7 Style Lessons From New York’s First Men’s Fashion Week

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

This year, New York got its own fashion week just for men, dubbed, quite appropriately, New York Fashion Week: Men’s. More than 60 designers and brands showcased their collections for next spring and summer at the event, which was launched by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to give menswear designers a place to exhibit their collections close to home and without the scheduling conflicts of the women’s presentations.

As Complex explains, New York has been the only one of the four major fashion capitals — Paris, Milan, and London are the other three — without a men’s fashion week of its own. Traditionally, Paris and Milan were the only two with separate fashion weeks for men and women. Then in 2012, London launched London Collections: Men. New York’s new guys-only fashion week not only acknowledges that American menswear is coming into its own, but put the men’s shows on a schedule that better aligns with the industry’s buying timeline, which is different for menswear versus womenswear. In the past, men’s designers would exhibit at New York Fashion Week for the pure spectacle of it, as most buyers had already seen and purchased from the collections in the showroom.

While the industry has so far seemed to embrace New York’s guys-only fashion week, a common complaint about the shows at the inaugural event was that the clothes presented weren’t as exciting as expected. Mashable’s David Yi posited that an un-runway-like emphasis on clothes that are functional and wearable was one reason why “New York’s first men’s fashion week didn’t work.” While that disappointed editors, buyers, and bloggers who were looking for something more conceptual, the looks exhibited at fashion week can actually offer great style inspiration for you. Here’s are seven style lessons from New York’s first men’s fashion week.

1. Wear a tee shirt with a suit or blazer

JP Yim/Getty Images

JP Yim/Getty Images

The John Varvatos runway show at Skylight Clarkson Sq. offered some great style hints, the most useful of which is how you can dress down a blazer or a full suit. This model showed exactly how you can give a suit a more casual feel by ditching the button-front shirt for something less, well, buttoned-up. Choose either a solid or a classic striped tee to try out the look, and don’t forget to add your favorite pair of sunglasses.

2. Monochrome is in

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

This model walking in the Grungy Gentleman show at The Supermarket offers a great example of how to wear one color head-to-toe: Keep the silhouettes simple, and don’t be afraid to show a little bit of skin at the ankle or with a bare arm. To try it out, pick a pair of chinos and a simple tee in the same shade; the easiest place to start, depending on your wardrobe, will most likely be black.

3. Don’t be afraid of a white jacket

JP Yim/Getty Images

JP Yim/Getty Images

A white jacket may not strike most guys as the the ultimate in wearable pieces, but another model at the John Varvatos presentation demonstrated an easy way to wear one. Go for a simple jacket, such as one in the classic bomber silhouette shown here, without fussy details that will make it harder to style. Pair your jacket with a shirt and pants in a darker shade to bring out the contrast.

4. Wear an assortment of muted colors together

Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images

Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images

As illustrated by this model in the Billy Reid show at Art Beam, classic silhouettes offer a lot more room for experimentation than you might imagine. Light, muted colors are an excellent choice for summer, but everything doesn’t have to be an exact match. Try pieces in different shades and with different textures to create an interesting but still timeless ensemble.

5. Choose light outerwear for spring and summer

Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images

Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images

You obviously don’t need a heavy wool coat or down jacket for summer, but in the spring months before it’s 100 degrees outside, you might need an extra layer to keep warm. Instead of defaulting to a dark black or navy topper, choose a light-colored layer, perhaps one with an interesting pattern, texture, or both, like this one worn by a model at the Billy Reid presentation.

6. Don’t be afraid to accessorize

Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

If you need to carry a briefcase for work or wear glasses to correct your vision, use those accessories to make a statement. As this Michael Bastian model illustrates, a classic suit is only made better by deliberately accessorizing with pieces that borrow from tradition but inject a modern sense of proportion.

7. Know your proportions

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

This goes for all of your clothes, but is especially important when you’re shopping for outerwear. While just about everything looks great on a model, you can achieve a similar effect by knowing which jackets you need to size up in (hint: those that you’re going to wear with heavy layers underneath) and which you should buy in a smaller size for a more fitted look. A light jacket for spring and fall, like this motorocylce-jacket-inspired Polo Ralph Lauren piece, should fit slim to pay homage to generations of style icons.

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