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NY Fashion Week Trend Dispatch: An After-Dark Staple Comes Into the Light

Michael Bastian Spring 2013

Michael Bastian Spring 2013

Note to guys: Spiced up lapels aren’t just for  prom and weddings anymore. For spring, designers are taking the contrast lapel out of the darkness and giving it new lift outside the realm of evening wear (see: right). It’s a subtle touch that makes a big impact, and the rakish quality it adds to a simple suit instantly up the ante on high style.

To his credit, Michael Bastian has been riding menswear trends like nobody else’s business. Since he founded his brand, guys have been clamoring for his classic American staples and sharp, clean tailoring. To add interest to his sportcoats, he didn’t simply stop at adding contrast lapels on model Noah Mills’ evening jacket (it closed the show), he showed shiny satin lapels for day — paired with band-collared popover oxfords and rolled up sleeves for an even more causal feel. And while you might have that old stuffy tux tucked away somewhere in your closet, approach this trend with caution if it isn’t tailored correctly. The slim, trim look is still going strong no matter what staples designers are riffing on. Menswear rules are often seen as hard and fast guidelines, but more often than not, designers (especially Bastian) are breaking those rules and giving guys free reign over their wardrobes.

Billy Reid Spring 2013

If rules reign anywhere, it’s the South.

And being a Southern Gent himself, Mr. Billy Reid has been a traditionalist when it comes to his line whether he’s designing for men or the fairer sex. His usual whiskey-soaked style got a twist this season where he (gasp!) not only mixed black and brown — it looks amazing when you do it right — but also offered out a contrast lapel double-breasted jacket that wasn’t just meant for after-dinner drinks.

Sure, he added an ascot, but switch that out for an open collar or a preppy repp-stripe tie and you’ll be a Southern dandy in no time at all. The rest of his show (co-ed, unlike some of his other menswear brethren) also showed staples done up in unconventional ways, such as sport coats with shorts and plenty of more relaxed and even pleated pants. There was even a girls’ suit to match the rich cocoa of this jacket, meaning guys and girls alike can both partake.

Tommy Hilfiger Spring 2013


No stranger to prep and propriety, Tommy Hilfiger showed a collection that riffed on Ivy League staples such as cricket sweaters, rugby shirts and sack suits — only he slashed the suits with mariniere stripes and tailored entire jackets out of bold red, white and blue fabrics. But the piece that caught our attention was the navy tux jacket, which Hilfiger paired with a pair of tailored shorts, which definitely slashed any ideas of tuxedo propriety and menswear standards. It takes the tuxedo jacket out of the world of formal dances and makes it something you can throw on every day, rules be damned.

Photos courtesy and