Menswear Brands Refine Their Looks

 Courtesy Realm and Empire

Menswear brands from around the world descended on New York this week to debut the new duds they’ll be offering this spring and next fall. Liberty, Agenda, and Capsule, the major shows, attracted everyone from the always cutting-edge Altru Apparel to Archival Clothing and plenty of boot-clad department-store buyers. Revolution may not have been in the air – great companies are refining the classics, not reinventing them – but a few welcome trends caught our eye.

Corduroy gets small.
Baby corduroy shirts were all over the place. Tailor Vintage had a soft-as-all-get-out flannel number that seemed eager to get into the woods, and Muskoka Dry Goods, the high-end Canadian brand, had a more refined version bound to nestle under a tweed jacket. The fabric’s rise seems to be the product of an industry obsession with thicker materials and blurring the line between cold weather inner layers and warm weather outer layers.

Dad shoes get weird.
Asics and New Balance have long made shoes designed to be worn with jeans, which is another way of saying the two massive brands are in the subtle sneaker business. They’ll keep making their big sellers, but both brands are also putting out more eccentric options. New Balance is releasing the boldly colored and bright “Made in England” line and Asics’ “Retro Running” line features neon accents and comes in a shiny black leather that demands a double take.

Naval accents get big.
The coats on display at the fairs owed a great deal to military detailing. Slash pockets get cut into rigid chests, and collars get ever higher and sharper. The brand set to ride this trend: Realm and Empire, a new import from England. Rather than just being inspired by military gear, the company finds the basis for its designs in the Imperial War Museums‘ archives. Just don’t tell them the peacoats are for sailors. In England, the aviators wore them first.