One new trend a day adds up to a stylish week

SEVEN EASY PIECES

October 08, 1992|By Chicago Tribune

Men don't have to be intimidated when updating their wardrobes this fall. If they simply try one new trend a day, they'll be among the most fashion-forward in just one week.

Start with a tiny geometric print tie on Monday. The head-to-toe, monochromatic look Tuesday. Turn an ordinary Wednesday around with some plain-front pants. A new monk-strap shoe could jazz up Thursday. Finish off the work week with something made in one of fall's nubby new textures. And for Saturday and Sunday, a banded-collar shirt and a three-button sport coat.

But we're sure you'd like to know a little more about putting on and pulling off fall's sartorial seven, so here you go:

1. THE THREE-BUTTON JACKET: Regarding buttons on blazers: less is not more this fall. A three-button sport coat provides a longer, more slimming silhouette -- an English look.

Avid Anglophiles may even want to go one step -- or, in this case, one button -- further with a four-button sport coat.

The three-button sport coat works well with either dress pants or jeans. Yet shorter men may want to take a pass, warns Tom Julian, fashion director at the Men's Fashion Association in New York. "I'm a size 40 short and a three-button jacket throws me off balance," confides Mr. Julian, who measures in at about 5 feet, 5 inches. "Its elongated effect can overpower a shorter man, making it look as though he's left with hardly any legs."

2. MONK STRAP SHOE: Something you may remember from grandfather's closet, the monk strap shoe is enjoying a revival. This slip-on shoe offers the same support as an oxford lace-up but the comfort and ease of a loafer.

The monk strap shoe can be dressed up or down, although fine-tuning helps. Don't put shiny leathers or cordovan styles with jeans -- nubuck and suedes look best with casual clothing.

3. ARCHITECTURAL TIES: Say good-bye to artsy abstracts and conversational prints: Neckwear on the cutting edge this fall comes in neat geometric prints and teams up well with textured looks, say retailers. And rep-stripe ties continue to edge their way onto racks. Today's rep stripes are a little more radical with vividpurple, gold, and green hues repacing those conventional navy and burgundy combinations.

4. BANDED-COLLAR SHIRT: To tie or not to tie? With a banded-collar shirt, that is no longer the question. Part of the comfort revolution, banded collars (also known as mandarin collars) can be worn with suits or jeans, and pretty much everything in between. They look especially sharp with vests -- another hot item this season.

5. TEXTURE: Flat and smooth fabrics right now are a fashion faux pas. Texture runs the gamut from nubby to plush in ribbed turtlenecks, boucle sweaters, flannel shirts, tweed jackets and cashmere coats. A caveat to fellows with shorter and/or stockier physiques: Easy does it, texture can broaden you.

6. FLAT-FRONT PANTS: A look that hearkens back to the '50s, today's pleatless pants have a slightly higher waistband and more tapered leg. Flat- (or plain-) front pants look great with turtlenecks, but it's better to avoid bulky shirts. And flat-fronts look best on flat stomachs.

7. MONOCHROMATIC: Mens wear designers take a cue from women's wardrobes with one-color dressing. The monochromatic look shows up mainly in tailored apparel where neutrals, especially navy and gray, are big news.

Adopting a monochromatic m.o. makes for easier dressing. There's no need to fuss over contrasting colors and whether they coordinate.

Just match up similar shades such as charcoal, silver and gray.

When it comes to tonal attire, most menswear experts give neckwear a thumbs down, recommending a turtleneck or shirt sans tie when suiting up. But if you need that noose to show up at the office, keep it solid and simple -- nothing that overpowers the rest of your clothing.

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