Ask Avery: Men’s fall essentials
blog by Avery Hartmans • October 12, 2012 @ 8:51am
What clothes should I buy while I’m studying abroad in Europe so I look nifty and stuff?
Thanks a bunch,
You know, Jeff, I’m happy you ask. Though I’ve so thoughtfully been informing you what’s in for women right now, I haven’t given a second thought to the boys. What’s hot in men’s fashion? What European trends are going to make it big Stateside? And how can you transition your wardrobe into fall? All such burning questions, it’s about time one of you guys piped up.
You’re lucky to be in Europe, at the epicenter of style, so you’re probably getting an eyeful just walking down the street. Men just seem to have effortless taste there, looking casually fabulous in a simple t-shirt and jeans.
Here’s the secret: European guys, and maybe Europeans in general, pay close attention to detail. Sure, it may look like a regular t-shirt, but did you notice how it’s perfectly worn-in and softer than a golden retriever puppy? And they may appear to be typical straight leg jeans, but look closer and you’ll notice those jeans are perfectly tailored and un-fussily cuffed at the ankle. Let’s face facts: European dudes win in a street style battle any day. Am I generalizing an entire continent? You betcha. Am I right? Of course I am. So to help give you a leg up on the competition, I’ve compiled the top ten trends all guys should be rocking this season.
No. 10: Rule of thirds
If you’ve never worn a three-piece suit, I’m not surprised. This look usually makes an appearance at senior proms or weddings in the form of an ill-fitting tuxedo and a vest the exact same color as the date’s dress or bridesmaid’s gown. Too bad for you if the bride has particularly terrible taste and thought teal satin would be a cool wedding color. Lucky for sartorially minded gentlemen, this season’s three-piece suit is more likely to be houndstooth than hot mess, so jump on the bandwagon.
Dolce & Gabbana, $1,445
No. 9: Down to business
It may come as a shock, but down vests have made a reappearance on the fall fashion radar. Here I thought they’d be relegated to the era of the original “Punk’d” or worn only by lumberjacks, but down vests are definitely acceptable to wear to events other than football games. So wear your puffy vest with pride and figure out some other way to keep your arms warm. Sleeves are so last season.
Urban Outfitters, $69
No. 8: Toggle time
There will never come a time when I won’t love a toggle coat. They’re classic with that little something extra, plus they look so nautical it’s hard not to feel like you belong in a lighthouse in Maine. This fall, the toggle coat gets a little redesign with a slimmer fit, more modern toggles — think heavier hardware — and new fabrics and colors.
Land’s End, $339
No. 7: Cable installation
Ah, the cable knit sweater — the perfect layering piece for chilly Buffalo winters or brisk European days. And I’m not talking one of those thin cabled sweaters you see tied around someone’s shoulders at a polo match like a pretentious Kennedy wannabe. I’m talking thick, rugged sweaters, like the kind a particularly picturesque fisherman might wear with some Wellies while rowing a boat on Lake Geneva. Clearly I have a very skewed, “Farewell to Arms” view of Europe. Whatever.
No. 6: Indigo boys
I for one am getting a little tired of the classic white dress shirt, and I’m pleased menswear designers feel the same. Switch out your boring white for a new hue: indigo. Worn under a charcoal suit with a dark tie, it looks moody, like you stepped out of a painting from the Blue Period. Paired with a contrasting checked jacket — also in this season — it adds an eye-catching pop of color.
Banana Republic, $59.50
No. 5: Bombs away
Much to my delight, bomber jackets are in for both men and women this fall. They come in all forms, from fur-collared tweed to classic sherpa-lined leather, and they look best paired with slim pants and zipped nearly to the top. Bomber jackets evoke a very World War II sort of feeling that I’m really into right now. Glad we’re covering all our World Wars this season.
Calvin Klein, $99
No. 4: Chelsea lately
The Chelsea boot is my preferred footwear of fall for all guys. Whether leather or suede, paired with dress pants for work or broken-in jeans for play, the Chelsea boot is simple, timeless and very European. I should mention that these aren’t exactly the type of boots one would describe as “rugged” or “tough,” so if you plan to do some curb-stomping, better lease these at home.
Allen Edmonds, $345
No. 3: Plaid, please
You may think plaid is a pretty standard fall print, but this season, it’s reserved only for scarves. The perfect finishing touch for a solid sweater and overcoat, or an edgy addition to a patterned outfit, plaid isn’t just for schoolgirls or Burberry anymore. And try to branch out from the traditional tartan with a monochromatic print or an eye-catching color scheme.
Lord & Taylor, $34.99
No. 2: A button for corduroy
One of my favorite fabrics is re-emerging this fall as a staple piece for everyone’s wardrobe: corduroy. Not only does the word evoke memories of my favorite children’s book, but it makes me think of fall and leaves and pumpkins and great style. Basically, corduroy is having a moment and you don’t want to miss it. But if a full corduroy suit is too much for you, try a pair of tan or chestnut slim cords — this is key, because corduroy can easily look baggy — paired with the aforementioned chunky cable knit sweater and maybe a bomber jacket if you’re feeling wild.
Urban Outfitters, $54
No. 1: Wining allowed
No surprise here: the color of the moment, wine a.k.a. burgundy a.k.a. maroon, is just as popular in menswear as it is in women’s wear. Try a wine-colored velvet jacket or opt instead for a more subtle sweater or scarf, and pair with other fall shades. Or, for an evening look, use burgundy as an accent color to an all-black outfit. There’s a European Renaissance flair to the color and, especially if you opt for the velvet, you’ll fit right in during a semester abroad.