Shirts and ties are making big color and pattern statements, with gingham checks and plaids playing a huge role in men's spring and summer fashions. Spring shirts come in every color of the rainbow, and especially pastel shades, and can be dressed up with a suit or worn casually with jeans, with or without a blazer and pocket square.
Not since the '70s have men had such liberty with mixing and matching patterns and colors.
Ooley: “Sometimes guys get overly fussy on matching. It's almost better if it's not a perfect match. You want a little interest. Everything's kind of coming up brighter. Ties and shirts are meant to pop some life into a suit.”
Westendorf: “The dressiest shirt has a contrasting collar and cuff. It's very business, very powerful. I'll put that on a guy with dark denim, tan tasseled loafers and a navy gingham checked sport coat. And everybody would freak out about that outfit. Every woman wants it on her guy and every guy wants to wear it. We will sell our dressiest shirt to wear with jeans and boots and a sport coat. ”
Printed chambray is one of Spencer Stone's most popular fabrics for spring, especially worn open-collar, sans tie, with a blazer and dark jeans. A chambray print shirt is also a great choice paired with white or color jeans or chinos for a casual vacation look.
Pocket squares are showing up everywhere you look. Pocket squares are a great way to add a pop of color, interest and extra style to a sport coat and suit jacket.
According to www.pocket-squares.com, the glorified hankies were especially popular in the 1920s, when men would wear a pocket square in combination with a suit, a vest, and the era's typical fedora hat. The website has a good tutorial on several popular pocket square folds. Once they achieve the perfect fold, some men like to pin the square in place. Silk squares don't keep a fold as well as other fabrics, so Ooley says they usually look better randomly situated in the pocket rather than carefully styled.
Ooley: “Pocket squares have become really big again. It's being driven by our youngest customers. And I think what is driving it is if a guy is going to wear a jacket or even a suit with no tie, he's wanting to have some color or pattern. If you're going to go without a tie, you need an interesting shirt and a pocket square. Otherwise you have that ‘They lost my luggage' look.”
Today's menswear fabrics are far more advanced than they were even a decade ago. Whereas wool used to be too itchy and silk too shiny, today these fabrics are high-tech and blended together to be softer, more wrinkle-resistant and more wearable for men than ever. Men are looking for fabrics that are comfortable and light to match the decade's warmer climate trends.
Ooley: “Ninety percent of our suits and blazers are 100 percent wool. There's been such an advancement in the last 10 years in this ultrafine marino wool that originates in Australia and New Zealand.
“Wool is the ultimate natural fiber — with its self-regulating temperature. So these lightweight woolens are not only beautiful and comfortable but they're amazingly wrinkle-free.”
French cuffs are a trend that's on the outs, but Spencer Stone offers a convertible cuff that can be buttoned normally or fastened with cuff links for a dressier look.
Ooley: “Sport coats are still a very dynamic part of our business. Guys are wanting soft constructed jackets. Soft meaning they don't have real built-up shoulders so they don't have an overly tailored or formal look. You can wear it with a tie for business but also can pair with casual pants and knitwear or no tie for casual.”
Stone: “If you're going to wear a jacket, you must tuck in your shirt.”