Autumn THREADS FOCUS ON FASHION

August 30, 1998|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,SUN FASHION EDITOR

This fall, men can have it all - clothes made of cashmere, leather and suede, easily cut with elegant details, that hit many notes. There are suits that show they care - but not too much. Sweaters and trousers that bring together the classic and unexpected. Activewear that works in the office.

But for them, dressing is hardly simple these days. The lines continue to blur - retro looks modern, jackets aren't required for 9-to-5, and power isn't conveyed through a red tie. Instead, it's a subtle, sophisticated thing that requires thought and not just a -- corporate uniform.

All this may force men to confront something unimaginable - their innate style. But for the timid, designers are providing plenty of guidance.

Think gray, they say. Let the military inspire you. Try a vest with that suit. And whatever you do, don't forget a good coat.

What to look for

If a man is only buying one new piece this fall, here's what area fashion experts recommend:

Patti Cumming, regional public relations director for Bloomingdale's in Washington: A leather jacket. "Casual dress calls for a leather jacket, casual coat or car coat that is sporty."

Edward Steinberg, owner of J.S. Edwards Ltd. in Pikesville: A three-button suit in silk or gabardine. "It's less tailored, less structured, but it's dressy enough to wear with a tie."

Delgardo Darby, owner of Firma on North Charles Street: A three-button, lightweight wool suit in gray-brown. "Men want to dress up again."

Nancy Chistolini, senior vice president for fashion and public relations at Hecht's: A merino wool crew-neck sweater in black or charcoal gray. "It looks wonderful under a sport jacket or can be used solo."

Howard Kirk, store director of George Howard Ltd. in Cross Keys: A wool cashmere sport jacket by Italian menswear designer Luciano Barbera. It should have three buttons and be a subtle tweed in a muted earth tone. "It's understated but elegant."

Edward Hyatt, co-owner of Hyatt & Co., which has stores in Columbia, Owings Mills and Security Square Mall: A fingertip-length coat by Hugo Boss in gray or olive. "It's dressier than a typical parka, but not as dressy as a trench coat."

Elizabeth Azrak, men's fashion coordinator for Macy's East Coast Division: The turtleneck in colors ranging from charcoal, navy and black to white, burgundy and rust. "It's the key underpinning of the season - clean, elegant, sophisticated."

Mark Schaaf, East Coast lead fashion stylist for Nordstrom: A gray suit updated in a modern three-button silhouette or three-piece suit with a vest. "Interesting and luxurious fabrics ... and traditional haberdashery pinstripes reinterpreted with an offbeat sapphire stripe also instantly update the classic gray suit."

Richard Cohn, owner of Brooks Oliver in Columbia: A three-button suit in a mid-weight wool by Calvin Klein. Most men have grays and blues, so olive is a good choice. "It's very clean, basic. ... You look nice but not overdone. The fabric makes it."

Lynne Montedonico, public relations and fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase: The double-vented suit or sport jacket. "It is so new. We haven't seen double vents in a long time."

Pub Date: 8/30/98

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