Fall is the best time of year for men's style. The colder weather encourages layering, and that is the easiest way to put together a look that feels intentional. Fall is also the time when most textures, fabrics and patterns are all fair game. Earth tones are right at home, and I find making use of them helps me dress smart while not coming off flashy.
I stopped by Gap this week to check out their new Fall / Winter options, and found a few fundamental items that will help you build multiple looks. Keep an eye out, I guarantee you're going to see these items in future articles.
I was most excited to add these brown straight fit corduroy pants to my wardrobe arsenal. Corduroy was popular in the late 90's, it went out for awhile, now brands have reintroduced them. And with good reason, as far as options for pants go, men don't have any; jeans, chinos, suit pants. Corduroys offer the perfect balance of dress and casual, and can fall either way depending on what you pair with them. Stick with a thin wale (the thickness of the ridges) in a straight fit. I also picked up this really versatile, non-iron button up shirt. It's a basic gingham shirt with purple and gray lines. It will also function perfectly as both a casual shirt, and a dress shirt. It's non-iron, so it'll save you when you're in a rush.
Take the exact same outfit and add the right tie. You'll get a completely different look that's just as smart, now ready for business. This is a Calvin Klein tie I picked up at Nordstrom Rack for $15. Notice how the tie is a purple plaid, perfectly balancing the checks of the shirt. Pairing the right shirt and tie patterns together keeps the contrast between the two low, and steers you away from looking like you're a 14 year old on his way to church.The brown of the corduroys also grounds the look and balances the purple from appearing too bright. This look works perfectly for any occasion you need to dress up slightly but you're not looking to wear a sportcoat.
For this tie, I opted for a Kelvin knot.
The Thick Sweater
Sweaters are one of the few items men have that can really sharpen a style without influencing how “dressy” it is. Get yourself a thick sweater and wear the hell out of it. On a date, to the office, on Thanksgiving: if it's cold out you'll look fantastic and stay warm. This sweater is made from alpaca and is super soft. I opted for this heathered brown because I have a lot of gray sweaters, but Gap also has a light gray version that would look awesome with the brown corduroys or jeans. I paired it with the same gingham dress shirt, and I got a completely different style. Add some dark jeans and you're in business.