A young woman from the South offers her take on men’s hair in the Pacific Northwest:
Guest Blogger Krystyn offers her take on men’s fall fashion:
Fashion is very deeply influenced by the culture that surrounds it. Being a country of luxury and individualist tendency, American fashion ultimately follows suit. For men, the Fall 2015 runway pulled from all the hot topics that you’ve likely followed in the media, including (in my interpretive opinion): Fifty Shades of Grey, gender fluidity, a shift from form fit to loose and more inclusivity to different body styles, hip hop culture, and the persistent fixation on anything Retro. This lineup was interesting, to say the least, but not completely unwelcome.
Dark greens and any and all hues of grey are the colors of the season (money and sex – 50 shades allusions, anyone?), and for men, these are always classic! The colors themselves are reminiscent of the changing seasons, and always find their place among fall lineups, but to be seen in such heavy focus is refreshing and sexy (considering my interpretation of their inspirational origins), especially in men’s fashion, as both are almost universally flattering. Despite my personal proclivity for money and sex, I do absolutely think that the focus on grey has everything to do with our nations’ obsession with the infamous book series that brought taboo sex to the suburbs! I, for one, could not be happier about this. We do not live in the fifties anymore; please do introduce some of that subculture into the mainstream so everything does not have to be SO shocking and offensive! While you’re wearing your grey trousers, don’t forget that silver tie…the ladies will automatically tune in to that channel mentally.
Oversized fit was quite common on this line, as well this year. Where we have usually opted for a closer fit in male clothing, high fashion has integrated “street” styles with baggy trousers, and oversized – even slouchy – overcoats. While designers were rumored to be channeling the days of Zoot suits (prohibition nostalgia, anyone?), the end result simply appeared sloppy. While I cannot speak for everyone, I do not prefer a man in baggy, slouchy, or otherwise oversized clothing. A man who looks as though he put minimal effort into his look, I assume will be equally lackadaisical in his relationships…and in even more personal areas.
That being said, I do give props to designers for what I believe to be their attempt at making fashion more body-inclusive, albeit a far-fetched and narrow attempt through oversized structure, but the attempt is there, and that is a start. Men, as women, come in a variety of body sizes and shapes, none superior to the other and all more than deserving of a unique and polished style. It is no longer an obsessive trait of the fashion industry to design for waif thin models or perfectly square male physiques. Runways are often over-exaggerated versions of reality, so the outlook is bright for greater acceptability of different body forms.
One cultural shift that I did not expect to have such an immediate influence was androgyny or gender fluidity. Of late, more and more individuals are ditching the ridged constraints of masculine or feminine and experimenting with elements of style from both camps! This is quite revolutionary in our modern culture, where sexism and conformity are ironically rampant, considering our vehemence on “freedom.” The fall lineup for men boasted one-piece suits (‘jumpers/rompers’ as we ladies know them), in a variety of colors and materials, and accessorized with ties, belts, and even button down shirts (worn underneath) to help personalize the look. The color-block fad that invaded women’s lines several seasons ago has also made a reemergence in male fashion this season; with large square patterns and mixed media embellishments. Interestingly, both of these gender neutral adaptations, as well as the Shearling obsession in this fall lineup (which I refuse to acknowledge, because it is overdone and horrid in my opinion) also have roots in the Boho trend that incorporates seventies/hippy-era elements into womenswear. Perhaps this is an indication of what’s to come next for the guys?
It should be nothing less than interesting to see what men on the street do with the trickle down from the runways. If we can make these staples sleek and classy, this fall will be on point! Nevertheless, we should all find solace in the fact that our culture is moving toward greater freedoms and focuses on equality, and communicating those themes to the masses not only in media, but in the ways we style and represent ourselves. You must BE the change you wish to see in the world, right?
For more on men’s fashion and the gentlemen’s lifestyle, follow @SterlingGent
Guest posts are welcome — get in touch on twitter and we’ll talk!
Reader K offers her views on men’s fragrance, including some recommendations to ensure you’re a great smelling man who impresses…
Mens fragrance can be a tricky business. Too often merchandisers over masculinize the scent, or make it more powerful than necessary. Of course, this opinion can be biased, due to the fact that women actually have more cells in the olfactory bulb (the area of the brain responsible for smell). Fun fact: the sense of smell was the first sense to evolve, and as such, our sense of smell is the most connected sense to our memories.
That being said, men be wary when selecting your signature fragrance; women are hard-wired to use sense of smell as an indication of mate preference as well You’re making much more of an impression than you may be aware of!
The trend for male fragrance seems to fall between three primary themes: clean, spicy, and sporty. I’m not sure if this opinion is widely held, but for me and my olfactory receptors, this is it. I prefer clean and sometimes sporty scents, but it has to be subtle. Too much of anything, even a good thing, is an instant mood killer. Victorias Secret Very Sexy Platinum is one that I dislike, but had to learn the hard way. The brand took the classic sultry/musk undertones and attempted to apply it to a masculine sport cologne, and it just did not work for me. It seems to be an evening attempt at an athletic/masculine scent, but the result is overpowering. The original, Very Sexy for Men was great. It’s very clean and overall unobtrusive; so that I would recommend for an evening choice, because there is a little more strength to the scent (likely due to the company’s roots in women’s’ fragrance, and their tendency to be ironically strong), so it should last without choking out your company.
If you are a fan of sporty colognes, one that is often overlooked and definitely under-appreciated is the original Issey Miyake: L’eau d’Issey. To me, it perfectly combines the clean, fresh aroma of something like Acqua di Gio but with just the right amount of spice to set it apart in a more athletic/sporty direction. The product is described as including essences of verbena, sage, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and saffron. The ingredients are each intense, but together with other trace elements, it is perfectly subdued but definitely pleasantly unique.
Another that has not garnered much attention, but I highly recommend, would be Yves St. Laurent: L’Homme. It is woody and fresh in the most refreshing way. Some men worry about woody and fresh edging too close to the florals they are accustomed to with womens perfumes. This is not at all the case with this scent. It is the perfect day time fragrance for a man who pays careful attention to his image and personal style, and I would even go as far as to say a man who spends time with people regularly because it is so inviting. L’Homme is as pleasing as mens cologne goes, and I would say fairly neutral in terms of the undertones.
One thing is for sure: You absolutely cannot sacrifice quality when it comes to mens fragrance. Drug store or department store adaptations are not created equal. Men so often make the mistake of buying body spray or imitation colognes to be budget conscious, but the difference is apparent. Cheaper colognes do not have the same quality ingredients, so the fragrance (if not completely butchered) is lackluster at best and has a tinge of sharpness, likely from filler or artificial components, that is completely unwelcome. Likewise, the scent itself does not last as long as higher quality alternatives, nor may it stay true to the original essence or intended fragrance as it combines with the body’s natural oils. Trust me guys, your lady will appreciate you taking the time and care to find your signature fragrance, and a man who prefers quality will always attract quality!
SG says: K’s advice is sound — you don’t want your cologne to announce your arrival… or to arrive before you do. You DO want your cologne to invite closeness and to leave a fond memory.
MORE ON MEN’s FRAGRANCE:
For more on the gentleman’s lifestyle, follow @SterlingGent