It may be the Year of the Ram according to the Chinese calendar, but as far as men's fashion is concerned, 1991 is the Year of the Sport Jacket.
Make that the Year of the Bright Sport Jacket.
Some serious color -- yellow, red, teal and fuchsia -- is on the horizon, making a fast move as the weather takes a turn for the cold.
"The brighter and wilder they are, the better jackets are selling," says Joy Sandler, manager of Chicago's Gianni Versace store.
We know what you're thinking. Mom always said buy navy blue for versatility. But a bright sport jacket will give you just as much mileage as a neutral one and far more panache.
That's because bright sport jackets bridge the gap between dress apparel and casual sportswear. Color injects energy while the tailored construction is a nod to convention.
"My justification for wearing them [fancy sport jackets] is they make me feel like an entrepreneur," says 41-year-old Andrew Filipowski, owner of Platinum Technology. "When companies get bigger, people often try to get 'professional' which too often means risk avoidance. I like to be able to show up to a banker's luncheon in a blue and yellow sport jacket. It's a way of saying there are no limits in this country and it's important to stretch."
Here are a few ways to wear those brights:
* Relaxed -- over a T-shirt and jeans. Allows you to bum around
without looking like one.
* Clubbing -- for those who don't like leather, a fancy jacket solves the problem of what to wear to late-night haunts. Team it with a patterned shirt and solid pants.
* Creative black tie -- substitute a bright jacket with black dress pants in lieu of the traditional tuxedo. This makes it easy to be the life of the party -- with jackets like these, you don't have to be good at cocktail banter. They'll do the talking for you.