The waves crash against the boardwalk, where vibrant beachgoers gather. There’s nothing like the American shore.
The waves crash against the boardwalk, where vibrant beachgoers gather. There’s nothing like the American shore.
Forget your cookie-cutter, whitewashed definition of “the boy next door”; the real kids of America are so much more.
New York Fashion Week has always stood apart from the rest of the major fashion capitals in a lot of ways, one of those being its display – or lack thereof – of men’s fashion. While London, Milan, and Paris each have separate events for the menswear shows, New York has always chosen to do it all at once, resulting in a larger-scale biannual spectacle and a whole lot of action. But now, men’s fashion in the Big Apple might be getting its own time to shine.
Menswear is growing more and more popular, as guys all over the world are increasingly interested in putting themselves together. After years of gentleman seeming like a mythical concept, we may just be reentering an era of the sophisticated male. Unfortunately, there will always be those dudes and bros who just don’t care, making themselves into complete fools with their personal presentation. But some of the most common menswear mistakes can be easily corrected. Here’s a short guide on how to fix a few of those pesky problems.
It’s called tailoring for a reason
A lot of guys automatically think that throwing on a suit results in instant “swag.” Hate to break it to you, but there’s a lot more to it than that. A baggy suit looks sloppy and tasteless. Although loose tailoring is one of many trends that emerged from the spring 2014 men’s collections, it shouldn’t be taken too literally. There’s nothing professional or “classy” (a very overused term, by the way) about oversized pants or too-long blazers. And let’s not even get started on how unflattering this looks; let’s just say you won’t be “pulling bitches” dressed like that. Oh, and those wide ties have to go. Try to get a more fitted suit, preferably ranging on the slimmer side. Of course, different body types require different tailoring, but there’s nothing that can’t be accentuated in a sharper silhouette. “Tapered” doesn’t necessarily mean a skinny suit (though a skinnier tie is almost essential), and there are plenty of ways to clean up your formal or office attire.
The T-shirt grows up
Remember those style tips given a little while back? Well one of them mentioned toning down those graphic tee’s. Guys, the shirts you bought on the boardwalk during prom weekend aren’t doing you any favors, and just like that last issue, the look is immature and childish. Instead of cheesy slogans and raunchy photos, why not try out a more artistic approach? Take a note from labels like Givenchy and Kenzo and wear a popular animal motif. And don’t worry, these themes are commonly reinterpreted at more accessible price points. Sorry, but it’s time to hang up the Ed Hardy shirts.
Sports gear vs. Sportswear
Another huge trend to come out of the latest menswear season is the proliferation of athletic, urban looks. There was an abundance of aerodynamic fabrics, while sneakers and backpacks accessorized otherwise rigid ensembles. But this trend doesn’t invite men to get too comfortable. There’s a difference between putting a windbreaker over your shirt and tie and literally wearing your athletic gear in public; unless you’re exercising, you should probably put yourself together. However, you don’t have to throw out your favorite sneakers just yet. When paired with more presentable pieces, your sporty styles can inform a trendy, unique outfit.
The short story
Summer is coming to an end, but if anything, this catastrophe became more noticeable in the warm weather months. To be frank, cargo shorts should not be a thing. Ever. Baggy bottoms look tasteless and messy (see above), especially when it comes to shorts. Who wants to cut off a substantial chunk of their legs, looking short and stocky? You’re probably not keeping anything in those cavernous pockets, anyway. Again, tapered doesn’t mean tight, and you don’t have to wear skintight biking shorts. Instead, slim-cut shorts in lightweight linens can improve even your most desperate summertime outfits. Though fall is quickly approaching, this is definitely something to keep in mind the next time it gets hot out.
All photos by me
Fashion companies’ use of social media never gets old, and GQ certainly hopped on the #bandwagon. Through “How GQ Are You,” the men’s magazine is inviting all the dapper dudes to share their style on Instagram. After registering with GQ, competitors are asked to upload their photos (of course embellished with descriptive hashtags) to the “HGQRU” main page. Then things get really fun, as viewers can rate the swaggy selfies on a three-point scale: Not GQ, Almost GQ, and Very GQ. Every photo is fair game for comments, too, making entry seem like a bit of a courageous feat; you never know what someone will say on the often-judgemental Internet. Other than “some serious loot,” Gentlemen’s Quarterly doesn’t specify exactly what’s at stake with HGQRU. But nothing’s more gratifying than self-assurance via social media, right? Though it’s probably a little daunting to invite complete, not necessarily friendly strangers to judge your personal style, HGQRU looks like yet another fun fashion game.
Find out some more details about the contest on GQ’s website!
Image via GQ
It’s pretty obvious that fashion never stops, so it should come as no surprise that we’re already moving on to the next set of collections. Right on the heels of Resort 2014, the spring 2014 menswear collections are being shown. First up is London, whose week of unique expression and daring designs is rapidly expanding. I’d love to review each collection individually, but in the wise words of Sweet Brown, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” In more appropriate terms, here’s a summary of London Fashion Week for spring 2014 menswear.
Christopher Kane started off the week on a relatively mediocre note with a stark contrast to his wondrous womenswear. As Style.com’s Tim Blanks put it, the clothes seem like an afterthought. Some interesting elements from his ladies’ looks reemerged, but they did so in a much less exciting way, with uninspiring – and possibly uninspired – graphic prints. It didn’t help that the collection mostly consisted of basics. Men’s fashion certainly doesn’t have the popularity of its female counterpart, and Christopher Kane’s latest endeavor did nothing to change that.
Continuing London Fashion Week on a more positive note was Topman Design, whose creative director, Gordon Richardson placed an appealing emphasis on the shirts. I’m not really into anything cowboy-themed, but the urban edge to Topman’s Western-wear definitely saved the collection. Bold colors and metallics were intricately woven onto delicate silk, presenting a juxtaposition of youth and glamor instead of the belabored “cowboys and Indians” concept. Though perfectly styled, the pieces could also work well independently, as they show great potential for versatility. On the same day, Peter Jensen’s womenswear resort 2014 collection debuted alongside his menswear, which showed an obvious inspiration from Andy Warhol. The bright-colored, mod and pop art pieces effectively tied the men’s and women’s designs together through cheeky prints and unisex fabrics. Meanwhile, Astrid Andersen showed some Givenchy-esque garments with an urban, athletic feel, while Lou Dalton’s airforce-inspired gear presented a pleasing color palette. Richard Nicoll’s sober yet sensual collection for spring 2014 was another standout on this impressive day; any collection that starts with beautiful black leather has my heart. From there, more color emerged alongside provocative prints. Overall, Richard Nicoll’s spring 2014 menswear collection was made up of bold yet wearable items, and it’s one of my favorites of the season so far.
As the week progressed, we saw even more noteworthy work from London’s top designers. Sarah Burton always makes a statement at Alexander McQueen, this time with exceptional details highlighting the already top-notch tailoring. White lace and black roses told a story of “rites of passage,” from life to death and everything in between, while the materials appeared frayed and worn by the elements. Burton’s artistic reinterpretation of a dark Edwardian era further proves her capability of continuing Lee McQueen’s iconic legacy. Though not quite as intricate or thought-provoking as Alexander McQueen, Jonathan Saunders’ collection was practical and refreshing. A “techy” shine to upbeat colors added a jolt of liveliness to an otherwise basic collection. Another standout was Rag & Bone. Designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright returned home in London after regularly showing their collections in New York, bringing with them quite a spectacle; several lights and mirrors were coordinated by London’s United Visual Artists, the same group that arranges stage shows for U2. But let’s not forget about the clothes. Rag & Bone spring 2014 menswear was, as always, wearable and effortlessly stylish, though the implementation of Japanese sashiko fabric added a unique twist.
Joanna Sykes’ first menswear collection for Nicole Farhi implied clarity, and the show reflected the idea. Peace, serenity, and tranquility fueled the models’ light steps down the runway, with each turn providing a closer look, thus revealing modern texture. Speaking of modernity, there was no shortage of that at James Long, where sporty jackets and hoodies met loose shorts. We can’t forget about the stripes enhanced with bursts of color, which made many pieces reminiscent of the spectrum on a broken TV screen. Christopher Shannon took us to Mexico, packing a new approach to wild prints and loud colors, while Christopher Raeburn opted for more of a hand painted look to the pieces, as well as optimistic blue and pink counterparts.
Nothing says London more than Burberry Prorsum. Christopher Bailey made the decision to move his men’s presentation to London this season, further signifying the emphasis on British heritage that the brand is known for. Some of Burberry’s own heritage prevailed, as Bailey found yet another way to reinvent the iconic trench and other statement outerwear pieces. The theme of the collection was “Writers and Painters,” which was evident through the various colors and patterns often shown together on a single look. But there was nothing bad about these somewhat mix-matched ensembles; everything went together so perfectly to tell a story or paint a picture, just like the theme implied. Almost appearing as a mélange of fauvism, impressionism, and visual poetry, Christopher Bailey’s spring 2014 menswear collection for Burberry Prorsum delineated a wonderful work of art…of course with a charming British attitude.
Overall, London’s expansion of its menswear Fashion Week seems to be moving in the right direction, as the city is certainly teeming with talent. There’s never any shortage of creativity in the English capital, and spring 2014 is looking extremely promising for men. Looking forward to Milan and Paris in the next couple of weeks, there’s a lot to live up to; it looks like London set the bar pretty high.
Stay tuned for the rest of this season’s shows, and check out some of the most noteworthy looks from the latest London Fashion Week menswear presentations!
Feature image via LA Times
All other images via Style.com ; go to Style.com for full coverage of the spring 2014 menswear collections