Friday, August 8, 2014

Men's Fashion

Be honest, if you're reading this your man is not the best dresser or maybe he is the worst. Dressing well doesn't take as much effort or time in the stores as men seem to think. Whether you are 25 or 65, putting together a great look can be simple, painless, and even comfortable.

When you are trying to help someone dress better and they are reluctant with the change or particular about every piece you bring forward, start with the basics; a nice shirt, sweater, and a pair of pants go a long way. Once you get the easy stuff out of the way, men usually ease up their concerns and take more help when they know you're not going to make them look like a crazy bum on the street or circus model.

Here are simple looks that are also easy to tweak for style, fit, and color:

The first look is Polo Ralph Lauren. The pullover Pima cotton sweater is comfortable, easy fashion, that you can pair with chino pants, denim jeans, slacks, or even shorts and cargos. It is a very effortless look that can easily be dressed with a blazer or overcoat for an evening out or social gathering. Underneath, just pick a basic long sleeve button up sport shirt or dress shirt for the collar and cuffs to be an extra color and statement piece. This is easy too because most men look excellent in a classic white or baby blue shirt; these two colors complement most any man and skin color, whether he has blue eyes, green, or brown. The other benefit is either color is multipurpose so it will for certain be a staple piece for other wardrobe ideas.

Next is a casual male outfit with properly fitting denim jeans, a nice belt, tucked in long sleeve button up again in white or baby blue, and a soft neutral sport jacket. This is another great look for any age because great fits look great on every man; and jeans and a simple, clean shirt are basic must haves for every man's closet. For the jacket, sometimes older men prefer to be a little more dressed up even for casual affairs so swap the tan or taupe for a navy blazer and don't roll the cuffs. The jacket will still look excellent on any skin color or frame size, and it's very easy to put together. There are no crazy colors, silly accessories, and it's multifunctional. Again, sticking with basic staple items means it is easy to convert a man into better style and using those same pieces over again with slight modifications here and there like different pants, shoes, or different color shirts. You don't need to pull out eight copies of Vogue and scare him half to death with the way the young models are being dressed today. These looks are for every man, nearly every occasion, other than formal affairs, and any age.

Here are two great casual looks for everyday wear. The first is another simple pull over V-neck Henley sweater that is a lighter weight cotton and obviously less dressed up. Underneath, all you need is a white t-shirt and some darker khaki pants to pair with. The color of the Henley long sleeve doesn't even matter, but navy is always a good all-around color most men won't disagree with and anyone can pull it off.

Underneath is a look composed of darker wash jeans, rolled at the bottom but still fitting properly in a straight leg cut, a dark corduroy jacket, and a Polo Ralph Lauren shirt from fall 2013. The shirt may not be everyone's style but notice the colors and the contrast they make to the jacket and darker denim. If you don't like stripes or those colors, stick with again navy or blue tones since they do make a nice choice with any coat color. The mix of reds, blues, and yellows, here offers a nice choice of contrast and added substance. Some men, especially a little older, like a pale yellow with brown jackets which will provide a clean look and appropriate contrast as well.

For formal looks, I like these options for most any man of any age because they are very well put together, and with the right fit, would make a terrific suit on anyone:
On top we have an old fashioned yet gorgeous black suit with a light grey vest underneath, black tie, and white dress shirt. Everything is simple, clean cut, fits well, is classic and elegant, and tailored to fit right. Everyone can pull of this look and this ensemble does work well for formal occasions including business dinners and weddings. If it is a black tie affair add some nice cufflinks, a pocket square, and swap for a bowtie if you must, but this look is perfection.

Next, is a suit that is a little more bold for some because of the stripes and separate patterns. Two different prints can go together if you do them right and one does not overbear the other. The grey pinstriped suit complements the colors of the silver and blue spotted tie nicely, and the perfectly folded white handkerchief in the pocket is a nice little break up of pattern as well. Simple things make the biggest differences while also keeping the outfit subtle as to not take away from the dashing appearance from the suit. Add a nice watch in silver or black; you don't need any other accessories other than a tie clip as shown which also is a subtle finish. The suit should stand out on its own with the tie, so adding flashy accessories only takes away from the beauty of the set.

For men willing to open up and be a little more daring, here are a few other outfits you can make your own:

Notice on the white suite the sky blue jacket for nice color and the tan belt for contrast from the white on white shirt and slacks. Also the Burberry scarf above is a simple, handsome accessory for many wardrobe compilations.

If you have a very casual male or younger style to dress, here are some great examples of mixing the right items together:

As you can see, great fashion isn't hard, you just have to start putting some pieces together and find the right core items for your wardrobe that can be used anytime of year with most any other selections. Remember fit is also extremely important so make sure your man finds the right fit for him that is comfortable and feels appropriate for his age and body type.

Jennifer Larson is a Men's Polo Ralph Lauren Specialist in California for Macy's and Ralph Lauren.