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ALPHA MALE: Spring Men’s Style Trends For 2013

Thursday, February 07, 2013


One of Spring's biggest trends is bags--day bags, overnight bags, weekend bags, market bags, and more. Take advantage. Photo: Lotuff Leather.

The menswear retail business is a funny industry within which to work. Punxsutawney Phil just came out of his home this past weekend to shed some light on the weather situation for the rest of this Winter

(and according to the prophetic little groundhog, Spring!). Despite that fact, I was in New York City just a week ago spying the latest in men's fashions that are slated to hit stores next Fall and Winter. Yes, I have a job where it pays to know what you, the customer, wants 9 months from now.

So how does all this help you now? Well, lucky for you, the same advanced showings happen for Spring lines too (I saw Spring '13 last Summer). Retailers have been privy to the latest Spring trends for 9 months to allow them to order and stock their stores with the best selection of merchandise that they can in time for you to be ready for the next season. And because Spring '13 goods are hitting stores now, I wanted to culminate my tips for self-improvement over the last few weeks with some advice on said Spring trends.

Let us filter through the clutter and see some of the top trends that can help you improve your wardrobe while not overreaching or completely reconstituting your wardrobe. Like I have been saying, it is the little changes that can lead to bigger self improvement. So here are the best trends within the trends for Spring '13 and how you can use them to improve your look.

Color gets taken to the cleaners

Typically with Spring clothing lines comes more pops of color. That rings true this year as well, but the real difference seen this year is in the way to wear color. This Spring, it is not so much about being bold and blatant with a sharp hue, but rather many brands and designers have taken those bold colors and put them through a wash cycle or two. The color palette is still bright, but softer with a broken-in feel. Think about your favorite shirt washed for 5 years. The colors are still what separates, but those jeweled tones or sunny bright yellows and reds are now easier on the eyes.

Self-improvement Color Tip: Only 1 “pop” item from your wardrobe at a time. Whether a shirt, pants, shorts, or accessory, never try to do too much. For example, take that pair of washed down Nantucket red chinos and pair them with your favorite white Oxford button down shirt. Neither will ever look better. Like many self-improvement tomes, small, subtle and consistent changes to your wardrobe can pay off more than a one-time bold statement.

Layers are now a Spring Thing

For so long, layering your clothes has been thought of as a Winter endeavor as the cold weather necessitates a need for warmth and piling on the protection from the elements. But now Spring is getting in on the act. There will be lots of super thin layers that you can still feel comfortable in even when the weather warms up. Fine knits in light gauge fabrics of merino, cotton blends and linens are finding their way onto the shelves to help extend the life of your layering well into the new season.

Self-improvement Layer Tip: This new Spring layering is a big advantage to your wardrobe transition too because you can easily start mixing your seasonal staples without having to make a stark change. Still cold out? Keep the heavy jacket for outside, but throw on a lightweight sweater, blazer and button down shirt underneath in lighter fabrics. As the weather warms up and fluctuates more rapidly, you can easily add or shed layers as needed. By the time Summer is here, you'll still be getting use out of that new knit (yes knit) blazer. As in life, be flexible enough to make the necessary changes. You never know what the weather may bring.

Bag it and tag it

Bags are everywhere. Day bags. Overnight bags. Weekender bags. Tote bags. Market bags. You name it, they make it- leather, cordura, canvas, nylon. So many functions, weights and durabilities have surfaced. And with so many brands and varieties, you are simply bound to find one (or several) that suits your lifestyle and daily demands. I can confidently say it is one category I never worry about selling through in my store. Bags sell well and I keep a great selection of high quality and functional types on hand most of the time. Because when you find a bag you love, you want it to last and make sure it can log a lot of mileage.

Self-improvement Bag Tip: Make your bag work for you. Assess your daily needs and apply it to your bag. Do you need a laptop? Make sure there is a padded compartment. Are you a work commuter? Maybe a lightweight backpack or rucksack is for you. Do you travel? Look into zippered duffels and larger bags like carryalls or zippered totes. The options (and quality versus price points) are endless. Find what works for you and do not be afraid to try a few before finding the right one. Do not settle for anything that does not help you be better at what you do in labor or leisure.

Spring is going to be all about the transitional lifestyle- the gear that takes you over that cold spell hump, into warmer times and suits your lifestyle all along the way. Simple additions of color, layers and functional accessories are 3 ways that can help you continue to balance your lifestyle's demands successfully and in incremental ways that will not feel too drastic. Like many folks here in New England who spend time on the water can attest, sometimes the smallest course corrections are the most important and can take you farthest. The same can be said for your Spring style.

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 shopwharf.com.


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Has anyone else noticed colored shoelaces becoming more and more popular? I see sites like this: http://www.mindthechap.com/mens-designer-accessories, that literally have an entire page dedicated to shoelaces. Just wondering if they knew something I didn't!

Thanks for the read!

Comment #1 by Abigail Pettis on 2013 03 01

Abby, colored shoelaces are trending a bit the last few seasons. It's and inexpensive and fun way to help differentiate and/or coordinate your outfit without being too flashy or over-the-top. Some footwear brands are even including an extra, different set of laces in with a shoe or sneaker purchase or, like you are seeing, offering up laces in a variety of colors a la carte.

Thanks for checking in!

Comment #2 by Robert Babigian on 2013 04 23

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