A fashionable force to be reckoned with

July 27, 2006|By TANIKA WHITE | TANIKA WHITE,SUN REPORTER

Pastels were in and so were white shoes. T-shirts and skinny ties were all the rage. Socks, on the other hand, were out, out, out.

The rule-busting costumes in the TV show Miami Vice set fashion trends for men like few other programs have and still affect fashion today.

"It's hard to overestimate the impact of the TV show in terms of fashion, and not just because it introduced the world to pastels and wearing shoes with no socks," says Tyler Thoreson, executive editor of Men.Style.com.

Now there's Miami Vice, the movie (out tomorrow), with Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx, two sexy, with-it stars.

But fashion experts predict the less rebelliously styled film won't have anywhere close to the impact the television show had.

"There's no comparison between the power of the fashion in the movie and that of the TV show," says Kelly Rae, fashion director of Stuff magazine.

Colors

Pastels in all shades were in for the '80s. Today's stylish man is comfortable wearing more color, but a periwinkle shirt on a vice cop isn't a good look. The movie's cops are dressed in much darker colors.

"There's no pastels here," says Sasha Charnin Morrison, fashion director at Us Weekly magazine. "But these two guys are so hot, does it matter if they even wear clothes?"

Shoes

In the '80s, James "Sonny" Crockett bravely ushered in a laid-back era of shoes with no socks. His partner Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs thought nothing of donning a pair of white lace-up shoes with dark socks. (Yikes!)

Today's stars skip the white shoes. And their socks (always there) are worn appropriately.

Physique Compare Farrell's bulging biceps with Don Johnson's fit, but relatively puny, arms.

"Fitness in America has changed," says Neal Boulton, editor-in-chief of Men's Fitness magazine. "In the '80s, if you were too fit you were a nerd, you were a gym rat. Don Johnson was averagely fit. And today that just wouldn't pass."

Hair

Tubbs had a Jheri curl. Crockett's hair was coiffed. Foxx wears his hair close and sharply edged, while experts doubt men will adopt Farrell's long, slicked-back look.

"It's hard to look at Colin Farrell and not think, `That guy's on his way to rehab,'" Thoreson says.

Suits

The 1980s show used lots of linen separates, and the lightweight look was heavy on Armani and Versace. Today's film has a more timeless, traditional feel. Tubbs' skinny ties and double-breasted Italian jackets are long gone. Oddly enough, shiny fabrics still seem to be in.

Accessories

Men didn't do accessories in the '80s. A smooth, open neckline was all you needed. Today's metrosexual-influenced detectives feel comfortable in jewelry (check out Crockett's various amulet necklaces) and hats (see Tubbs' woven fedoras).

On the other hand, "nothing complements a chic look better than the ultimate accessory, the perfect pair of shades," says sunglass company EOS New York's managing director, Mukul Lalchandani.

Nothing's changed there.

Trendsetting

Crockett and Tubbs made it OK for men to pair a suit with a collarless shirt, or with a collared shirt but no tie. White suits, no socks and rolled suit sleeves all became fair game because these two mavericks said so.

Today's movie may spark a movement toward Cuban guayabera shirts (Crockett wears lots), but there's little else really trend-worthy.

"These guys are not [shopping] at Men's Wearhouse," says Thoreson. "But they're also not at Barney's. It's not a fashion-forward look; it's just well put-together."

tanika.white@baltsun.com

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