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Casual updates turn men's classic styles cool

At least one Wall Street is having a renaissance this spring.

It's been two decades since Gordon Gekko slimed his way across movie screens in his yuppie-issue suspenders and those shirts with the blindingly white collars and cuffs. Now Wall Street's fashion time stamps are back, again influencing trends in men's clothing.

This is one of those '80s flash points guaranteed to not only send men fleeing to the safety of their white button-downs and chinos, but spur many women to aid and abet them.

Hold on, says Michael Macko, vice president and men's fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue. This is not an '80s redux.

These trends are made for the '00s, he says, freshened by a few twists of Justin Timberlake.

"Men are getting dressed up again," Macko said by phone from New York. "Justin Timberlake and his little skinny suits and ties, Jay-Z, P. Diddy, all those guys are getting dressed up again. . . . It's absolutely the return of the gentleman."

Even the trends that sound best-fitted for casual dressing — anything nylon and hoodies — can have a place in a work wardrobe, Macko said. For protection from the elements, wear a nylon anorak over a suit or a knit hoodie underneath a suit coat or sport jacket.

"It's the type of thing you wouldn't expect, wearing such a classic suit, but it's so much more modern-looking," he said.

Wearing classics in untraditional ways is part of the philosophy behind every practical trend in men's fashion: It not only has to update the wardrobe but be wearable, versatile, comfortable and look good.

"People don't have separate (work and casual) wardrobes anymore," Macko said. "We really just have one wardrobe. It's about having the right pieces in your wardrobe and making them work."

Here are his details on how men can make spring's trends work for them:

Shirts with contrasting collars and cuffs. And the contrast isn't just white; it can be another solid or even a print. Contrasts are found in both casual and dress shirts, sometimes revealed only when a collar is flipped up, or a cuff is rolled back.

Accessories. Suspenders, cuff links, tie bars, watches and pocket squares are back in play, in part because young men have picked them up
the past few years as they started wearing suits. "These are items that do take you from being just well dressed to really looking like a gentlemen and really standing out in a crowd, but very subtly, too. It's not like, 'Look at me,' " Macko said.

Nylon. The most practical and easy to find nylon pieces are anoraks, jackets and messenger bags. But it's also out there in shirts (Jil Sander and Dries Van Noten have them), designer sportswear and shoes.

Hoodies. Jersey and cotton hoodies still work for strictly casual wear, but knitted ones will be big. "They're slightly dressier than the jersey version," Macko said. "They can stand alone as . . . a great lightweight outdoor piece, and they work really well under a blazer or even a suit."

A light gray suit. "It's definitely a color we've been seeing. It's a little lighter (shade) for summer," Macko said.

The most important detail: Think Timberlake, not Gekko.

Sharon Fink can be reached at or (727) 893-8525.

Casual updates turn men's classic styles cool 04/18/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 10:38am]
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