Men are quickly becoming more aware of fashion and are acquiring stronger senses of style. During this project, I’ve been surprised by the amount of men I’ve seen displaying great style. I was not expecting it -especially on a college campus where bed head and basketball sweats reflect normalcy. I was so relieved when I ran into Branden Jackson, 20, a fashion student at the SLCC Fashion Institute. He was wearing a very masculine palette of black, gray and white with a daring splash of purple. Purple, in my mind, is the new men’s pink; I think pink is a dreadful color on a man. With his white fingerless gloves and thick-framed glasses, I realized he was very aware of what he was wearing and I knew he’d have something to say.
When I asked Branden what he thought about men’s fashion, particularly on the college campus, he explained that he feels most men think having a “good fashion sense is taboo.” While I would like to agree with this statement due to all of the sloppy Joe’s I run into often, both here on campus and on the high fashion runways, I find that there has been a rapid evolution in men’s fashion in more recent seasons. One of my favorite fashion columnits for the New York Times, Cathy Horyn, wrote recently about the Fall Ready-To-Wear shows in Paris “…Thom Brown [designer] has attempted to modify notions of masculinity by forcing extreme -and extremely disturbing- proportions.” To me, this means that there is a dramatic shift in the man’s silhouette and in the attitude that men have towards fashion in general -a wonderful phenomenon.
I’m not saying Branden is displaying a more radical silhouette like the men’s wool jumpsuit and opera length gloves you can find in Yves Saint Laurent’s Fall Winter 2010-2011 collection. I noticed that his fashion sense was more advanced that that of other men I’ve run into. His attention to the small details like matching of his purple shirt and shoes with white rimmed glasses and fingerless gloves, accessories you don’t find on most men. I thought his look was intriguing, but not disturbing as Horyn described Thom Brown’s designs. Branden’s look was very urban with a chic contrast of neutrals and that great purple that jumped out at me.
Looking back at Branden’s look, it seems so simple to get such a crisp look and still stand out, but some may question why it stands out. The subtle v-neck is a great starting point to mixing up your masculine look. The next step would be an accessory, yes, that is anything from glasses, gloves even bags and jewelry. Don’t worry, there are great things created just for men, and the reason is to enhance your look, not to make you look more feminine. Branden said, “every guy has a sense of style, they just need to use it.” I would have to agree. It may take a little jumping out of your comfort zone, but it’s a jump I encourage every man to take.