We get that it's still sweltering outside and that buying a wool coat, even if it's unlined and cut from cashmere, is at the bottom of your to-do list. But admit it: At this point, after pulling out that pair of cotton khakis for the 300th time, aren't you just the tiniest bit curious about what's in store (and in stores, literally) come cooler months? On the following pages, we've made things ridiculously easy for you: Herein, the trends worth trying, the clothes to buy, and everything else worth knowing about men's fashion after Labor Day.
The Jean-Jacket Alternative
This fall, the cropped camel coat will be everywhere (and with good reason—it's a don't-think-about-it-just-wear-it kind of item). We especially like Dsquared2's interpretation (pictured, right): The relaxed shoulders, oversize pockets, and tortoiseshell buttons strike just the right balance between American workwear and prep.
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The Two Ways to Do Three
By definition, perfectly tailored suits are—and should be—impossible to get wrong. But two of the riskier incarnations are making comebacks after falling out of favor: the three-piece and the three-button, both of which are looking more modern than ever this season.
To put it bluntly, three-button suits work best for vertically blessed men (the extra button shortens your torso). For those six feet and under, consider the three-button rolled to a two-button (3). The placement of the third button on the lapel renders it invisible when the blazer is left open.
With the three-piece, the goal is to avoid the overly fussy dandy look and instead follow the lead of Michael Caine circa Get Carter. Dior's somber take on pinstripes (6) and the navy Dunhill (5) seen here both adhere to the minimalist bent. Another option to consider? A soft-shouldered jacket. The unstructured cut of this windowpane plaid by Eidos (4) counterbalances the formality of a vest. When in doubt, look to model David Gandy, who's long worn the three-piece without looking like an extra in a bad gangster film. Proof that flawless tailoring and confidence go a long way.
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Boots ($865) by Pierre Hardy. The Sole Survivor
The creeper (a play on the word crepe, the cheap rubber used to make army footwear in the forties) has continually been appropriated by stylish subcultures for more than 60 years. And like all good things in menswear, it's coming around again—Grenson, Ferragamo, and Pierre Hardy (who made our favorite pair, shown left) have perfected more subtle, real-world versions of the enduring wedge. Here, a brief charting of its evolution.
Inspired by military boots worn by British soldiers during WWII, shoemaker George Cox begins marketing streetwear versions in 1949. It's not long before "Teddy Boys" start wearing them with bolo ties, drainpipe trousers, and pompadours.
Punk's tastemakers Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood stock creepers at their London shop Sex—which are worn with tartan, safety pins, bondage pants, and ripped sweaters. The uniform becomes a sartorial "F you."
Above, left: Johnny Rotten in London in 1979.
Swing revivalist Brian Setzer jumps, jives, and wails in the iconic sole, channeling the big-band era.
Above, right: Brian Setzer in Atlantic City in 1998.
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