Saturday, October 19, 2013

2013 Men's Fall Fashion Must Have and Keepsakes

Men's past fashion staples are back strong than ever in this fall's style line-up. Topcoats, plaid suiting, and brogue oxfords to mention a few are this year's "oldie but goodie" styles that have returned to men's fashion prominence. Although, for many men these things were never out of vogue, however I understand that its necessary to introduce them to the growing number of style newcomers that no nothing about enduring men's fashion.

Be perfectly clear, topcoats are not overcoats, although both are in the outer coat family; the topcoat
Banana Republic - courtesy of
is shorter (ending just above the knee) and of a lighter weight material than the overcoat. One of the most familiar and enduring styles of the topcoat is the Covert Coat. It first made its debut in England in the 19th century and was designed by tailors to be worn while horseback riding. Designers made the original silhouette no longer than 34 inches, with a straight down cut, two side slits and strapped or double sown seams. Though originally cut full, the style changed in 1883 when tailors redesigned the coat for a slimmer and more fitting aesthetic. a topcoat is best worn formally with a suit; however, its versatility still lends it to being paired with either jeans and a sweater, chinos and an oxford button down-collar shirt or a spread-collar dress shirt and gabardine trousers. In addition, topcoats come in a variety of colors and clothes; howbeit, the mainstays are wool and camelhair dyed in either tan, brown or black.
Unlike the topcoat, plaid suiting tends to be very trendy, in the 70's it was very popular, in the
Courtesy of
eighties it had a short life-span, and in the nineties it was totally off the radar. But, for some reason unbeknown to me  designers have made it popular again. Plaid cloth has been around for hundreds of years, it originated from a Scottish Highland design of cross-weaved wool patterns called Tartan. Although, people use the terms plaid and tartan interchangeable, they really have two different meanings. The word plaid is a ancient Gaelic word used to describe a long sash or blanket, while tartan describes a type of weave in which a weaver interlocks wool in a pattern of stripes horizontally and vertically. The misuse of the terms derives from weavers using tartan clothes to make blankets and subsequently overtime the two words became synonymously. Even though, there are more then 7000 distinct tartan patterns with all having specific ties to various families, communities and regions of Scotland, the most commonly replicated tartans by designers have been Royal Stewart, Hunting Stewart and Black Watch. plaid (Tartan) in suiting can range from light and almost indistinguishable to heavy and extremely pronounce.
Furthermore, plaids can be worn all year around, in the spring and summer you can find it printed or dyed plaids on madras, cotton, tropical wools, or linen; while, in the fall and winter you may find them woven or knitted of cotton or wool. There are five different versions of plaid pattern suiting you can buy each with distinct block sizes, line crossings and weaved shapes: windowpane, glen, checked, blanket, and houndstooth. Two things to keep in mind when wearing plaid (1) body size and check size coordination, basically if you're a big guy you should go with a small check such a the houndstooth or checked plaid, for the small guy the check size doesn't matter; however, go bold because plaids aren't for the timid in heart. (2) I suggest when wearing plaid you should always pair it with a solid color that is either prominent or low-key in the suit, the solid color helps to anchor some of the "busy-ness" of multiple colors. in addition, if you are more on the daring side and want to combine like or other patterns with your plaid suit, the general rule is to go from a big pattern to a small pattern to a solid.

Church's Shoes - longwing Brogues
If you have ever read my blog in the past, you would know that I have a men's shoes fetish and that in particular, I love English brogues. Like tartan the brogue derives from ancient Gaelic wear, the word brogue simply means "shoe". Brogues are rugged calf leather open-lace shoes and boots that come in perforated and serrated designs. Made by cobblers for the English countryside in order to contend with the rugged terrains and inclement weather, the brogue is the quintessential endurance shoe that's perfect for harsh falls and winters. They come in a variety of styles and degrees of sophistication, you can more commonly find them in one of either our fashions: full or half wingtip, monkstrap, captoe, and plain toe in either calf leather, suede or pebble grain. Brogues are a great complement to chinos, denim, and heavy-weight trousers such as cords, flannels, and tweeds. Keep in mind that brogues are pretty sturdy and hefty and they should be paired appropriately mostly with sports clothing (not athletic!) sports coats, blazers, denim, tweeds, flannels, Polo's, oxfords etc.

In closing, its good to see when fashion trends make sense; topcoats, plaid suits, and brogues have always been staples in the wardrobes of men with discerning style and taste. I think its meaningful that today's designers are introducing these styles and fashions to a new generation of men with quality taste. Men's fashion is going through a renaissance and I hope it puts an end to baggy clothes, baseball caps, extremely large belt buckles, rope chains, and sneakers being worn outside of athletic activity.

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