What the well-dressed gentleman will be wearing this season, how to throw it on with style, and where you can shop the trends right now.
Double Your Assets
"There's nothing scary about this. The palette is neutral, the idea is putting a denim shirt or a pair of khakis with it. All of this simplifies it, demystifies what guys think the double-breasted suit is. This is the add-on for fall. This is like last year's 3-piece. It's amping up your suit wardrobe with one piece.
That's this season: The slightly swankier, more elegant, more mogul-feeling, impress-the-heck-out-of-people dressing. Whether it's a colored sock or a double-breasted or a turtleneck or a new way to wear a sportcoat, the whole season is about taking some risks, but also showing guys how to do it confidently."
"There's an ebb and flow with camel coats, but for Fall 2011, they're slimmer, more youthful, and spirited. Don't feel like you have to put it over a pinstripe suit and wear it down to your ankles, or with your Windsor knot. I love the fact that some are camel hair but for the most part they're cashmere and wool, this one from D&G is moleskin. It's all about the accessories and the cool cardigan with a polo shirt and the skinny jeans. We turned the camel hair on its head, there's elegance there, but we took away the stodginess."
The pattern that the Scottish call tartan and Americans call plaid originated a few thousand years ago and became globally cool by the nineteenth century. That was a long time ago. Today this most classic of menswear looks is getting a twenty-first-century jolt, thanks to a handful of creative tie designers. The color combinations are edgier and the tie width has shrunk, so you can feel meaner and leaner. The wool fabric stands up to your sturdier fall looks. Match one with a white oxford shirt and a flannel suit to get the boardroom buzzing, or team it with a chambray work shirt and a tweed jacket to get buzzed on the weekend. Either way, you'll be a little more rad in plaid.
"This is something we instantly saw in all of the collections. You have Margiela and Hermes and Gucci and Calvin and these designers that are modernists and avant-garde and edgier putting turtlenecks with everything. The thing I like the most about them is that we're not talking about just a black and navy turtleneck, we're talking about jewel tones. There's a camel, but even the grey is a light grey. It's definitely a more robust color palette. That's what makes it new. Guys see turtlenecks and think Mike Myers in the "Sprockets" sketch; I love a black turtleneck, but I see it as a uniform for myself—some guys see it as a robotic freak. Now it's the coolest sweater out there. The fit is key. That's why we say it's a fine-gauge turtleneck. It's the fact that it's thin. It's not bulky. Guys should not get this confused with a mock-neck which is absolutely forbidden."
"I love knapsacks, but I think we are knapsacked out. If you're going to spend a lot of time with your outfit and look like a Milanese man who heightens the color of your sock or wears brown shoes, don't carry a JanSport. This is the finished-off look. This briefcase from Gucci has a soft attitude—it's a soft briefcase, but it isn't Death of a Salesman. There's something cool about a guy that carries a briefcase. It gives you a secret agent mojo."
"A lot of guys are going to get it all wrong and wear this stuff with a slim Italian loafer, but it needs a heavier shoe. You'll have them for life. Also, a lot of them have some waterproof materials on the bottom. These are basically all wingtips but we're talking about the chunkier, thicker-soled shoe that holds up to all the heavyweights. Keep it traditional-looking. If you go for a Church's or an Alden or a Banana Republic, go for a substantial, pebble-grain, medium-to-chocolate brown wingtip. The more classic and traditional the profile of the shoe, the cooler it will look."
"The tweed jacket we saw last year was quieter; they were all beige and charcoal grey herringbone. It was great, but it felt very American traditional and I think the ones we saw this season had a more continental, international feel. I love that they're heavy weight; heavy doesn't mean they can't be trim, these are not ballistic tweeds that your father used to wear, they have some softness to them. But I like the idea that all of these have casual underpinnings. There's a blanket plaid and a herringbone, a modified Glen plaid, and pinstripe. In a way they're a little bit geezer, but that's what's cool about them—it's the tweed jacket in a younger cut."
"The brown suit has been, in the past, something to be wary of because it had that overly autumnal palette that got heavy and very kind of old-looking, but these are infused with a lot of youth. They're warmer browns that are complimentary to the skin tone. It's like when we talk about camel coats, they look good on anyone, they look great on any skin tone and a lot of browns are forgiving browns. Warmer. I'd say this is a 'First Look.' This is hot-off-the-press."
"These are the sweaters we featured on Cam Newton in our July issue—we instantly saw this at the shows; it was just stripes everywhere. I knew we'd find these at great price points. The Gap makes a good one, Tommy Hilfiger makes a great one. Every guy looks good in a bold chest stripe. It has an athletic, collegiate, vibrant feel to it. We at GQ like things that are snappy and graphic. The striped sweater was born for us. We just loved it so much I had to put it in the first fall issue, in July."
"It's all about the blue face watch. You have everything from the new Daytona Rolex which is $15K to a Timex which is $75. I've worn a blue-faced for years. It's not like wearing a bright color, it's just the color that looks good with everything, so it was great to see this sweeping trend. A lot of the styling on the watches isn't that different if the face was black, but the blue gives a pop."
"None of these coats are worn over a suit and I think that more and more I'd love to be able to tell our readers that a topcoat can be a cool thing to wear on the weekend. If you won't try the double-breasted suit, the double-breasted coatis a cool thing because once you button it up, it keeps you twice as warm. The important thing for a double-breasted coat is it has to fit, it has to fit really slim and that actually keeps you warmer because it prevents the wind from coming up. Tweeds, camel, cashmere, solids, you'll see a real big push for them."
"This is an ode to wearing khakis in winter. I love the way this look is put together because it has a workwear feel. Guys think they can wear cords and blue jeans and don't know about khakis. We also love pinwale corduroys and jeans, but there's something about the palette of this darker, richer British khaki colors that hold up really well to the Meltons and the denim and the big, chunky sweaters. The khaki isn't just a summer thing. It looks great with boots."
The Skinny on Belts
"The skinny belt trend is huge, but visually, I could only find it from D&G. That didn't bother me. It really shows the belt, which had been nonexistent. We're not saying to match your belt with your shoes, it can be worn with your sneakers or boots or desert shoes, nothing really has to match. I like the skinniness and the little patina to these belts and they hold up really well to the corduroys and the casual pants you pair with them. This is a way to subtly finish off your look and look cool."
"This is not your typical cardigan. At this point in a guy's wardrobe, he's got cardigans. This is a chance for guys to buy something that makes a nod to that varsity jacket. It's collegiate, that's a cool thing. It doesn't mean go back to college, it means you can look like a cool, collegiate guy. It adds robustness and color. It's graphic and, again, slim-cut. They're strong enough to wear on their own. You're not hiding underneath the coat."
"It's something you usually expect to see at trade shows but not on the runway, but we saw tons of it on the runway. Obviously the granddaddy is the Levi's jean jacket with Sherpa lining—that Sam Shepard, Martin Sheen in Badlands kinda feeling. Then we saw jean jackets in denim and corduroy, then leather and suede, and gloves that were lined in shearling and Sherpa. It's great for when the weather is colder—a lot of guys don't get into nylon parkas and coats, and for some guys, that's as heavy as they'll go. I think a Sherpa-lined has a lot of style but also a lot of practicality."
More on GQ.com: