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Monday Muse: SoCal Rock Inspires John Varvatos Spring 2016

John Varvatos Spring 2016

With the announcement of New York Fashion Week Mens’, there was a little bit of head-scratching. Just how many ways are there to style a suit? And what sort of guys are going to wear the type for forward-leaning pieces that come down the runway? The detractors took a step back, because menswear moves at a much slower clip than its female counterpart. Trends stretch across decades, not seasons. And when the big names started signing on, there was no question about it: NYFWM is the real deal. The one name that sealed the deal? John Varvatos. When he decided to show his collection on his home turf instead of in Florence, everyone took notice.

As the reigning king of rock ‘n’ roll dressing, Varvatos didn’t stray from his usual M.O., but when he cited the Sunset Strip, the guys of Fleetwood Mac and the music scene in L.A. during the ’70s, we knew that this wouldn’t be the sort of Sgt. Pepper dressing that he’s been leaning towards lately. But would he go the way of Slimane? Definitely not. The Detroit native kept to his signatures, but infused them with the sort of California cool that fashion has been focusing on for the last few years.

John Varvatos Spring 2016

“Oh, man,” Varvatos told Style, “I was thinking about the mid-’70s rock scene in Southern California, the clubs in the Laurel Canyon area where the Stones and Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac played.

It was all so relaxed and bohemian.”

Ever since he started his label in the ’90s, Varvatos has never been one to follow in the footsteps of anyone. Back then, he relaxed his suiting. Then before anyone else, he embraced slim tailoring. Now, he’s infusing the signature style of musicians into clothes that real guys can wear off stage. While there were a few pieces that are out to steal the spotlight (stripes, cut-off sleeves and super-slim fits aren’t going to show up on anyone’s 9-5 rotation), but between the showboating, there were relaxed suits, new fabrications and plenty of stuff guys will want to add to their wardrobes. Varvatos might have mentioned bohemia, but this isn’t the Coachella brand of fringe and lace. Instead, it’s a free-spirited take on traditional menswear staples.

John Varvatos Spring 2016

All it takes to update a suit is a new shirt, and the dandy-inspired paisleys and tonal patterns shown would be perfect to inject a little subversive edge (or, try a T-shirt under your three-piece). And for those who are tie-averse, Varvatos suggested a scarf €” and it worked. It’s the little things that set a guy apart from the masses, and something as easy as a scarf or a strip is all it takes. Guys might not adopt Jesus hair, silver oxfords or an all-white suit, but Varvatos’ view of personal style, devil-may-care details and subversive tailoring show that guys can definitely show their stripes in the world of corporate dressing.

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Save Steal Splurge: The Tall Gladiator

Did you miss Coachella? Well, you’ve still got one weekend left if you can snag some tickets. You’ve still got plenty of time to snag Coachella style, however, so slip into your favorite cutoffs, reach for your peasant blouse and zip into one of the season’s most popular picks: the tall statement gladiator sandal. Just slather on the SPF — these killer shoes can leave some not-so-killer tanlines.

Save: Circus by Sam Edelman Badger Tall Gladiator Sandal ($80)

Steal: Ash Nymphea Tall Gladiator Sandal ($295)

Splurge: Stuart Weitzman Aphrodite Sandal ($485)