Fall fashion in three words? Tough and tailored. The look for guys this fall is modern, minimalist and a bit dark. With a strong emphasis on clean, slim-fit suits and high-quality leather jackets, pants, and accessories, men’s fashion is well-tailored with a rock-star edge.
You don’t have to follow fashion trends to look stylish and put together this season because MensFitness.com followed did it for you. Here is a quick snapshot: Black dominated the runways with knee to full-length black trench and dress coats and black or deep navy tailored, lean, double-breasted and three-piece suits. What colors popped out of the black? Jalapeno reds, cobalt blues, burnt oranges, and golden yellows—and there was also a resurgence of plaids. Cozy favorites like roll-neck cableknits and knitted jackets were everywhere. Here are the basic clothing staples you should have in your closet for fall 2012 to make looking put-together easy.
1. The leather jacket Whether you own one or not, it’s time to leather up. You can go for the badass zippered, studded or quilted look. Try the slim, tailored, button-down blazers (real leather or polyester) from designers such as Calvin Klein. The new twist? Belted leather trench coats. Contrast sleeve faux leather sportcoats and coated denim can also give you the ‘skinny’ look without the leather. Style advice: Replace your suit jacket with a leather one for a look that the ladies will dig.
2. The two- or three-piece suit A slim-cut tailored suit is the rock of any man’s wardrobe. A good suit can last seasons, and can easily mix with what you’ve already got. Now is a good time to invest in either a double-breast (db) or a three-piece. Out of vogue for a while, the db is making a strong comeback. The trick is making sure the suit fits; this style is not to be worn big, or you’ll look heavy. The best colors to consider? Gray, dark navy or black. The lighter the color, the less formal it appears, which may be the feel you’re after. Right now there is also a strong resurgence of the three-piece, primarily because the vest adds another layer of interest, smartening up your look. Wearing the vest minus the jacket is picking up in popularity.
3. The sweater A staple of cold weather, the cozy knit was all over the Fall 2012 runways. Consider this piece your chance to play with bright colors. A roomy orange or blue open weave cable-knit works perfectly with everything from suit pants to jeans. You can stick to crew styles, but roll-neck and shawl collars are trendy right now. Stripes and grid patterns in vibrant colors such as black-and-red look great on their own or under suit jackets. Something else to consider: the argyle sweater. Once solely associated with socks, the diamond pattern is popping up everywhere. And then we can’t not mention the knitted jacket. More popular than ever, jackets made out of sweaters are a hip alternative to the cardigan. Note: Add a tie in a knit or textured fabric to play up the softness of any sweater. For a high-quality and cool-looking sweater, try the Ask Chunky Knit made from lambswool (pictured above) from Helly Hansen.
4. The indigo blue dress shirt Often referred to as a workman’s shirt, the denim-like piece is moving out of its working class stereotype. Similar to real denim, there is little that doesn’t look good with this shirt. Dress it up with a slim tie and suit, dress it down with jeans or corduroys. Like your favorite denim, this shirt looks dressier in a darker color, so lighter blues can be trickier to pull off. While nothing beats a crisp white dress shirt for a job interview or a black-tie event, consider the spread collar indigo blue dress shirt your wingman for everything else.
5. The oversize outer jacket Winter is drafty, full of precipitation and cold temps; a man must seek protection from the elements. While bright anoraks, camel dress coats and trench coats are staples that one needs and should have, you have other fun options this season. Want to look chic and well-read? Try one of the sharply tailored gray wool herringbone jackets with high necklines and peaked lapels. Want to be ready to face a blizzard? Grab a tan or burgundy wax-coated, fur-trimmed parka. Feeling the British-style invasion? Go for military-inspired long black jackets with brass buttons.
6. The corduroy pant Everyone loves their jeans; witness your closet. This fall season it’s time to break out the cords. You remember them; similar to jeans, they go with pretty much everything. Depending on their color, they go from super casual to night out. Right now the hottest colors are burgundy and jalapeno red. You’ve also got the neutrals — tans and browns — for everyday use. One last thought: The thicker the ribbing, the more casual the look, with pin cords being the flyest of the bunch.
7. The black dress shoe Your father owned a pair, and for good reason. The black dress shoe is simply the shoe that has the most wearability. Elegant and timeless, the lace-up black oxford is a must have. It’s the simplicity of the style, the minimal detailing, that really gives the shoe’s leather a chance to shine. While you can find this shoe in every price range, splurging on the best leather you can afford makes a difference.
8. The scarf Perfectly on trend for the last two seasons, the scarf isn’t going anywhere (but on you). Not only does it keep your stubble warm, it can be a statement that says: I’m not afraid to show a little personality. Look for a scarf with a strong pattern in muted colors like sand or camel, or go for simple patterns with bold colors like red and orange. Wear your knit loosely wrapped or completely open.
9. The briefcase There’s really no excuse for carrying your wallet, iPhone and keys in your pockets any more. The briefcase is back, and better than ever. In smooth or textured leather, the black or neutral hued bags have rounded edges with one single flap, with either one or two buckle closures. Not your dad’s briefcase, these bags are anything but boxy and usually have cross-body straps, which aren’t always made of the same material.
10. A bit of Britain To claim that the Olympics, the TV hit “Downton Abbey” and the royal family haven’t affected us across the pond would be, well, rubbish. It’s the same for fashion. The Brits have been particularly hard influencers during 2012. Plaids, herringbones and tweeds have been turning up on trousers, shirts, ties … even on shoes and pageboy caps! It would be hard to ignore the cross-check plaid and Glen plaid suits and sportcoats, as well as details such as the resurgence of pocketsquares and bowties. The overall result of this British-style invasion? A smartened-up look. Start slow with a herringbone or tweed jacket, then work your way up to a plaid shirt or cross-check sportcoat.