ALPHA MALE: Core Pieces For Your Fall Look

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


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Is your personal style a little dull these days? Get back to basics and rebuild from there.

Summer is over and Alpha Male is back! In addition to writing the column, being a small business owner of a menswear shop has kept me from sharing my latest adventures in retail and style with you.

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I also never felt like I had a point of view worth sharing for awhile. Call it writer's block, but something just was not coming through for me stylistically that was worth expressing in this forum.

Lacking a decisive POV is actually a great metaphor for a wardrobe in a way. You get stuck. Certain pieces you buy are not clicking, or maybe they never did and are unwearable within the context of the rest of your wardrobe. We all have those “buyer's remorse” pieces in our closet, right? Other items just don't speak to you anymore so they never again see the light of day. And THAT's when it hit me on what to write for this article and, if all goes well, for the next several columns.

Core pieces

Sometimes, if you cannot get out of your own way, the best resort is to fall back on the things that are tried and true. Find your comfort zone from which to re-examine, reinterpret, and rebuild. In menswear, this goes beyond staples and into what I would call, “core” pieces. Staples are a necessity, like my Oxford button down shirts, the WHARF “ONE”. But those still need replacing in relatively short order and of which you need multiples (you need a clean shirt almost everyday after all). Then there are the nearly everlasting “core” pieces in your closet that never go out of style and will be there a decade or more from now.

With Fall upon us and new arrivals of the F/W13 collections hitting men's stores everywhere, I am going to hold back on simply talking about trends for the upcoming season. Instead, I want to rebuild your wardrobe from the ground up, one garment at a time. The best way to do that is to discuss your core pieces. From time to time, there are core items in a guy's wardrobe that are certainly worth reviewing because they tend to have stood the test of time. The best place I felt to start was with one of my own core garments that meets this description. The trucker jacket.

Make it your own

There are now more options than ever at reinterpreting this go-to classic. Versions in washed-down denim for that lived-in cowboy look are always available. From a purchase perspective, while there is a certain allure to busting up a brand new dry, untouched model of any denim, when it comes to a trucker jacket, you really want to feel like it is a favorite piece in your wardrobe, beloved for many seasons right from the start. Go for the washed versions like the Baldwin Aaron Jacket (made in the USA) in my store or even Levi's classic Trucker which comes in a variety of washes and fabrics. We even have a review on our site of how your denim jacket can wear over time.

In addition to the classic denim versions of the trucker jacket, designers now offer dark and tonal examples in neutral colors like over-dyed Black or Grey cottons twills with dyed-to-match hardware for a more modern look. You will also now see models in unexpected fabrics like wool or a technical synthetic blend. Whatever type you choose for your personal aesthetic, this core item offers distinct advantages for most guys.

Versatile menswear

The cropped fit is great for most body types. Unless you are really tall, the trucker jacket offers most guys the ability to throw it on and not worry about length and proportions as much (unlike a blazer or even a cardigan). You can “dress it up” or “dress it down”. There are great examples everywhere lately of pairing the trucker under a blazer or suit as a layer to break up the formality a bit. Even pair it alone with a button down shirt and tie. And you can even give it the classic treatment with a T-shirt and pair of denim- just be sure not to match the denim colors too closely- especially if you are going denim-on-denim. (Yes, you can do this!)

We will get into the latest Fall collections at some point regarding what you should buy right now or trends to follow through the season. But let us start Fall off by focusing on “core” items that allow our guy to build a foundation for his Fall wardrobe first. The trucker jacket is the first building block. We will continue to build your wardrobe block by block these next few weeks.

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Robert Babigian is owner of WHARF Clothing & Wares, a menswear retail boutique located at 212 Westminster Street in Providence, RI. A native Rhode Islander, Rob started WHARF after 2 decades in marketing and sales to fulfill his desire to combine his loves of consumer branding, small business and style that would fulfill a niche for desirable men's clothing in the Providence market. The apparel and accessories found at WHARF reflect Rob's own personal aesthetic—a combination of traditional New England staples mixed with modern fits, construction and fabrics blended together with a touch of European style. For more tips or to shop the store, stop in and see Rob and his staff or reach them online at


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