FOR DECADES, THE MENSWEAR industry focused on making sales rather than fashion furor. As a result, stores were chock-full of wearable, salable clothes without much spunk. Then came the ’90s, complete with color, cache, Tommy Hilfiger, and Casual Friday. Suddenly, men were scouring the stores, shopping like the women on whom they had long depended for fashion advice. Men wanted versatility in their dress. They desired options. They demanded value. Ecstatic that their audience suddenly seemed to care about clothes, the menswear industry began responding with vigor. This spring, the excitement continues as menswear designers serve up a selection of strategies for the style-conscious gent. Here’s a look at some of the top trends defining the season.
Suited for Success
The newest suits this spring are guar-anteed to put men in tighter situations. In response to past seasons of shapeless, sportswear-minded suits, the newest suits take a more tailored twist. Instead of hiding the male physique like their baggy predecessors, these trimmer models enhance the wearer’s form. Silhouettes depend on subtler styling, slimming into the body to accentuate the shape, rather than recreate it-or hide it beneath loose folds of fabric. This spring, look for suits that nip neatly at the waist and narrow through the hips. Jackets with rounder, less broad shoulders curve around the torso. Trousers fall straight and narrow, tapering gently to brush the shoe.
For several seasons, menswear has been dominated by nubby neutrals. This season, the designers turn the color wheel in search of something more exciting. The result? Clothes in everything from dusty pastels to audacious primary brights. Color choices abound, but those fellows in search of the one must-have hue will certainly settle on a lively shade of blue. Best bets: Anything from sky-and pool-blue to turquoise and aqua,
Bring in the Browns
For years considered basic and boring, brown gets new appreciation as the most innovative neutral this season. Java lovers will relish the collection of freshly roasted shades designed to perk up even the quietest silhouette.
The Light Idea
Women have known for years that few colors state the spring season like pure white. Now, men join the white-out as the snow shade shows up on everything from shirts, shoes, and belts to linen pants, comfy tees, and casual suits,
NO NEED TO CRINGE AT THE TERM “SYN-thetic fibers” anymore. Unlike its slippery 70s predecessor, today’s man-made fabric is chic, rather than cheap-looking. Look for trendy nylon and polyester micro-fibers that combine fashion with function and show up polished to a high-gloss sheen, These blended fabrics grab color and hold drape, while resisting wrinkles and stains. Cutting-edge guys will appreciate the selection of satin shirts, sharkskin suits, and laminated denim.