All Summer 16: Top Trends for Men’s Style

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 11.56.01 AMAs you probably noticed by now, this summer is going to be a hot one. According to Accuweather and predictions from federal organizations like NOAA, there will be more 90 degree days on the calendar than usual and drought in some parts of the country. So, staying cool is a must. Both literally and figuratively.

 

Speaking of cool, looking your best is certainly one way to make sure of that. As guys, we don’t put too much thought into trends, per se. It’s usually the fit and the feel that’s most important. But if you do want to know what’s popping this year, as in, what to look for in stores or in your closet, and have the confidence to know it’s in season, this blog is for you.

 

  1. Not So Summer Colors
    One would think that yellow or orange would be the focus for the season. Not really. Designers are using more gray, navy blue and green. The result is cool and subdued. A welcome for the gentleman who doesn’t really like to stick out from the crowd. These classic colors will be a part of every look, formal and casual, and the good thing is they can match well with pretty much anything else.
  2. Long Shorts
    At the peak of hip hop culture, in the 90s, you could catch everyone from Jodeci to Kriss Kross with shorts almost down to their ankles. Within the last few years, however, fashion trends seemed to take a literal approach to the word “shorts,” and hem lines became higher and higher as a result. For men who found themselves a bit uncomfortable with what the industry labeled as “thigh grazers,” you can breathe a sigh of relief. Shorts are long again, hitting the knee or just above. So while the low, sagging shorts of the House Party generation won’t be back soon, there is a little more leg room for the conservative fellas.
  3. Baggy Pants
    In another throwback to old times, high fashion designers are marking 2016 with baggy trousers. No more skinny fits. According to GQ, designers have been inching toward this for a couple of seasons, and it has finally hit mainstream. So, don’t be surprised if you go try on a suit at H&M or Macy’s, even, and notice that the cut is a bit more wide than usual.
  4. Distressed Jeans
    Rips, tears, grunge will all be a part of designer denim this year. Regardless of the color. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of the ones with large holes or shredding. Designers are more less giving the appearance of distress with patches and very particularly placed cuts. The goal is to move toward an effortless appearance of jeans that have been used or lived-in.

Popz Topz Is Putting A New Spin On Classic Menswear

image via popztopz.com

In the nearly 15 years John Legend (né John Stephens) has been in the public eye, the crooner has built a successful career around his music and acting endeavors, obtaining dozens of awards in the process, including the highly coveted Academy Award for Best Original Song. Yet, he didn’t get to this level without the nurturing, instruction and hard work of his parents, and now, the hard work of his father, a retired factory worker and National Guardsmen, is taking center stage as well.

Legend’s father, Ronald Stephens (affectionately called Pop Stephens and Pop Legend, in reference to his son’s stage name) has entered the wide field of haberdashery, starting with unique headwear. His first project to be sold to the public, Popz Topz, is taking men’s fashion for a ride. Pop, always nimble with his hands, and interested in style–his wife, John’s mother was a professional seamstress–got the idea by revamping one of his old straw hats, cutting off the brim and attaching a baseball bill to the front instead. His first design was for personal reasons, but he was later inspired to produce it for others, after people started inquiring about the undoubtedly one-of-a-kind presentation.

Subsequently, the designer has created a new phenomenon, which he hopes will bridge the gap between styles of today and those of the past. Because most of his designs essentially marry classic hat styles like the homburg or pork pie with the modern baseball bill, Mr. Stephens says the hat can be dressed up or down, with a tuxedo or with denim jeans, as something for everyone. After 4 years, that’s certainly appearing true. Thanks to his son’s investment (one of a dozen initial backers) and famous connections, Stephens has gained a valuable customer base, including the legendary producer and composer, Quincy Jones.

Check out this recent video, with Pop Stephens discussing the hat on Good Day Columbus ( he hails from Springfield, less than an hour away from the city).

What are your thoughts? Would you wear this style, or is it not your thing? Tweet me and let me know.

photocredit: PopzTopz.com

Finding Your Personal Style

pexels-photo-27452-largeLegendary designer and icon, the late Yves Saint Laurent, is attributed with the now famous quote: “Fashion fades. Style is eternal.” With over 50 years in the business, and even more time spent studying the art and history of clothing, he certainly knew a thing or two about both concepts. Adding to his point, we’ve personally witnessed (maybe even without recognizing) the transition from zoot suits to more tailored clothing, and from jeans as active or lounge wear to appropriate fashion staples, for which some companies charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Indeed, fashion does change, but the ability to adapt to trends or even influence them, is a skill. Still, what determines how that skill is developed?

First, it’s important to recognize that no one style fits all. Every man is not a fan of skinny jeans, despite their increasing popularity; conversely, not every gentlemen is a fan of ties. So, style, first is about personal comfort. Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or self conscious will show, and confidence is key is to style. Hence, my first suggestion to every guy is to determine what you’re comfortable wearing, whether it is certain colors, types of clothing, or an accessory, such as hats or jewelry. That is not say your style shouldn’t evolve or develop an interest in new things over time. Rather, it’s important to know what works for you and what doesn’t. In short: personal style is about personal comfort which translates into confidence.

man-shorts-people-trunk-largeSecondly, your style should be influenced by your environment and function. In the northeastern part of the country, in places like Boston or New Haven, Connecticut for example, you may develop a proclivity for layers. It’s not uncommon to see a button down shirt, with a cardigan as well as a blazer on top, during the fall or early spring months when weather is unpredictable and wearing layers provides a chance to adjust accordingly, and it also looks nice. Likewise, someone with a penchant for scarves maybe a guy who lives in a colder climate. Yet, in places like Miami or Southern California, the style is more relaxed, usually erring toward tank tops, sandals, and other relative pieces that reflect the climate and overall environment of how people in the area live. This is not limited to weather, however, someone who works in an office building will obviously develop a different and arguably more refined style than someone who does not. Professional style is a result of environment.

KurtaAnother factor which influences personal style is culture. The kurta pyjama from India and the Irish kilt are both cultural forms of clothing that have been adapted to modern fashion, and presently influence the style choices of men of those respective cultures. Religious culture as well may play a role in style choices, like the Jewish kippah, which men of the faith wear on their heads to symbolize recognition of a higher power. In all cases, culture will guide and likely influence how and what you wear and your expression of style.

fashion-man-wristwatch-model-largeThe take away here is that finding your style should be about what looks, works, and feels good for you: what works for your body type or stature, the climate or environment, or what is a part of your culture. Things become trendy, and certain things work for certain people, but as a man of style, you will always be on point if you’re doing it with confidence and making whatever choice of clothing, your own.

Classic Man: 4 Accesories Every Gentleman Needs

son-in-law-636021_960_720
Fashion is always changing, but certain items of clothing have remained consistent, defining what it means to be a gentleman, or a man of noble status, for centuries. Hence the term classic, which is altogether impervious to trends and the volatility of human preference over time. Last year, music star Jidenna revived this idea in popular culture, and since, younger generations are seemingly catching onto this way of life that many others have cultivated over time. For those interested in “looking clean” as the song suggests, here are some absolutes your collection:

  1. Watch
    brown leather wristwatchThese days, everyone has a cellphone in his hand or pocket to tell the time, so a watch is not necessary. However, as an accessory, few other pieces of jewelry enhance an overall look like a wrist watch. The watch is a symbol of care and craftsmanship; a statement of punctuality and the mark of someone who means business. Another benefit of the watch is its versatility. It comes in a variety of colors, metals and unique identifiers, like faces without numbers, precious stones, or multiple clocks to manage different time zones. A watch is still a conversation starter, and for many, a most prized possession. Indeed its rareness has enhanced its desirability, and I highly recommend investing a great one to have for life. If you really want to impress someone, invest the older, more rare, pocket watch.
  2. Belt
    brown leather men's beltSagging is a trend that has become popular around the world, but mostly among urban youth. Like all children, those who rock the trend do so without concern and almost certainly out of rebellion. As a gentleman, though, you should always wear a belt. Always. In addition to keeping your pants on your waist, it serves to bring your look together, making it more complete and cohesive. I would suggest investing in at least one black and one brown belt, to best complement the color base of your clothing on a given day. Also, be sure to match the belt with the color of your shoes–meaning, black belt with black shoes, brown belt with brown shoes. Lastly, make sure the quality of the belt goes with what you’re wearing. A casual belt with a more dressy or professional look can actually diminish the aesthetic.
  3. Tie
    blue silk necktieIn the professional world, there is not much room for extravagant patterns or colors. Standard business attire calls for dark colored suits and shoes with light shirts. The tie doesn’t have as many rules, and is the best display of individualism for gentlemen who must don black or gray suits everyday. A great tie is, perhaps, the most definitive accessory for a gentleman that is always in season. Learning to tie one properly and experimenting with different knots is a badge of honor; men of all ages benefit greatly from doing so. Bowties are another great option for guys who want to stand out and add an extra layer of interest to an ensemble, and for more formal events, an ascot is a great alternative and sophisticated neckwear.
  4. Pocket Square
    polka dot pocket squareIn addition to the tie, most guys use the pocket square to accessorize otherwise monotonous looks. Unless you’re wearing the pocket square on special occasion like a wedding, banquet or prom, along with a tuxedo, it doesn’t have to match the tie exactly, but they should complement one another. The best way to do this, should you opt for different patterns, is to maintain the same or similar colors so that neither accessory is distracting from the other, but working together as a whole. Like the tie, learn different ways to fold your pocket square to add variety to your look, and you’ll always have options. It should be noted that pocket squares are only for jackets; wearing a pocket square inside of a shirt is a not ideal.