Jean shorts, flip flops with socks, and a 20-year-old tee-shirt with the logo of a rock band that no longer exists. Seriously? Guys, you can do better than that. We’re just now beginning to make our tentative moves outside the house, socially distancing of course with masks. You’ve been in the house for too long. You’ve become accustomed to pajama days and quarantine beards. It’s time to kick it up a notch for a fun, stylish summer.
I asked some of the most fashionable guys I know how men are paying more attention to their looks this summer, kicking their style up and making their own personal fashion statements. For me, I’m still not going out much except for my daily dog walks, but when I do so, I stroll through the neighborhood in a pair of tan brogues, sports jacket with a pocket square, and a wide-brimmed straw hat. And yes, even though I’m an old guy, I will still get some approving looks from the ladies as they pass by. Or maybe they’re just looking at my Boston Terrier, I don’t know.
I talked to actor Michael James Nuells, who said, “Men`s fashion should be fun! It also should be just as sexy, interesting, and unique as women`s fashion! For men to kick up their fashion a few notches, they should always be sure to keep adding items to their closets that will truly take their wardrobe to new heights. Many of these fashion items include turtlenecks, tailored suits, blazers, boots, duffle bags, fitted jeans/shorts, classic dress shoes, sunglasses, casual jackets, etc. Not only should men have all or a mix of these fashion items, but it`s important to have them in different colors/styles whenever possible. When men find items that work for their body types and skin tones, they should certainly buy a few of these. Men being able to mix & match these items to create multiple fashion statements will go a long way for their confidence, style, self-esteem, etc. NEVER should men feel as though their fashion needs to be kept simple or boring! Fashion should be just as important & exciting to men as it is for women…when you look great, you FEEL even greater!”
I’m with you on that point, Michael. Even if I’m only out walking my dog, it still makes me feel good to do so with a little flair.
I love shopping at Barneys New York, and my new friend Kitty Nguyen, a former VP there, recently founded Semifinalist, a great online collection of luxury to-go items for everyday wear. Kitty has a wonderful collection, including some colorful pocket squares, and if you’ve been following me at all, you know I have a pretty good collection already. Kitty says, “I spent the bulk of my career in menswear. An item that can boost a look in less than 5 minutes and is frequently ignored: a pocket square. Before you roll your eyes and think ‘fussy and overwrought’, take a peek. There is a reason for that chest pocket! Consider it a quiet nod of attitude, especially when worn breezily dressed-down. There’s nothing better to complete a summer outfit”.
And while you’re checking out pocket squares, pay a little more attention to your shoes for a great summer wardrobe. Ladies aren’t the only ones who love ‘em, and I have a closetful. I never leave home without a nice pair of brogues or my favorite black Italian Oxfords. (Don’t tell anyone, but I have more shoes than my wife does!)
Ajmal Dar, the founder of Moccasin Guru, has some great shoe advice for guys: “Men’s shoes can be timeless classics, high fashion or a real statement piece. For me, the hero of any outfit is my shoes. I believe as a basic all men should have good quality classics: Loafers, Brogues, Oxfords, Balmoral, and Chelsea Boots. These are the staple of a shoe cupboard and well worth the investment. To crank it up a bit looking for the classic styles in unique colors. For summer casual I tend to go with either a Ralph Lauren deck shoe or the Gucci white tennis shoe. Both shoes ooze style and although pricey, I know will never go out of fashion.”
Another unfortunate trend I’ve seen especially among younger people is ignoring the watch as a piece of men’s jewelry. It seems that younger people don’t wear watches anymore, which is a shame. Sure, you can tell the time by just saying “Siri, what time is it,” but a good watch is more than a timepiece, it’s a fabulous piece of men’s jewelry that adds just the right touch to your outfit. Brooklyn-based Black-owned watch brand, DAEM, has recently collaborated with The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat to bring you three unique watch styles – each encompassing one of Basquiat’s famed pieces.
Each watch is designed in Brooklyn and made by expert watchmakers in Switzerland. Purposefully designed, each watch adds a touch of style and a sense of luxury to any outfit – the staps are also interchangeable so you can color block effectively.
Big mistake men make is thinking they need to dress plainly, and Joe Flanagan, founder of 90s Fashion World, a blog about fashion, entertainment and culture of the ‘90s, says “The most common mistake amongst men is that they play it too safe and this results in a boring, plain, monochrome wardrobe. The key is to imbue your looks with character. If you like color, play around with different palettes until you find one that suits your skin tone and coloring. Once you have two or three colors that you like and look great on you, build upon your basic monochromes by adding items that are colorful and fun, like a neon athletic jacket, a summer printed pair of shorts, and so on. If the color is not your thing, you can go minimal. Maintaining the monochrome but simplifying your wardrobe is also a major statement. Avoid brands, go for undetailed outfits, and loose fits. Keep it high quality and try Asian styles like kimono and kendo pants for a cool twist.”
Dan Blacharski is editor-in-chief of TheVivant.com.