable set of silhouettes even if one’s street cred isn’t really all that fly (I have no idea what “street cred” or “fly” actually mean. My 18-year-old provided those terms for me).  The men’s wear, though, is darker, the silhouettes a bit more round, and not quite as flattering to the wearer. There are styling options, especially if one drops the outerwear that comes with almost every men’s look, but men have to try harder to make the collection work for them.

On the women’s side, there are a lot of cool things going on with stripes. Pin-striped shirts, diagonally striped skirts, and some very cool black with white striped suits are  among the many offerings. The stripes even extend to the shoes in a couple of cases. The men, by constrast, only have one striped short-sleeve shirt and a couple of striped jackets, one of which has blue crushed velvet sleeves. Everything else is solid colored, mostly blue and black with some pea green, khaki, and red tossed into the mix.

Men do get their selection of rain slickers, which is great if one lives in a particularly damp environment or just really doesn’t want to fix that hole in the roof. Women, on the other hand, get oversized sweaters and shirt dresses and sheer floral print tops and a cool poncho and a lot of other really fun things to wear.  When one stops and compares the two, it really doesn’t seem fair that the men’s wear is noticeably less exciting than the women’s.

One curious ensemble present in both men’s and women’s wear is a grey sweat suit. Nothing special about them. No giant logos. No fancy decorative pieces. Just grey jersey knit cotton sweat suits not terribly unlike the ones I wore for that PE class in college.40 years ago. Although, I’m sure these cost a lot more than did mine. These really seem out of place for both men and women, and were equally unflattering to both.

There’s probably also something to be said for the fact that Vogue only posted photos for the women’s wear, not the men’s.

I’m curious now whether Marco or Josef found anything they liked. The jackets were kind of cool, I suppose, though I’m not sure how either of them feel about crushed velvet. Maybe they just want a pair of skater shorts to wear when mowing the lawn. Or maybe there’s a side to their fashion sensibilities we’ve not seen yet.

For better or worse, this may be one of those collections to which women respond better than men. Women certainly have more options. The guys, on the other hand, might do better elsewhere. I’m projecting, though. If you like what you see, by all means, wear it with pleasure.

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