Men, you have to remember just two fashion trends for fall — color and corduroy.
This is the missive from Matthew Singer, the new and down-to-earth men's fashion director for Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Singer touched down in Houston last month to host the Fall 2013 Men's Trend Event at Neiman Marcus.
The very dapper crowd lapped up the berry-hued suiting and colorful accessories for men that were presented on the runway. Singer, dressed in a slim-fitting navy suit, crisp white shirt, black skinny tie and loafers sans socks, was engaging, personable and knew each model's name from memory as he hit the carpet.
It's easy to see why Singer is the fashion voice of the luxury stores, but ask him about the new position, and he's quick to remind you that he's like everybody else.
It's easy to see why Singer is the fashion voice of the luxury stores, but ask him about the new position, and he's quick to remind you that he’s like everybody else.
"I'm just a regular guy. I'm very laid-back, almost too laid-back sometimes, but I’m very grateful for the career path I've had," Singer says. "Retail can be a grind, but if you put in the time and work hard, you can get amazing things out of it."
The 32-year-old Singer jumped to the big leagues after serving as the associate men's fashion director for the upscale division of Macy's Inc. at Bloomingdale's, but it was his early days of "slinging prom dresses" that got his feet wet in the industry. He credits his time at Scoop with really preparing him for all aspects of fashion retail.
"It was a small operation, very hands-on, so I was working with the customer, buying, visual merchandising and calling the repairman when the A/C broke down," Singer says. "But I loved being on the floor and working with a customer and having things come alive for them."
Singer brought that same panache to the runway show, naming the designer and then detailing the how and why of each look.
Although there were some pretty bold pieces sent out such as an Etro paisley evening jacket, most of the looks were put together in a way that most men can and should wear. Among this season’s winners:
- Corduroy. Don't want to don bright orange pants? Singer says jewel tones are great options too. Navy, emerald green and any berry-based color make a great foundation for a fall ensemble.
- Color. From shoelaces to jackets, color is everywhere. Ease into it, but embrace it because it isn't going anywhere.
- Accessories. Yes, real men do accessorize. Start simple with a pocket square, but look for pattern and texture. Go beyond basic black and brown belts and slip on gray, navy, green and — if you are really adventurous — orange. Again, think texture for interest. Add creative socks or simply drape a scarf around your neck.
- Outerwear. When the weather finally turns to fall, a top coat is a must. Singer also sent vests as outerwear down the runway. Some were on the puffy side; some were made from lightweight materials. One was even a gorgeous chocolate brown leather vest, but all were worn over jackets, sportcoats and sweaters.
Singer is keen on a couple of looks that are a little questionable (cummerbunds and double-breasted suits, for instance), but overall his eye is sharp and refined. He understands that, while men want to dress well, many are unsure how to do it.
"You want to look and feel good in what you are wearing, so if you have to, take baby steps toward something new," Singer says. "I'm the guy who wears navy and sometimes, as I'm walking out the door, my wife will look at me and say, 'You are really wearing that?' Everyone needs a good second opinion."
Singer is sincere about his regular-guy status. He's as comfortable rocking loafers and no socks as he is talking football. Even though he declined fantasy football this year, he grabs some NFL on Sundays and jokes that he'd watch college football too, except for the threat of divorce papers. And, Texans fanatics: He swears the Houston team is his favorite.
"I think they have what it takes to go all the way," Singer says.
That's music to the ears of Houston football fans (though not so much for Cowboys fans) and, more important, to men who may find jumping into fall fashion more accessible when coming from a guy who checks football scores in between fashion shows.
Real guy? Absolutely.