Men can be lost in a foreign city with a few drops of gasoline left and still won't ask for directions. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that they won't ask for fashion direction, either. That could explain why so many men stick to what worked for them in high school and never let it go.
We'd like to change that with a few alternatives to some of the worst men's fashion trends out there. Eric Jennings, Saks Fifth Avenue vice president and men's fashion director, helps us help fashion-challenged men.
wear this: cool tie \u25B2 not that: ed hardy shirts
We hope the fact it's a "Jersey Shore" uniform staple will turn most men off to them now, but you can blame more than bad taste for this trend. "It's about rebellion," says Jennings. It's like smoking cigarettes under the bleachers or vandalizing public property, except wearing a shirt emblazoned with tattoo and skull prints isn't bad for your health or illegal. The problem is, rebellion looks much different than it did in your father's day. According to Jennings, the cool kids act out with the unexpected, which these days translates to a dressed up look. A cool tie, skinny or printed, can raise eyebrows much higher than a loud, obnoxious T-shirt.
wear this: dark straight jean not that: skinny jeans
It's no secret that men's fashion takes a few tips from women's runways. Many of the lines have the same designers, after all. But, there are some trends that should never make the cross over. Skinny jeans are a prime example. Similar to the sagging pants look, they simply don't flatter the man wearing them. Why go from one extreme to another when there's a happy medium? A dark straight jean creates a clean look without calling attention to neglected squats, the way skinny jeans can. "Men need to learn to wear clothes that fit properly," says Jennings. That includes Russell Brand.
Wear this: leather jewelry not that: excessive jewelry
Forget that he finally traded in his gold for silver. If it's too much then that's the fashion fumble: too much. Scaling down for these guys, however, can be a tall order. Jennings has a different suggestion. "Going from silver jewelry to leather jewelry is a great alternative to the blingy, flashy look," he says. The Liberace element vanishes. Also, when worn in layers, leather jewelry looks more bohemian and less bada bing.
wear this: deconstructed sport coat not that: more than one sports fan piece
Let us start by noting there's nothing wrong with showing your team a little support. That said, the more gear you wear doesn't make a win more likely. When heading to the sports bar or to run errands, a hat or T-shirt gets the message across fine. Anything more than that should come with pom poms. The real advice here is for those who reach for their favorite jersey when dress code expectations get higher. Just because it was expensive doesn't mean it qualifies as stepping it up. Jennings advises wearing a deconstructed jersey fabric sport coat instead. It stays true to the casual, comfortable preference but lends far more to the style quotient.
wear this: flat front pants \u25BC not that: pleated pants
Forget that pleated pants have about as much hip factor as an Oldsmobile, we're more concerned with the favors they don't do most men's bodies. Like horizontal stripes or a woman's babydoll dress, pleats add weight that isn't there. If you can do without the unnecessary bulk, switch over to flat-front pants. Jennings admits pleats have slowly popped up on men's runways recently, but the look is geared more toward the guy on the cutting edge of fashion. Unless Kanye West could mistake your closet for his, it's not a trend you should pick up. "Ninety percent of guys should be doing flat front," says Jennings.