Clothing Preview | Men's Fashion Fall 2010

Fall Fashion 2010 | Home Sweet Home
by Joshua P. Ferguson

It's a funny thing, doing a comparison between men's and women's fashion coverage. Last month, I professed my adoration for the New York Times Style Magazine in Coming Round The Curve, my recap of their women's fall fashion preview. That issue was chock full of commentary about this and that runway show and the trends to emerge: curves, skirts, prints and the like. That's all conspicuously absent from the mens issue, which dropped this past weekend. Sure it outlines looks for fall (the chic adventurer, the versatile banker three-piece) but for me, more telling than any editorial—save one, which I'll get to—are the ads. Therein lie the signs that point to an even greater fall foray into Americana, be it preppy, workman, or pre-prohibition; of the gingham, ties and layering; of the return of the one-button suit (finally! Mad Men has been on three years now and it's only now getting an overdue resurgence).

But whether scrutinizing the adverts or dissecting the issue's actual content, the biggest thing to take away and go out and shop for is the classy and American. Tommy Hilfiger has always had an engrained sense of America in his brand, but he's readapted this theme in recent seasons. First he did a series of collections based around cities, D.C., Miami and the like. Now, he's introducing The Hilfigers, his Ultimate Tailgate Fall 2010 ad campaign. Made up of a (slightly) multi-culti family of beautiful prepsters decked in scarfs, cardigans, polos, ties, plaid blazers and all the other Ivy League style trappings one could ask for for as the days grow colder. And for the first time I find myself compelled by his clothing and his styling.

Then there's J.Crew, which in my eyes, has officially supplanted Banana Republic as the most stylish of name brand (and readily available) American outfitters. In fact, in the last year it's made major strides to become a sort of modern day haberdashery. Recent ads promote it's partnerships with other brands, which span shoes, bags, scarves, watches, books... You name it. J.Crew is taking a stab at outlining an entire lifestyle that expands from your closet to your entire home, and if I didn't know better I might just let the company have at me. If you need convincing check out more from the Liquor Store, J.Crew's first ever exclusively mens shop in NYC: J.Crew | The Liquor Store. Also be sure to check the NYTimes profile with Frank Muytjens, the company's head menswear designer: NYTimes | Manly Things.

About three weeks ago, J.Crew also opened up another menswear store on 79th and Broadway in a former bank. You can get the visual tour here (courtesy of A Continuous Lean):

J.Crew Upper East Side Mens Shop from Michael Williams on Vimeo.

Of course, there's also the most quintessential American brand of them all: Levi's. Levi's too has seen a grand resurgence in its market presence of late. If there's one overarching theme that connects all three of these brands, it's that they've reconnected with their core archetype. No longer are they trying to be all things to all people, or are they trying to chase trends. They are embracing what gave them their start and realizing that, until the end of days, this is always how their customer base will most recognize them.

Levi's is about as American a brand as Coca-Cola or Ford. It has a history that stretches back over 150 years. In that time it has come to signify a few key things as a brand, many of which it shares with core American values. It is a blue-collar clothing item, a garment for the every man. It stands for basic, rugged, no frills and being willing to get your hands dirty. It is tough and reliable. It is America. The Go Forth Ad Campaign, which it's been flexing for the past couple of years, has realigned itself with these core values, and as a result, the brand may be the strongest it's ever been.

The one editorial piece that I enjoyed the most from this weekends Men's Fashion issue was a story about Jay Carroll of and Mordechai Rubinstein of The two West Coasties spend their days traveling around in a beat-up pick up truck raiding flea markets and resale shops in search of Inspiration Americana, and in turn use their finds to help Levi's "regain some of its frontier mystique" as the article puts. I want to dedicate an entire Allure column to Levi's tomorrow, so without going further into things, I invite you to read the article for yourself: NYTimes | Highway Stars.

Until tomorrow my fashion forward friends.

— Joshua P. Ferguson


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