WORKING IT : the fall 08 workwear trend

one of the most predictable trends to emerge recently
was the upsurge of "work-wear" inspired dressing that hit the fall runways.

whether as a reaction agains the feminine influence being felt through the mens shows,
(particularly subversive in the prada show),
or as a less frontal way of approaching the masculinity of military wear,
the sudden surge of rougher materials,
fuller silhouettes,
and multiple layers
(even if the above dolce & gabbana look is just a gratuitous excuse to show chad white in long johns)
speak to a shift that we will probably see intensely in the next few seasons.

masculinity, welcome back.

(or, watch the gay community and see if the "village people" effect takes hold.  we've already seen the surge of seventies style porn mustaches and the ascent of the "bear", perhaps workmen aren't far behind as a archetype to mimic.)

the trickiest iteration of the trend?

the jumpsuit.

now, this is bottega veneta,
and only thomas meier would but a lavender jumpsuit beneath a paper soft lambskin jacket,
or under a navy cashmere topcoat.

and there is something both appealingly fresh to the eye
and completely jarring.

(guilty confession:  i actually tried this piece on in paris in the store, and was shocked to find how much i loved it.  i could not for the life of me think of a reason to purchase it, an event that i would feel ready to wear it to, but in all honestly, it made me look . . . rough.  tim nearly forced me to go back and buy it the next day, he loved it so much.  sexy is a good motivator.)

it's also been done well by calvin klein (spring 08):

perhaps it's the juxtaposition that i always love,
the real life mix that makes hard pieces easier.

it's a pretty simple rule of thumb:
when men dress, they often pull of tricky pieces by putting them
with much easier to understand things.

tennis shoes with a old world three piece suit makes justin timberlake cool, not trendy.
a vivid color tempered with denim.
a speedo on david beckham. (i'm not sure which is the more "complicated piece" in that analogy)

a jumpsuit with a cashmere overcoat:

so how do the more extreme versions of a trend
work for normal men?

let's just say "normal" won't fit this item in this trend:

more power to the above gentleman,
and i love the courage to wear something outside the . . . well, even the fringe.

but for most men,
it's about balance.
and knowing what you can pull off
as much as what you'd like to pull off.

i think factors like age (witness the forty year olds in abercrombie.  hell, witness the thirty year olds. *)
or location (tokyo and new york are more forgiving than chicago or atlanta)
or event (the office?  depends on where you work.)
or courage (sometimes, the force of personality alone makes it work)

for myself,
i wasn't sure why i stumbled over this one piece.
i've worn catsuits with riding boots.  in public.
this one, and perhaps it's a sign of age as much as exposure
(i'd love a new flatscreen.  and that eighteen thousand dollar sofa at diva in l.a.)

well, if it goes on sale . . . tim may get a private treat.

it's not like i haven't worn one before:

(circa 1973, hyde park, london)

*  true story.  i was in abercrombie a few years ago and the salesgirl was happily talking about the new store they were opening.  it was the same kind of stuff, but more for people in their mid-thirties.  and i said "oh, so more adult?" and she said "yeah, like my dad's age".

* also true.  the store was ruehl.  my friend james was in it shortly after opening, and got a little pissed off at how dark it was, how hard it was to navigate, and how there was no one in the store (or as he puts it, "no one that was legal")  so he turned and walked briskly for the exit.  and walked INTO a mirror that he thought was a door.  fell the the ground, knocked over a display.  i think that's a sign, too.


MR style said...

the example with Chad White is so funny ! it would be smokin hot seein boys dressed like that in the real world or out of farms

editor said...

am i looking at baby landis!???!
fearless (of fashion AND fowl) baby landis???!!!

Iheartfashion said...

I can totally see you in the BV jumpsuit. Tim's right: buy it!

landis smithers said...

mr. - i am constantly working towards a wordl where man walk around in their underwear. believe me!

editor - oui! bebe landis. defender of the fowl.

i heart - that's two in the yes column. (not that i need any persuading. . .)