Fashion: Going Gray: Top Menswear Trends for Fall
Guys, it’s OK to go gray this fall … even if you’re not a mad man. “Men don’t want to read ‘too loud’ or ‘too much fashion’ these days,” says Tom Julian, fashion industry expert and author of the recently released “Nordstrom Guide to Men’s Everyday Dressing” .
As tailored clothing for men continues to take a cue from the TV series “Mad Men” and its 1960s suit silhouette and colors, the color palette of gray is perfect for a season “focused on understated luxury,” says Julian, who sees a return of the “power suit” emerging this fall in men’s wardrobes.
“The ideal power suit should be a two-button version with cuffless flat front pants,” he says. “Designers continue to shave a few inches off to make the suit seem slimmer — taking maybe an inch in at the shoulder and an inch up in length, creating narrower lapels for a leaner appearance.”
Gray in all its many shades works wonders in a man’s wardrobe, according to Julian.
Gray wool, gray flannel, gray cashmere, gray blends — all mix together in a light silver to dark charcoal. The fall 2010 runways showed many looks that utilized the color gray fashioned into head-to-toe monochromatic silhouettes.
“These colors allow a business executive to build his wardrobe beyond navy and black,” says Julian, who notes that gray is one of the most versatile neutrals found in a man’s wardrobe. Rich chocolate brown is a very sophisticated color to team with fall’s gray hues.
“If there is one tip I would give men for going gray this fall,” Julian says, “it’s using chocolate brown as a rich accent or twist on the classic gray. Think gray suit, white shirt, chocolate brown tie and chocolate suede wing tip.”
For the more creative or contemporary dresser, Julian suggests pairing gray with some of fall’s richer hues like plum and eggplant.
Gray also works well with other seasonal items that are staples in most men’s wardrobes, especially denim. “Dark denim jeans teamed with a heather gray crewneck or turtleneck sweater and navy blazer offers just the right mix in tone and texture,” says Julian.
With so many men embracing V-neck T-shirts, the U-shaped T-shirt is emerging as an updated fall must-have for guys, adds Julian. “This U-shape is all about muted and neutral colors of gray, stone and heathered finishes. These T-shirts work well when worn under a cardigan sweater or layered under zip jackets.”
Gray has a rich heritage in the menswear world, too. As brands like Levi’s, Gant, Burberry and Lacoste look to their pasts for design inspiration, the style worlds of American work wear and Ivy League prep come to life in classics reborn for today’s men. Look for iconic items — from trench coats to oxford shirts — in grays that range from washed and worn hues to vintage and rugged.
Knitwear also goes with gray this season in jackets, blazers and cardigans, bringing softer dressing to the forefront, according to Julian. “Adventurous types may gravitate toward short-belted knit coats,” he says. “And more traditional men may like the double-knit zip-front jacket to pull together a tailored look with shirts, tie and trousers.”
In other words, guys, you can’t go wrong with going gray this fall. It’s a no-brainer way to put some of your mad money to work. “Gray is a foolproof addition to the closet,” says Julian.
The new power suit this fall goes gray — one of the season’s best color palettes for men.
Suit pictured by Calibrate, available at Nordstrom