Personal Style Versus Runway Fashion
By Joshua Condon for Style + Tech For Men
Every season, fashion magazine editors grapple with sartorial one-upmanship, racing to declare that a runway look is the next big thing. The result? We’re made to believe that some pretty unflattering looks are in fashion. Just think of trucker hats and oversized belt buckles. …
Our advice: No matter how much press some new fashion trend garners, if you can’t see yourself still rocking it in five years’ time, take a pass. In that spirit, we’ve picked out five fall trends that can work for anyone, and five that are more hype than hip.
Try This: Camouflage
Hunting- and military-inspired gear has been popular for years now, with actual camo-decked pieces now popping up at fashions shows — such as Gant by Michael Bastian — and in notable street-style blogs, in the shape of pocket squares, hats and cargo pants. Just remember, as with any bold pattern, camouflage works best sparingly — as an accent.
Try This: Hiking Boots
Thick or lug soles are not for every type of shoe (see our “Don’t” section below). But thick-soled hiking boots pair with everything from jeans and cool-weather slacks to suits made from heavier materials like tweed and wool — something labels like Ralph Lauren and Moncler showed frequently on the fall show runways. For a pair with serious heritage, check out Danner from Portland, Ore. — and make sure to add some red, green or blue laces for a bit of color.
Try This: Double-breasted Everything
Double-breasted suits and sport coats have slimmed down since the bulky, wide-shouldered Wall Street power-broker days, and the look will be everywhere this fall. Suits, blazers, outerwear: Everyone from Zegna to Native Son showed some variation of the look — with the most popular being the cropped, soft-shouldered DB sport coats, like this one from Rugby Ralph Lauren.
Try This: Cargo Pants
These aren’t the baggy Abercrombie versions of the ’90s. On the runways and on editors milling around the shows in Milan and Paris, slim-cut versions showed up as suiting and as relaxed (but still tailored) pants dressed up with monk straps or made casual with sneakers. Check out this twill pair from L.L. Bean Signature .
Try This: The Color Brown
Whether you’re talking suiting (Ralph Lauren, Zegna), outerwear (Burberry Prorsum) or accessories (Billy Reid), a rich chocolate-brown is one of the stand-out colors of the fall. Just make sure the design is modern so you don’t slip into the nondescript teddy-bear-brown suits favored by ex-President Ronald Reagan. A little color helps here too. (Hint: Nothing pairs with a chocolate-brown suit quite like a deep-blue gingham shirt.)
Skip This: Sweatpants as Evening Wear
Fashion-y types have been heralding the dawn of the elegant sweatpant — luxe, tailored versions with high-end materials — shown by hip labels, like Band of Outsiders. There’s only one problem: No matter how well-cut and expensive the pants are, you’re still wearing sweatpants to the cocktail bar. Don’t be the male version of the late-’90s chick decked out in chenille sweatpants with “Juicy” written across the booty. You can’t pull it off.
Skip This: Lug-sole Dress Shoes
Functional footwear requires the stability of a lug sole; wingtips and lace-ups, not so much. Yet despite the fact that office-worthy shoes shouldn’t be built for trekking up a large slab of rock, lug-soled dress shoes were seen frequently both on and off the runway during the fall fashion shows. These thick-soled mash-ups seemed to be aiming for a touch of Dr Martens London punk, but instead suggested your grandmother’s orthopedic shoes. When it comes to more formal footwear, lug soles are not a flattering look. Stick to slim and sleek.
Skip This: Backpacks in the Workplace
Don’t get us wrong; backpacks are indeed back. (Pun intended.) There are plenty of cool and functional over-the-shoulder examples from the high end (Seirs Marschall for J.Crew Men’s Shop ) to the low (JanSport Heritage ). But remember: They are for off-duty weekend and gym times, not the office. No matter what the fashion editors have hanging from their backs, no one is going to take you seriously if you walk into a meeting looking like an overgrown fourth-grader. Briefcases, old-school or new, still rule the modern workplace.
Skip This: Surf Punk
Fashion editors are all over Rick Klotz’s surf punk-inspired Warriors of Radness line, as it seems to capture some fleeting hipster zeitgeist. No one, however, seems to be bothered by the fact that this has led to drop-crotch harem pants with Zubaz prints. If you are a) an actual surf punk; or b) a street-style hipster who likes tank tops and copious amounts of neon, you’ll find some cool pieces here. But if you’re wearing this stuff because you read some gushing review in GQ or Details, plan to walk around looking like the worst kind of fashion victim.
Skip This: Invisible Tie
You may have seen this look on some wispy actor walking down the red carpet at a movie premiere. He’s got on a suit or sport coat, button-front shirt and no tie … and yet, the top collar button is securely fastened. It’s sometimes called the “invisible tie” look and has been frequently used on the runway by brands like Shipley & Halmos and Dolce&Gabbana. It is often described in magazines as “elegant” or “streamlined.” In reality, though, it just makes you look like an anal-retentive nerd. If you’re not wearing a tie, open your collar.
Photo Credit: @iStockphoto.com/quavondo
Joshua Condon is a lifestyle writer based in Los
Angeles. He runs the Exhaust Notes blog for MSN Autos and is a contributor for
Inc. Technology. He frequently contributes freelance articles
covering fashion, entertaining, food and spirits, travel and technology.