The Essentials

If deciphering the fall collections has you a bit overwhelmed, you might want to consider a condensed version. You can refer to these 10 items however you wish — essentials, must-haves, hottest of the hot. Whatever your preference, these are the pieces that will give you the most style and take your wardrobe the furthest. Courtesy of Details magazine, each trend adds a subtle yet smart update to your fall look.


The overcoat is nothing new to men’s fashion. But the windowpane design, in a subtle chalk outline, makes it fresh and exciting this season. “It’s a classic staple for the gentlemen’s wardrobe,” said Matthew Edelstein, fashion editor for Details magazine.


Careful with this blazer in camel; it doesn’t suit everyone. “It’s black for blondes,” said Edelstein of the dusty camel hue. A suit jacket that veers outside the navy, charcoal and black palettes makes the ordinary a little more extraordinary.


Rather than lug the old gym bag through the airport, Details recommends investing in something that will deliver high style. Travel bags get a little flare this season with stripes. Whether woven, stitched or part of a larger pattern, the vertical lines on a leather or canvas tote create a much smarter alternative to the duffle bag.


There will be no popping of this collar but, rest assured, you won’t need it with the shawl collar. “It’s not a crew or a V-neck but it takes the sweater to the next level,” Edelstein said. “You’re saying something a little more with this.”


“This is the meeting point between the dress shirt and the Western shirt,” said Edelstein of the chambray shirt. For you, it means a great garment for casual Fridays or weekend brunch. Chambray lets the conservative guy loosen up and the casual guy stand up a little straighter.


Regardless of what you pair it with, the cardigan manages to instantly add a collegiate tone to any outfit. This season, expect the fit to remind you of your glory days. “The cardigan is more body-conscious this season,” Edelstein said. “The arm holes are smaller for the new shrinking proportions.”


They’re not necessarily blue but we still don’t recommend stepping on them. Suede shoes arrive this season on every dress shoe imaginable. You’ll find the matte fabric brings an interesting texture to your look.


The braided belt this season has little in common with the ones sported in the early ’90s. Like everything else in men’s fashion, it’s much thinner. How to wear it? “The advanced dresser will wear it with a suit,” said Edelstein, “but the novice will wear it on the weekend with jeans.”


The hoodie carries a casual connotation. It used to be appropriate only for athletic arenas and lounging contexts. When Hermès and other affluent designers get their caviar-manicured hands on them, however, hoodies suddenly become luxury items. Coat checks in many an upscale establishment should be overflowing with this garment this season.


“Down vests are a great transitional piece,” Edelstein said. Once perceived strictly as mountain men gear, this piece of outerwear can just as easily lay over a business suit as it does a tweed sweater.

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