Manhandling Fall 2011's Menswear Trends

As a Personal Stylist, my mission is to create outfits that make my clients look and feel terrific. Dressing well is about manhandling the rules and trends to create a look that's uniquely one's own.This roundup of Fall's menswear trends and my corresponding "real life" suggestions are meant to serve as inspiration as you figure out what works for you.Trend #1 Military

Military Fall 2011 Menswear Trend

Military is a perennial favorite, and designers are adept at keeping it fresh each season. A major bonus that comes with it is the epaulette, which fools the eye into thinking the wearer's shoulders are broader than they actually are. Look for jackets like Reiss's military macintosh coat ($485) or Burberry's wool and cashmere peacoat ($1195).

Reiss Men's Military Macintosh Coat

Burberry Men's Pea Coat

You could also go the authentic route and hit up an Army-Navy surplus or thrift store for a military peacoat. I found this handsome one (complete with arm patch and interior stencil and name plate) below for $60 at a thrift store in Connecticut last Fall.

Vintage Men's Military Peacoat

Trend #2 British CountrysideBritish Countryside Fall 2011 Menswear TrendCollections from designers like Louis Vuitton and Ferragamo presented an upscale equestrian feel as seen in details like tall boots and neutral and muted colors. Camel and grey are often mixed with burnt orange and deep purple and seen in patterns like plaid and argyle. If you've got spare coin and the proper coloring, then this burnt orange toggle coat from Burberry Prorsum ($2990) would take you from zero to Fall in a matter of seconds.Burberry Prorsum Men's Toggle CoatAnother option that's a little less up in the proverbial fashion grill is this tan toggle coat from RL Rugby ($348).RL Rugby Men's Toggle CoatAs for fabrics, corduroy and velvet are getting a lot of airplay this Fall. One easy way for you to incorporate some of this into your wardrobe is via neckwear. Check the corduroy ties below from Brooklyn Industries, ($30, below left) and Lands' End Canvas ($49.50, below right) along with Lanvin's silk twill and velvet bowtie ($562).

Brooklyn Industries and Land's End Canvas Men's Ties

Lanvin Men's Velvet BowtieTrend #3 "Tough Guy"

Tough Guy Fall 2011 Menswear Trend

Needless to say, the look here is aggressive. It's replete with leather, padding, hoods, motorcycle jackets and angry-looking patterns. [Note: Proceed with caution when wearing gym towel and boxing gloves for activities occurring outside the ring.] If you like this vibe, then try Alexander McQueen's Regal Skull T-Shirt ($195) below.Alexander McQueen Men's Skull T-Shirt

A leather jacket is another easy way to rock this trend. I like this charcoal one from Second Sunday ($215) because the grey is an unexpected color for a leather jacket.

Second Sunday Shifter Men's Leather Jacket

Trend #4 English Schoolboy

English Schoolboy Fall 2011 Menswear Trend

The pants are tight, and that's (sort of) ok. I think it goes without saying that this trend -- tight pants -- is one of the hardest to, er, pull off. Plaid "party pants" like those seen in the above runway images can be a marmite choice for some, as they often have a privileged prep-school feel. But if you have a slim build and would like to go down this plaid-bottomed path, consider a pattern with minimal contrast, and make sure the pants give you ample breathing room. And keep everything else understated. I would pair Thom Browne's unconstructed trouser below ($595) with a clean white dress shirt and navy or grey blazer. At the very least, Chuck Bass would approve.Thom Browne men's plaid pantsTrend #5 Industrial RevolutionIndustrial Revolution Fall 2011 Menswear TrendFor his debut namesake collection, former Cloak and Versace designer Alexandre Plokhov looked to industrial photography for inspiration. Elements of this are apparent in his collection, along with those of YSL, Ermanno Scervino, Burberry Prorsum and Dolce and Gabbana. Designers showed items like chambray shirts, leather, stained denim, henleys (my go-to layering piece), vests, and hooligan hats, all in moody colors like grey and black. A great way to implement this trend would be with the charcoal DSquared2 henley ($390) below. I like the inclusion of brown elbow patches for color and textural contrast.DSquared2 Men's HenleyI also recommend this extended double-layer vest from John Varvatos ($498). Note that the color of this vest is called "Iron Grey"...very Industrial Revolution-chic.John Varvatos men's vestTrend #6 LumberjackLumberjack Fall 2011 Menswear TrendI sincerely hope you did not have your fill of brawny man style over the last few seasons because this trend is back in force. Check out all of the tweed, twill and plaid in the runway images above. Even if you do not frequently engage in the chopping down of wood, you, too, can incorporate this trend into your daily steez. Try this plaid half-zip work shirt from Polo Ralph Lauren ($195). It's a cool mash-up of the half-zip silhouette typically seen in sweaters, with the plaid typically seen in a sport shirt. The half-zip also lends to easy, interesting layering.Polo Ralph Lauren Men's Plaid ShirtAnother easy way to do it up lumberjack-style is with a sporting vest. Look for details like padding, pockets and zippers. Try Moncler's Ander houndstooth vest ($895) or Ralph Lauren Black Label's short canteen vest ($695) for an outdoorsy, woodsman-y feel.Moncler Ander Men's Houndstooth VestRalph Lauren Black Label Men's Canteen VestThere you have it -- my Fall 2011 trend report. Good luck in molding these themes into your own taste and budget as the leaves hit the ground. And as always, I welcome your comments and questions. Happy Fall, people! 

Runway images courtesy of Fashion Snoops.

Men's Style: What to Wear on July 4

I can’t think of a more American brand to give a quick shout out to on this most American of all American holidays than Gant, even if the company is now Swedish-owned. Gant was founded by Bernard Gant, an industrious Ukranian immigrant whose dream was to become "a real American." His first job off the boat in 1914 was sewing shirt collars in a sweatshop in NYC's garment district. In 1941, he started his namesake line, which epitomizes tried and true American style -- "casual, comfortable, reflecting the good life and leisurely lifestyles on the American East Coast."I snapped this picture of a Gant handloom madras shirt, known as “The Hugger” at the very cool, industrial-inspired Gant Rugger store ($115; 353 Bleecker St; 212.620.5949). This lightweight, ultrasoft cotton charmer would be a sound choice for a weekend that I sure hope finds you in full-on cocktail, bbq and firework mode. The good life and leisurely lifestyle indeed!Check out the stealth pinup girl patch hidden behind the cuff. She looks ready for the long weekend too...

Happy bday America!

A Very Vintage Father's Day

My IT guy Vince showed up at a recent appointment armed not only with mad computer skills but also with a tote bag full of vintage vests. He had been digging through his family's attic when he came across a boatload of impeccably cared for vests that his father bought in the late 70's. His dad is an auditor for the NYC MTA.  According to Vince, "modesty is probably the best quality he's shown me."Below is a picture of my most treasured possession from my dad. This old school beauty dates back to his fraternity days in the late 50's and early 60's. It takes softness to another level. Sadly, in a moment of unclear high school thinking, I cut off too much from the bottom. The crop top thing is a little much -- even for this child of the 80's. So it rarely makes an appearance out of doors. The best quality my dad taught me was the importance of hard work and perseverance in overcoming adversity.So on this Father's Day, thank you for the vintage attic finds, for the hand-me-downs, and most of all, for being dad.

Rathie Spies: Vintage Military Pea Coat and Web Belts

I found this handsome WWII navy pea coat at an antique store in the sleepy town of Winsted, CT, this weekend. Priced at $60, it was hard to walk away from the smart, sturdy-looking thing. It's a size 36 (equivalent to a small) and in excellent shape. Check out the hand-stitched arm patch,stenciled-in name and serial number,and inside name plate.Kind of makes me wonder under what circumstances Meachum got the coat from Blackburn.The helpful shop owner also had several web belts from Vietnam and WWII (prices L-R are $15, $20, $10).I'm particularly into the blue one, which is from the Air Force. I love all of the grommets combined with the metal plating, and the color is perfect for Spring.All items can be found at A Step Back in Time (a fitting name for both the shop and the town) at 458 Main St, Winsted, CT, 860.379.3160.

Rathie Spies: Vintage Boots

I came across these sick vintage men's boots at Manhattan's Chelsea Flea Market yesterday (lower level of the garage at 112 West 25th Street, btw. 6th and 7th Aves). The top pair are 1942 French Army boots, priced at $80. These are a great way to get that butt-kicking, rugged work boot look without having to run through the trenches yourself. The ones below are also French, from the 1930s, and priced at $100. This classic style has a great worn-in patina that will only get better with age. I love the rich, mahogany shade of leather. Prices at this market are negotiable.