Monday, August 29, 2011

MENSWEAR FOR FALL? No freaking way!

I haven't looked at any fall trend previews yet. It's most likely because I hang onto the last vestiges of summer with the death grip of someone about to fall over a cliff. I'm the last to leave summer and the first to greet spring, which usually happens the second week of February like clockwork. As soon as the brighter, lighter clothes hit the stores, my brain tries to go on vacation.

I have to follow what's on trend each season because it's my job. I'm not a big trend follower personally because I pretty much know who I am style-wise and will only pick up on a trend if it fits in with my fashion personality.(This example of fashion personality is from a few years ago, but if you're unfamiliar with the concept, it's a good starting point.)

A huge pet peeve of mine is buying an item because it just happens to be in the store or it's trendy for a season. Haphazard purchases lead to "so many clothes and nothing to wear" syndrome - the bane of women, the men they seem to complain to, and wardrobe organizers everywhere. (Though, ironically, it's what keeps the huge fashion industry machine churning. Grrrr.)

So we all have to be careful to make smart purchases.

Having said that, if I hear that menswear is "in" for Fall 2011, I swear I will punch someone. Menswear is ALWAYS in for fall, just like bright colors are always trendy for spring. It's a no-brainer, but the fashion magazines need something to write about, so they tend to recycle the same "DUH" advice every year.

So why IS menswear a fall staple?

- It is associated with heavier fabrics, like flannel and tropical wool.

- Its purpose is to be layered.

- It tends to be dark - brown, camel, navy, tan and charcoal. Colors that seem as natural for fall as bright colors are in the summertime.

- Wider legs on menswear-inspired trousers can conceal knee-high boots or booties, especially for professional wear. Boots over jeans are fine for dressing casually, but a high boot over business casual pants isn't recommended.

Menswear styles are a great investment, especially if you wear business casual clothing to work.

Menswear is usually introduced with a few new tweaks every year. You want to make sure what you're buying is as timeless as possible. Here's what to watch out for:

- One year, a lot of pants were double-and triple-pleated, which are okay on tall, reed-thin models, but don't work so great on real world bodies. The same goes for high-waisted pants. Not the most universally-flattering. If a woman is even slightly curvy, they seem to turn her into a balloon. No fair!

- There was a year when double-breasted jackets and vests were in. I would always suggest single-breasted. Double-breasted garments can be like a funhouse mirror - and not the good kind that makes you look long and super-thin. Buyer beware.

Illustrating the funhouse mirror effect, we have Fat Albert and Weird Harold from his gang. Because it makes no sense whatsoever.

- Remember when trouser legs were extremely wide? 2005, perhaps? I happened upon a pair today in my closet. I've been hanging onto them for years. I've kept them around because they fit my fashion personality. I tend to like a little drama. But you have to know what body types they fit and the tricks to dressing around them (i.e., they're better if you have broad shoulders and you can't wear a bulky top or jacket with them or they will add visual poundage. Plus very high heels are a must if your height is short to medium. I'm even pushing the limits with my height, but I like 'em, so tough cookies.)


If we start paying attention to what the fashion pundits and magazines are telling us is in vogue season after season and if we know who we are fashion-wise, we will probably be able to build a wardrobe of classic, yet updated pieces, not spend a lot of cash, keep our closets from bursting at the seams, and always look and feels our best.

And that's all we really want, right ladies?

And if menswear isn't your thing? Eh, no big deal! Wear what makes you happy, comfy and what makes sense for YOU.

Unless it's white hi-top sneakers with cuffed jeans.

But then again, Fat Albert really isn't a paragon of fashion.

Dude, get out of my blog and go back to your junkyard.

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