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Arts in Review

Haute stuff: clothes make the man?

Ramos and Fortier Inc., the company that hosted this year’s Vancouver Men’s Fashion Week seems to believe that men have been left sartorially stranded for too long. For the first time ever on September 20, a set of shows exclusively for men was hosted, to good turnout and crowd appeal.

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By Leanna Pankratz (Contributor) – Email

Date Posted: October 19, 2011
Print Edition: October 12, 2011

I’m not the first to admit that the fashion industry is guilty of neglecting the men at times. Haute couture shows featuring women’s lines often receive the most media coverage. The men’s section of retail stores is at times greatly inferior to the female section. My own Cascade column has been almost exclusively centered on women’s fashion. Is it because many men really don’t give a flying *beep* what they wear? Some would argue that indifference is the case, yet the growing prominence of menswear and well-developed men’s fashion shows would indicate otherwise. I personally believe from my observations over the years that men like to look good just as much as their female counterparts. So in the spirit of inclusion and recognizing that yes, boys have style too, I am dedicating this entire article to that other fifty-ish per cent of the global population – men.

Ramos and Fortier Inc., the company that hosted this year’s Vancouver Men’s Fashion Week seems to believe that men have been left sartorially stranded for too long. For the first time ever on September 20, a set of shows exclusively for men was hosted, to good turnout and crowd appeal.

Fashion photography blogs such as The Sartorialist and the by-men-for-men project Street Etiquette certainly gives viewers a taste of what menswear has the potential to be. A variety of male outfits are snapped from the street, from slightly quirky hipster-esque downtowners to suave, suit-and-fedora-wearing gents (hello, Humphrey Bogart!). This certainly alleviates all credence from the notion that men are not interested in fashion.

So what does fall style mean for the guys? The Fall 2011 Men’s Fashion Week shows have run with the same spirit of forward-thinking nostalgia as the women’s. The rockabilly floodpants look has officially come back. From skinny jeans to dress pants, cuffs are in. Rolled pants are best merged with a pair of Oxford brogues, or a style of show like the hugely popular Toms.

Leather briefcases are most likely the top new accessory for Fall 2011, taking the place of the slouchy backpack. In fact, think of it as a leather backpack. Fall’s briefcases are wearable and non-boardroom-y – pleasantly scuffed and unstructured. It’s a nice touch to an outfit that allows the wearer to retain a little bit of formality, without going completely Wall Street.

Scarves are hot right now and extremely varied for different tastes. Fall 2011 runways boasted a wide array of men’s scarves tied in unique ways.

When asked what his favourite part of men’s fall fashion was, Mitchell Teague, manager of International Clothiers, a men’s retail store located in Abbotsford’s Sevenoaks mall, said he treasured one fall staple above all else. “Sweaters,” he says enthusiastically. “I love them because they allow the wearer to add some distinct colour to whatever they may be wearing. You could be in black pants and a black blazer, but add a brightly coloured sweater underneath and the look is suddenly more exciting.”

“Scarves, too,” he continued, “and basically anything knitted, because it really does have a lovely effect. They can be bright, and add the aforementioned splash of colour, or can be neutral.”

“However,” he says with a smile, “I keep coming back to sweaters. I just love them in fall. My cashmere cardigan is very close to my heart.”

In conclusion, couture-conscious boys, don’t be afraid to embrace your love of the art. There are others like you. Menswear is bigger than ever, and the time has never been better for guys to express themselves in the same way the ladies do – with irreverence, precision, and no small amount of personal flair.

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