: New year, new styles: What should you wear in 2011? And what trends from the past year will cycle out? Is it time to hang up the skinny ties and slim jeans?
A: Whoa, hang on. Here at The Answer we strive to achieve style beyond the ebbs and flows of fashion, while also giving knowing nods to trends as they come and go. Fashion victims we are not; style-concious, we are.
We think skinny ties look swell, and not just because Justin Timberlake wears them — though he does so with enviable swagger. Even after JT inevitably ditches them for the next new thing, be it bolo ties or gold chains, we will still think it’s OK to wear them.
But as Bill Clinton used to proclaim, it’s all about the economy — and as it dictates the world, so it does fashion: When times are good, men’s clothes become more flamboyant and flashy. When they’re tough, we retreat to the most conservative of classics, such as the color gray for everything. Now that the global recovery has taken hold — times are definitely flush here in Asia — the conservative movement in men’s fashion most likely will loosen its grip.
Even Mark Cho, who owns The Armoury, a small, independent Hong Kong men’s retailer that specializes in classic style and carries small luxury brands from England, Japan and Italy, expects a few flourishes to come into the fore next season.
Of course, he scoffs at trends. “We are antifashion,” he says. But color, for one, is on its way in.
“With the move away from conservative dress, there’s a lightness in colors,” says Mr. Cho, adding that he’s going to stock some colors for the spring: barley-yellow and electric-blue jackets in lightweight wool, for example, a departure from the classic navy and gray jackets that have dominated sales in the past two years. Also in the pipeline: pink, blue and purple ties in grenadine silk (a textured, loosely woven silk), as well as unstructured jackets — no padding or front canvas (interface) — for a slightly more casual look. “We’re hoping a lot more guys aren’t just wearing suits, but will mix with sports coats and trousers.”
As for jeans, the backlash has begun on skinny jeans in women’s fashion — bell-bottom versions have made frightening appearances on runways — and will follow in men’s as well, though hopefully in a more understated way. A classic slim fit will always remain classic (James Dean in his well-fitted jeans, for instance, is eternally stylish). But fashion watchers noted at the end of last year that designers now favor denim that’s looser around the calf and flares out slightly toward the foot. The boot cut — the Answer predicts, but only because you asked — will be the skinny jean of 2011.
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