Thanks to trendsetters like Fonzworth Bentley, the bowtie is back. (Dan Steinberg/AP)
Men and Fashion: Setting Standards and Staying Trendy
By Meta J. Mereday
With the current fashion trends focused on menswear inspired clothing for women ranging from double breasted suit jackets to re-vamped oxfords with heels, the fashion tips for men seem to be leaning more toward informal attire coupled with the basics in fabric and design.
Black men continue to set standards and they have made an art out of comfortable living through clothes and setting an example for others. “Depending on age and region, Black men are continuing to set fashion trends both nationally and globally. Those in the 18-34 age group are wearing urban chic/casual clothing during non-working hours — this includes high end sneakers and baggy slacks, shirts and shorts — and uniforms and/or open collar, button down shirts or polo shirts with slacks at work during business hours,” comments Cedric Fisher, Project Manager, Strike It Up Tour and advertising management executive.
For the more professional, corporate look, the fashion tips for men still include wearing suits with a new focus on the neutral colors including khaki, gray and camel, but in reality not as many are wearing suits.
It depends on where the fashion tips for men are coming. Paris and Milan are still the reigning capitals for fashion where separates and cheap chic are taking more of a leading role with New York rounding out the trio and setting its own trend, especially for Black men. “Suits for this demographic are only common in select vocations such as financial services. Baby boomers and mid-lifers, those whose age ranges from 40 to 60, while trying to maintain a youthful appearance, are following the same form of dress as younger brothers,” adds Fisher. “The only difference is the more mature set are wearing more suits and business apparel during business hours.”
Another fashion tip for men is the tie color of choice with the power red tie taking second place to the green tie, whether it is lime or sea foam, against the backdrop of a cream colored shirt. Designers are shifting away from the higher end fabrics and three piece suits from more robust economic times and shifting toward simpler lines with basic fabrics and lighter colors especially for spring.
A fashion tip for men that is specific to Black men is the “bowtie swagger” that has become the rage with fashion leaders re-discovering the many uses of the bowtie and applying it to a variety of social occasions beyond weddings and other special events that require tuxedos. These events include business meetings and weekend brunches where the right bowtie can strike just the chord for the occasion.
So, while women are strutting their stuff on the international fashion runways in double-breasted menswear inspired outfits in black pinstripes and dark gray knits coupled with high buttoned shirts and laced up shoes, the fashion tips that men are following include more comfortable attire in lighter colors and more affordable, looser fabrics.
Black men continue to exhibit their own style with the revival of the bowtie as a diverse fashion accessory and helping to transition urban attire into designer chic that is cross generational.
Mereday is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.