Gents, though menswear changes slowly, this fall sees a real shift in shape and gives us a glimpse of the future – a future rooted in the past.
I walked around three very different stores recently to get a first-hand glimpse at what we’ve got available for options this season: philip, a locally owned menswear boutique in Toronto, The Bay, and Holt Renfrew. Get ready for the colour and texture of autumn, severe lines, shorter tops, and a heavy 1980s influence.
Philip Zappacosta, owner of philip in Toronto’s Hazelton Lanes, excitedly told me about his fall offerings, emphasizing colour and shape.
“We’re moving away from black,” Philip said, much to my delight, “This season, our focus is on a rich classic palette of burgundy, navy, brown, and grey.”
He showed me lovely merino wool piece-dyed v-neck sweaters in rich colours with new soft fall scarves (shown above). Also available this season are thin-waled stretch corduroys – perfect for movement and extra room if you have a second helping. Philip also carries awesome jackets with practical zip-out linings that are like two jackets in one.
New designs this season are stylish, soft-shouldered cloth jackets (some quilted!), excellent for warm layering, but a word of caution: these unstructured jackets look best on men who are in good shape and have some chest and shoulder. If your shoulders are narrow or you’re slim, a hard, squared shoulder will work better on you.
Shape changes: not for everyone
Tops, including layering pieces like sweaters and vests, are getting shorter – there’s the 80s influence again (let’s hope it doesn’t get too out of hand in seasons to come – images of Wham! float through my head ). These shorter tops are worn outside of the pant, taking the emphasis off on the belt and the cool buckles you have collected over the past 20 years.
Skinny suits, skinny pants, and skinny ties, demand slim, fashion forward fellows, so thin, stylish, and dare I say, dramatic men will delight to find the ultra slim suits Don Draper brought into our modern consciousness are going to their extreme – the razor-sharp peak lapels on the severely skinny suit by Black Brown 1826 could put out your eye, but is an affordable and stylish suit that any self-respecting Mod could wear with pride – available at The Bay!
Also at The Bay are a plethora of gorgeous velvet jackets – soft, sumptuous, and luxurious cotton velvet sports jackets are all over the place this fall and you’d be lucky to have one. But, some men should be legitimately afraid of this fabric – next post I’ll discuss velvet, its maintenance, and how to avoid damaging this fabric fit for kings.
Trousers in general are becoming extremely tapered, so larger men/men with muscle tone will do well keeping away from these cuts – stick with classic or relaxed fits.
We’ve been in flat front trousers for several years now (hey, even Dockers have jumped on the wagon), but pleats are on their way back. For those of you who have heard me complain about pleats, namely double pleats and full cut trouser legs that make the majority of men look dumpy, I want to say that it’s only a matter of time until the pleat returns – fashion is cyclical and nothing is new, just updated – welcome to the pleat’s new dawn.
I stood somewhat gobsmacked in Holt’s, staring at a mannequin decked out in a Dolce and Grabanna outfit consisting of a round-necked vest (that conjured horrible 1980s International Male catalogue images) and a matching trim cut, single pleated trouser. D&G are heavy into the 80s influence right now and though I mostly shudder at this, I’m glad they had the sense to update the trouser and work the pleat into a trim cut leg – not so bad!
When looking for new clothes in any season, fellas, be honest about your build. Are you large, slim, muscular, overweight, or short? Average and slight builds can pull off the fall’s extremes, larger men need a more ample clothing cut to breathe, move, and not look like they’re wearing a sausage casing.
Best advice? Slim on slim, relaxed cuts on average to large – proportion, proportion, proportion!