In Mens Spring/Summer 2013 Review

About Face, About Time

"Damn, that was so good...I wanna buy him a short set!"-Beyonce 'Sugar Mama'

It was inevitable wasn't it?  The mad growth in menswear over the past half decade was bound to expand like helium in a balloon; to every end with no crevice left vacant.  If the recent shows in Europe highlighting the Spring/Summer 2013 offerings for men were any indication then I'd have to say that the once mild-mannered parochial little boy of menswear is learning to color outside the lines and wear his uniform in quite the cheeky public school way.

Menswear has been learning that to liberally adapt is modern and that there is lesser tolerance for dictation with the greater penchant being to dress for the episode called 'Your Personal Life'.  Now while the standards of proper fit and sizing have (and will) always remain something to adhere to, the proportions, the innuendos, the suggestions and the playfulness that was once considered far too flippant are becoming more of things that a liberated modern man may look to incorporate into his wardrobe as different from the established norms.

I saw things for men on the runways for next summer that were, say even five years ago, things I would've design-wise understood but nervously made fun of with fashion pedestrians by the water cooler.  I'll discuss more of them in future posts to come but I first wanted to point out something that I spied on many a runway that would've made Murray and Ethel Rosenberg of Boca Raton, Florida say "I understand it, but palm trees and pineapples?".  Call it the new retiree chic, call it bookishly prim panache or call it fashion's ever-fascinating ability to remix clothing that makes some cringe like fingernails on the chalkboard and turn it into forward clothing that, believe it or not, will shape mens retail come next summer.

The matching short sets, the sandals with socks, the deliberate styling to make the learned geek look young and suave again was a definite button pushed on the recent mens runways.  Gone was the absentminded tomfoolery that was once behind such pairings and replaced was paired down plausible offerings with rejuvenated prints, more modern oversize cuts and subtle special closures and details that would work as separates as well.  Will many fashionable men want to look like that, perhaps, but the idea is to propose the look.  Fashion is not always about telling you what to wear but about cleverly editing, fitting and designing to keep a fresh idea offered to you.  Whether the man gravitates towards it is his own prerogative but then that's where the editors, merchandisers and stylists come into play; they nudge and cajole men into slowly (as men most often move) but surely adopting a mindset that pushes the fashion forward, drives sales and stays attune to the pulse of fashion which must stay in sync with the progression of society.

As Beyonce skeptically left us wondering if a short set was something to gratify a man who gives good lovin', its definitely something that designers remixed to propose that even the suggestions which usually cause recoil can be reinterpreted coolly.

*All Photos Courtesy of

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  1. What a great article. What you tell here is totally true. Men fashion has always been stuck in old clichés because designers were afraid to mistake.... fortunately things are changing!


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