So when did American men become so vain? I ask myself this as I survey all the different varieties of clothing and adornments for men to suck up like a hoover these days and I remember a time when you just had to own your navy blazer, a few work suits, sport jacket, a handful of dress shirts, coordinating slacks and a handful of ties. Don’t worry about color too much, just play it safe because your girlfriend or wife is undoubtedly going to upstage you anyway as you shrink and fade into her perfect little charge card carrying accessory.
So when did American men become so vain? When we realized that dressing with our fathers’ mentalities was becoming as fun and thrilling as watching a weevil bore a hole through his threadbare leisure suit. It’s become fun for men to play with cut, color, proportion, texture and finishings. Its become fun to merge fashion with tailoring while still paying homage to key rules (maybe even for the sake of rebellion, breaking a few). Its become fun for us men to use clothing to transport our minds back to the color of that drink or sunset in New England last summer or the print that readily reminds us why we lust after the Caribbean or love the New York City skyline at night. Women have long had these occasions in fashion, so now why not us too. I mean, after all, our brains move so quickly today and clothing is so personal that cars, electronics and liquor can’t be the only things to appeal to our ever growing senses.
Perry Ellis’ spring summer 2011 collection made me further wonder, when men began to look so natural in bright colors. The collection had a fresh resort kind of feeling to it and the colors made me think of what the modern cosmopolitan man might think of during the day in his mental travels outside the office. The cuts had hints of the 9 to 5 but in an easy, unobstructed and breezy way with unstructured slim jackets, easy lighthearted knits and comfortable plausible shorts and pants.
The colors took you straight to a resort with sea-foam greens, mints, sandy beiges, dusky oranges, strong corals and pops of white with a variety of grays. The outerwear was also fresh and made sense for updating a man’s closet for cool spring nights. This collection was built on separates in flattering proportions, a focus on small details like rounding off collars and playing with pocket placements and colors for a variety of skin tones from pasty to tanned to chocolate.
The show ended with a melange of swimwear that in my opinion, if the heat and trend tendency in New York this past summer was any indication, will be worn and look great as simple lightweight summer shorts. Women watch out! that battle for who’s accessorizing who grows on! see the finale below. DW