Double-Breasted Comeback

Double-Breasted Jacket

::::: Double-Breasted Jackets Top L-R: SS11 Acne, Cavalli, Gucci, Gianfranco Ferré, Ermenegildo Zegna, Bottega Veneta ::::: Bottom L-R: David Beckham, Spiro Mandylor, Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel, Ryan Gosling

It’s been an exciting year for men’s fashion.  Last season we saw major trends such as plaid shirts, bow ties, and rolled pant-cuffs peak in popularity.  In early January, the It’s All Style To Me Men’s Spring/Summer 2011 Essentials were posted and highlighted some of what I felt were the most promising trends of the upcoming season.  Belted trench coats, braided leather belts, statement sports jackets, white suits, colour blocking, leather strap sandals, and seasonal knits have livened up our wardrobes.

Single Vs. Double-BreastedSince its reintroduction in 2008, the double-breasted suit and men’s dress jackets have been picking up steam, making a huge comeback.  No longer limited to fixtures of the 1980s such as Wall Street bankers, creepy game show hosts, and slick used car salesmen – double-breasted suits are looking pretty cool again.   The demand for double-breasted suits and separates has been fueled by new innovative new designs coming out of the world’s leading fashion houses.  Male celebs like David Beckham and Ryan Gosling have been daring enough to give them a go and Kurt Hummel even sported one in at least one episode of Glee last fall.  They fit in nicely with trendy young guys who are adopting the cleaner, tailored, preppy look reminiscent of the Mad Men era.

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Young Men & The Sea: Fisherman’s Sweaters & Loose Knits Spring/Summer 2011

Spring/Summer 2011 Knits

Various Spring/Summer 2011 Knits: DSquared2, Rag & Bone, Paul Smith, Burberry Prorsum, Michael Kors

As Canadians celebrate Victoria Day and our American neighbours Memorial Day the following weekend, we’ve both been looking forward to this unofficial kick-off to summer.  Our drab fall/winter clothes get tossed to the back of the closet and we make room for the soothing creams, vibrant primaries, and bold pastels of Spring/Summer 2011.  Back in January, I pulled together a sneak peek of the next season’s noteworthy trends in the It’s All Style To Me Spring/Summer Essentials 2011 post.  Belted trench coats, braided leather belts, statement sports jackets, white suits, colour blocking, and leather strap sandals have all been reviewed in detailed posts since.  Hopefully, this head start his given you a leg up on the other guys and you’re well under way in adding select pieces to your wardrobe.

Those warm sunny days are amazing.  Who can ever get enough of them?  Most places however, have to contend with their share of cooler cloud covered days and windy nights during the otherwise phenomenal summer months.  Then there are those wild and crazy boat cruises and the gale force winds that come with them.  Whether you’re cruising through the sewage of Lake Ontario in a decrepit ferry that was refurbished some time around the late 70s, or sailing in style down the Ligurian Coast in a gorgeous yacht, you’ll need to bundle up.  You could always reach for a jacket and light scarf over a T-shirt, but may want to consider the alternative – a chic seasonal knit.

Unlike their bulkier winter relatives, spring/summer fisherman’s sweaters and loose knits are nonrestrictive and light.  They’ll keep you from breaking a sweat, but you’ll stay warm on those cooler days.  These fisherman’s sweaters and almost see-through loose knits are made with cotton, linen, or light cotton-blends rather than the wool of the fall/winter variety.  They also come in a wider range of colours, are a lot less fitted, and have deeper V-necks and scoop necks.

A bit of a brief history on the Aran sweater (a.k.a. fisherman’s sweater) – they originated in the Aran Islands of the coast of Ireland.  Originally made of natural cream coloured wool that was unscoured,  the wool retained its natural lanolin oils making the fisherman’s sweater more water-proof and unfortunately, a lot more itchy.  The original symbolism of fishing cables and baskets, the honeycomb (representing the hard-working bee), and the diamond (symbolic of success, wealth, treasure) is clearly evident in the fall/winter wool and cashmere sweaters we see today.  You’ll even find them in the SS11 knits of DSquared2, Michael Kors, and Perry Ellis.  Happy fishing guys!

Strap In: Men’s Leather Strap Sandals Spring/Summer 2011

Men's Sandals SS11

Men's Sandals SS11: Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Kris Van Assche, Ermenegildo Zegna, DSquared2

Sandals have been around forever.  Technically the first real shoe, ancient Egyptians made them from palm leaves and papyrus, the Greeks made from willow leaves and twigs, and the Japanese from pieces of fabric and rice straw.  These archaic sandals sound significantly less comfortable than the cheap and cheerful Havaianas everyone’s been wearing for better part of the last 10 years.  I own a few pairs of Havaianas as well.  They are great for hitting the beach in Miami, or heading up to that overpriced insect-ridden cottage in Muskoka you mungie cakes seem to love.  Muskoka doesn’t sound all that bad when the alternative is lounging around an open toxic sewer that we comically call the beach here in Toronto.

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Block Off: A Lesson In Men’s Blockology

Men's Blockology

Men's SS11 Colour Blocking by Calvin Klein, Jil Sander, Moncler Gamme Bleu, Prada, DSquared2, Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci

Back in January, I had posted a list of It’s All Style To Me Essentials for Spring/Summer 2011.  Subsequent Men’s SS11 trend posts have gone over the Belted Trench Coat, Braided and Roped Belts, the Über Statement Sports Coat, and The White Suit.  While contemplating the popularity of men’s coloured trousers and the widespread use of bright blues throughout the SS11 collections, it dawned upon me that these trends were part of a bigger picture.

Making its début in womenswear, the colour-blocking trend’s prevalence can be traced back to Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s.  Some credit a retrospective of the designer’s work in Paris last year as the source of a revival, but I would argue that this may not necessarily be the case.  Colour-blocking has been making a strong comeback ever since the SS09 Collections of Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior, Lanvin, Dries Van Noten, and Salvatore Ferragamo.

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I Have A Fantasy: The White Suit For Spring/Summer 2011

White Suits

Various White Suits: Tommy Hilfiger, Simon Spurr, Etro, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, Bottega Veneta, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana

Back in January, optimistic that spring might be around the corner, I posted the It’s All Style To Me Men’s Spring/Summer 2011 Essentials list.  It’s mid-April and we’re still freezing our asses off in Toronto.  Who are we kidding?  Up here, our fall/winter wardrobes really are our fall/winter/spring wardrobes.  Sure, there are a fair share of Canadian rednecks who break out the Velcro-strapped sandals and wife beaters as soon as the temperature hits 55’F (13’C).  For the rest of us, who don’t benefit from that genetic mutation brought on by decades of inbreeding that makes 55’F feel like 90’F, we soldier on.  So much for global warming, hopefully the warmer weather is just around the corner.

Spring/Summer 2011 follow-up posts have examined the belted-trench coat and the braided belt.  Many top designers including Tommy Hilfiger, Simon Spurr, Etro, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, Bottega Veneta, DKNY, and Dolce & Gabbana have all embraced Mr. Roarke and Tattoo’s Fantasy Island outfit of choice – the white suit.  Not alone, Esquire’s Spring/Summer 2011 Black Book also named Brioni’s 51% cotton, 49% silk white two-piece as their Essential No. 032 for SS11.  “If it’s too classy, you’ll look like Mark Twain.  If it’s not classic enough, you’re Tony from Saturday Night Fever,” adds Esquire.  Not to mention, if you’re too fat you’ll look like them Duke boys’ nemesis Boss Hogg.   Fair enough, but somewhere in there is the look of a suave Mediterranean gentleman, possibly even playboy.  You can get away with wearing almost anything with a white lightweight cotton/linen blend suit.  I can’t think of a more versatile ensemble for spring/summer.  Dress it up with a patterned or solid coloured dress shirt, tie, and pair of brown wingtips or loafers.  Alternatively, you can dress it down with a V-neck, leather sandals, and braided belt.  Not quite feeling the the pure white suit?  Give off-white, khaki, or seersucker a try.  For some examples of white suits from the SS11 Collections, please visit the It’s All Style To Me Facebook Page.

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