Dressing well is tough sometimes. Not for us so much, we’re awesome, but for the rest of the world waking up and facing that morning clothing decision half asleep, unfed, and decaffeinated is daunting. Which is why we’re here to provide expert advice for the confused. Consumer trend expert Tom Julian, is just that: an expert. Alongside Nordstrom and their fifty-six years of experience in menswear, Tom has penned the Nordstrom Guide to Men's Everyday Dressing. This handbook is an excellent tool to keep you looking fresh.
We met Tom to discuss….
So tell us, Tom, from your perspective: How has Men's Style evolved in recent years?
He's gone casual and contemporary...the suit and tie mandate has evolved and the workplace for many men has allowed for more lifestyle options in his wardrobe. Also, he has learned more about style/fitness/grooming, thanks to magazines like Maxim --
Well played, sir.
--and online resources, TV shows (Style Channel, Bravo) and books (like mine!). This past fall, I was involved with over 15 store events for my first book and met such an array of men from 12-70 who were all so interested in advancing their wardrobe, their look. We have found that men are asking questions. He wants to be in-the-know about quality and construction as well as what looks good for his body type. As far as the business world, today’s modern guy either looks dated or, better still, is done with the 3-button suit, pleated pants and square toe shoes.
Got it. So what do you suggest?
We encourage him to think more along the line of clean and linear with a 2-button suit silhouette and more tapered shirts and narrower ties. Men who also have a comfort level in shopping today do recognize quality...and hopefully realize it's about getting those key pieces into their wardrobe. The new millennium has allowed for a merging of worlds -- tailored with sportswear, luxury with popular priced products, denim with active and techno-smart pieces with classics/basics.
You mentioned key pieces. What are the most important items for men to buy this Spring?
In my new book I talk about those essentials -- those everyday dressing items-- that all guys needs... And those especially ring true for spring... A pair of khakis (flat front) or casual 5-pocket pants (in a cotton twill) for a casual date or relaxed business lunch. A pair of shorts - the winter is finally behind us... so we'll need a cool pair of shorts for weekend activities... but they need to have some style...perhaps a pair of patterned shorts in a classic madras - (Bermuda length) that you can layer with a loose cotton button down or a fitted crewneck t-shirt.
What about shoes?
A casual shoe like a clean, crisp pair of canvas sneakers can work with dressier looks also. If you want to dress up a casual look, some antiqued pointed lace up Oxfords or a driving shoe are awesome options, but casual for spring works well.
Is casual dressing the new standard?
For the majority of men, yes. As I mentioned the casualization of American dressing is not to be taken lightly. It started in the early ‘90s and has shown how men can continue to make it their own. We did realize that there are two versions of casual – casual or dressy. In our book at the end of each chapter – we illustrate both for all key items in a spread called “Where to Wear” (sport shirts, sweaters, pants, jeans, shorts and outerwear). But casual should never mean sloppy or unkempt. In our “Everyday Solutions” pages we all talk about what pieces require tailoring, what pieces are right for mixing and matching. Don’t forget that footwear should be addressed in the same way – for the right occasions including work, after hours, weekend and travel. So throughout the book, we continue to educate the reader about what is most appropriate for each.
The Nordstrom Guide to Men's Everyday Dressing is available now, $18, nordstrom.com