Trends for Spring and Summer

Tom-Ford-Spring-2014

If you know the strange, wonderful world of fashion, you know that trends are an extremely odd animal.  They’re partly organic, arising on their own as people start dressing differently over time.  But they’re also deliberate, with designers chosing a look to start pushing, hoping to angle the public zeitgeist in that direction.  And, even more strangely, that pushing starts a year in advance.  The trends for spring and summer 2017, for instance, will be displayed and start being pushed by designers in the spring and summer of 2016!

So, now that spring and summer of 2014 is actually upon us, how did the fashion world do?  How close to reality were the fashionistas when they started their push last summer?  Let’s jump in the Wayback Machine, and take a look at GQ‘s reporting on just that last year.  You be the judge!

Head-to-Toe White

If you’re prone to spilling, you’ve got until about May to brush up on your hand-eye coordination: head-to-toe white was the most noticeable trend to come off the catwalks this season. Trust us, a bright white suit is going to be essential to your summer wardrobe this time next year – we suggest you add in an accent color for interest, as seen at Jil Sander.

Block Stripes Everywhere

Last season it was big squares, this season it’s big stripes. While the horizontal patterns at Moschino and Miharayasuhiro were certainly the boldest way to wear this trend, it was the block color stripes on suiting really caught our attention (exhibits A and B: the surprisingly wearable tailoring at Wooyoungmi and Valentino).

Long, Loose Summer Coats

The designers in Milan realize that some countries – like our own – are not blessed with a dry, Mediterranean climate all season long; sometimes a coat is essential even on the hottest days. This season thin belted trench coats are the solution. Look for one that hits between the ankle and the thigh and opt into an ultra-light fabric as well as a bright color if you’re feeling as brave as our brothers on the continent.

Anything in Pink

Rose gold emerged as one of the strongest men’s watch trends at Baselworld, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that pink was also all-over the catwalks. However, what was surprising was the sheer variety of colors for the new season. Whether you’re more partial to the pastels at Richard James or the highlighter pink at Paul Smith, prep your wardrobe with at least one shade for spring.

See the rest of the trends, and a million pictures of them, RIGHT HERE on GQ.  And let us know what you think of the trend predictions, accurate or not?

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New NFL Uniforms

Our beloved football season is almost here again, and what better way to celebrate than with a quick look at the minor “fashion” changes in the league this year.  Namely, the new uniforms three teams have adopted.  Let’s dive right in!

Minnesota Vikings

130425090849-adrian-peterson-minnesota-vikings-uniform-single-image-cutVery nice.  Very, very nice.  The Vikings have fully embraced their true purple color scheme now, eliminating the white and yellow highlights nearly across the board, and brightening the purple to a much more vibrant shade.  The leg stripes are gone altogether, while the sleeve stripes have been greatly minimized. There’s also some minor, nifty altered touches to the fonts on the uniforms, too.

logoThe logo was only slightly changed, with the viking’s hair braids a bit looser, his horns a bit more curved.  Don’t mess with a classic!  This is  a pitch perfect modernization of an otherwise set-in-stone, and classic look.  Perfect.

Miami Dolphins

temp_OZA4342--nfl_mezz_1280_1024_originalLess perfect, but still pretty good.  The colors appear to have been made more vibrant, just like the Vikings upgrade, and the fonts have been made more futuristic.  The orange in the uniforms has all but disappeared, relegated to only minor touches here and there.

tempEMMS9576--nfl_mezz_1280_1024_crop_exactThe logo, on the other hand, has undergone a complete makeover, with the old dolphin, which had barely changed since the team’s inception, replaced with an entirely new one.  It’s in a different position than the old, and instead of leaning down, as if jumping through something, is now pointed upwards, soaring into a jump.  We’re not sure about it, it’s a bit bland, and the old logo, though it was kind of silly, was honestly lovable.

Jacksonville Jaguars

BIjcNWpCQAANBKG.jpg large…Oh.  Oh, dear.  Well, points for trying something new, at least.  This one is a nearly complete overhaul, and virtually eliminates the teal in the uniform in favor of black and more black.  Do we really need another all-black uniform in the league?  But the minor details are a bit bonkers.  It looks like they’re trying to attract the middle school set…  Circa 1993.  Everything is XTREEEEM (if you were a kid in the late ’80s/early ’90s, you will instantly know what we mean)!  The spikes on the fonts, and the stripes on the shoulders look more at home on a supervillan than a football team.  And what’s with the sleeves being different colors?  We are not fans.

jaghelmetAgh!  What?  The logo has been updated a bit, with slightly altered, more rounded and realistic features on the Jaguar head: this we like.  But a two-tone helmet?  It’s unique, we’ll give them that, but it looks a little too much like a college team, to be honest.  They could look truly awful in bright Florida sunshine.

The American Uniform

As we’ve gone over in the past, uniforms can really go a long way towards making or breaking the look of a nation’s military.  They have to embody the nation’s central values, look imposing to enemies and reassuring to friends, and be wearable, day-to-day, during the rigorous tasks required of a member of the military.  No small order!

There are remarkably effective examples of uniforms throughout history, from the regal authority of the modern British uniform, to the “people’s” uniformity of the old Soviet duty uniforms, to the ultra Imperialism perfectly embodied by the German Imperial uniforms of the Victorian Era, to the charming old-fashioned frontierism of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform.

Modern uniforms tend to come in three varieties.  There’s the “Combat Uniform,” which is the camouflage patterned fatigues you’re used to seeing in the movies, mostly on enlisted infantry, though in reality, everyone wears them.  They’re used for day-to-day duty and combat, and are usually in a camouflage pattern, which are specifically designed for specific combat roles by the military in question.  They’re roughly equivalent to business casual in an office.

The second type are the Service or Service Dress Uniforms, the uniforms people mentally associate with officers, but that are actually worn by everyone when appropriate.  They are roughly equivalent to a standard business suit, and are worn for semi-formal functions, like serving on a court-martial, when reporting for duty, or when making official visits.

And finally, the third kind of uniforms are the Mess Dress or Dress Uniforms.  Equivalent to a tuxedo, these are worn at formal functions, and are extremely ornate, covered with every medal, ribbon, rank, and insignia the wearer has earned.

So, how is the United States doing right now with its uniforms?  That’s a difficult question to answer, since the U.S. has gone through so many uniform variations over the years that some of the older variants look like they’re from another country, maybe another planet!  What’s more, the Uniform Code can be so complex, one is forced to ask, “which uniform?” far too often in any total examination.  Instead, take a look at this gallery of the current uniforms of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and judge for yourself.  Our personal favorites are the Marine Officer Dress and Navy Dress Whites.  It’s next to impossible to not look impressive in those!

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Santa Style

It’s Christmas Eve, and we thought the best way to combine the joy of the season with our love of all things menswear was to take a quick look back at the sartorial history of the veritable man of the hour himself, Santa Claus!  His fashion sense has changed quite a bit over the years, along with his waistline, and we guarantee you wouldn’t recognize the guy from a few centuries ago as the big, jolly fellow we know and love today.  Red wasn’t even always his favorite color.  We know, shocking.  On with the show!

A White Canvas

These are classic pieces.  Completely trend-free, definitely part of your sartorial foundation.  But why are they so frowned upon?  We are talking about whites, beiges and that entire neutral spectrum on the lighter side.

So, the next time you think of these lighter shades of neutrals as plain and boring or too complicated, think again.  You might be just experiencing a lot of creativity.  Neutrals are to a sartorial guy what a white canvas is for a painter.  Are they complicated?  No way, neutrals are the easiest way, not just to put together, but to acquire that super chic look all year-round.  If you’re still not convinced, think of those bright colors and hard-to-do accessories, which is exactly what neutrals are for.

Can you think of a style icon that is known for wearing loads of color?  If you were told to go to your closet and assemble your coolest outfit, would it be colorful?  Is “effortless” the reason why we love it?  Dress in shades of neutrals.  It may not be a dynamic look, but it is sophisticated.

Start by mixing your neutrals: for example, the darker ones with the lighter ones and then move up to different shades of one color, then, finally, add texture to that mix.  Hopefully by summer, you’ll be ready for that super stylish white suit.

Don’t be afraid, here are some good tips on wearing neutrals.

Keep your whites spotless and in good condition (skip the trip to the dry cleaners when possible, this just adds to the yellowish look and obviously shortens the life of your garment).  We prefer hand washing.

If you’re wearing more than one item that’s the same color, make sure they are either exactly the same color, or clearly different shades of the same color.  Nearly the same but not quite is not a good look, as it looks like you’ve tried to match exactly and failed.

Since neutrals are soft and easy on the eyes, all-neutral ensembles can read a bit bland.  A great way to spice ‘em up is to add a variety of textures: leather, wool, tweed, rough linen, smooth cotton.  Pieces with pick-stitching and other 3D detailing also add textural interest.

And finally, it can be messy out there.  This is magical and worth keeping in your bag at all times: a Tide pen!