Looser, textured looks top men's fashion wishes for the fall

DRESSING COOL

August 22, 1993|By Joe Surkiewicz

With the approach of cool weather, most guys could use answers to three fashion questions:

* What should I wear to work?

* What should I wear after work?

* And what about weekends?

The answers can prove elusive in a world where fashion designers continue to blur the distinctions between tailored clothing and sportswear. Throw in grunge, monochromatic dressing and the resurgence of the English-country look . . . and a search through racks of clothes can be as much fun as an ordeal on racks of torture.

Safe to say, men who aren't ready to spend their lives in khaki pants and blue blazers could use some guidance before embarking on a quest for new duds.

That's why we asked five guys around town -- all discriminating dressers with a flair for the fashionable -- what they'd like to see hanging in their closets this fall.

Who knows? Their responses may reveal a thread running through this fall's threads.

For Baltimore interior designer John Stone, this fall presents an opportunity to indulge in the new attitude of casual elegance championed by the clothing gurus of Milan, Paris and New York.

"I like to mix patterns and textures -- paisley, stripes and plaids mixed with different textures," Mr. Stone says. "For example, a heavy textured sweater and slick, smooth slacks. It's a comfortable look -- and I like to do opposites."

When the weather turns cool, Mr. Stone pictures himself an updated version of the country gentleman. The look? An English-country motif that's not stuffy or professorial, with an emphasis on softer wools and a flattering silhouette. A look that is easy to put together.

"Men's fashions are going toward rich, muted colors like burnished gold, heather, olive greens and deep burgundies," notes Mr. Stone, 49. "That makes it easier to dress because you don't have to worry about matching colors. You blend them together."

Savas Koutsantonis, a physical therapist with a practice in Timonium, regularly jets to Europe and Miami to lounge in the sun -- and to check out the latest Euro-styles. The trips to fashion hot spots, he says, influence his fashion sensibility.

"I wear a lot of monotones -- basic, solid colors -- for a progressive and sophisticated look," reports Mr. Koutsantonis, 30. "I don't mix patterns, [and]things that are fitted just don't work for me. Loose clothing reflects my lifestyle. I exercise regularly and I like an athletic look."

His wish list for this autumn includes a black, loose-fitting suit that can be worn to the office yet will bridge the fashion gap between business wear and off-hours.

"I'd like something nice but casual -- a suit I could wear with a T-shirt or mock turtleneck," Mr. Koutsantonis says. Something like this: a black casual suit from Artifact New York that offers an unstructured jacket, big sleeves and pleated, baggy pants. Underneath? A Versace black wool sweater with a zipper reaching from midchest to the throat.

Marcellus Alexander, vice president and general manager at WJZ-TV, has an altogether different fashion dilemma on weekends: finding a black-tie style that falls somewhere between ho-hum and outre.

"To show creativity while being appropriately dressed is the objective," says Mr. Alexander, 41, who hails from Austin, Texas, and took over the reins at Channel 13 in 1989. "Everyone has the same basic black tux, but accessories can make the difference. After all, you are limited in the black-tie arena."

In other words, Mr. Alexander is on the lookout for eclectic formal 2/3 2/3 TC wear. "I saw a guy wearing a regular tipped tuxedo shirt with a brooch instead of a tie," he recalls. "It was clean, conservative and classy -- the kind of look I like."

For more creative evenings on the town this fall, Mr. Alexander pictures himself in a distinctive collarless tuxedo shirt worn with a silver-banded brooch at the throat. The tux? Christian Dior with a shawl-lapel jacket and a peg-leg baggy pant. "I just want to be appropriately dressed -- and show my individuality while having fun," Mr. Alexander says.

Washington Bullets guard LaBradford Smith is thinking Italian this fall -- specifically, a Giorgio Armani suit with a drapey fit that's so understated . . . it's bold. The fabric's fine, open tweed and the suit's relaxed shape create a look that's both urban and fun. With it, he'd team up a Versace tie as daring as a Picasso.

"I look at what's in fashion but I try to put everything into my own style," says the 24-year-old Mr. Smith, who just completed his second season with the Bullets basketball squad. "I like to blend things -- for instance, a plain suit coupled with a wild-looking tie. .. Most of my ties are very colorful and not at all conservative."

When it comes to fashion, Gregg Olson doesn't worry about bridging the worlds of work and play. On the job, he wears an O's uniform with "30" emblazoned on the back.

After the game, however, style decisions loom for the Orioles' all-time save leader (and the youngest pitcher in the major

leagues to reach 100 saves). This fall, Mr. Olson would like to put together a casual ensemble for crisp, cool weekends at home.

"I'm a fairly conservative dresser when I'm not on the road, so I'd like a new crew-neck sweater with a muted texture and earthy colors," he says. "With it I'd wear a T-shirt and jeans."

For trips to the woodshed and another armful of wood for the fire, Mr. Olson will need boots and a jacket.

"I've always wanted a pair of lizard-skin cowboy boots," muses the 27-year- old right-hander, "and a black leather bomber jacket with a detachable fur collar."

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