Guys, here’s why you should listen to Alan Baird’s advice on men’s fashion.
Recently, I put together a humorous photo slideshow called A Somber Journey through Men’s Department Store Fashion. The piece was designed to be both informative and a bit tongue-in-cheek.
Although I don’t consider myself a "fashion expert," I do think I’m more knowledgeable than most on the subject, but obviously, Baird is in another league altogether.
The morning after the article published, I had a polite email in my inbox from Baird, a self-proclaimed "local man about town and admitted shoe hoarder," pointing out a grave error I made while describing a shoe as a "longwing" when, in fact, it was a "wingtip."
"A longwing has the brogueing on the wing wrap around to the back of the shoe, whereas the wingtip only canvases the toe cap portion," he said.
Realizing I’d been schooled (slang term for "shamed" and ridiculed intellectually), I reached out to Baird, hoping he could pass along some of his fashion wisdom to our male readers.
With simplicity in mind, here are five essentials for a man’s fall wardrobe, courtesy of Baird. In future pieces, we’ll delve a bit further into the complex world of men’s fashion, but we’ll go easy at first.
What are your "essentials" for fall? Tell us in the comments below.
Thicker wool sport coat
The practicality of warmth and the addition of style, a wool sport coat is a must-have for fall, according to Baird. Dress it up with slacks and dress shoes or down with jeans and casual shoes.
Baird suggests two options for your perusal, both from J.Crew: this gray factory Thompson sport coat in tweed or this navy version with suede elbow patches. Both retail for $218 online, but the store is always having deeply discounted sales.
No boat shoes
Baird said that autumn is no time for those worn-in Sperry Topsiders. Instead, you need a shoe that can hold up to the inclement weather.
Sebago camp mocs work well, as will any "boot": moc toe, chukka or desert.
Baird is particularly fond of shoes with a gum or crepe sole. He also likes suede and textures.
The Clarks desert boot is a classic.
Merino wool sweaters
Considered some of the finest and softest wool found on any sheep, Merino wool is both "thin and warm when layered," according to Baird.
He said the sweaters can be dressed up or down (like the sports coats above) and serve as an adaptable layer throughout the changing weather of the day.
A crew neck variety works well over a T-shirt with jeans or chinos, and a V-neck can be worn over a dress shirt for a more professional look. The sweaters can be found in almost every department store and online retailer in a wide array of colors.
Basic starter colors could include gray, navy, brown and black. Baird is fond of olive green, as well.
Keep it a "trim fit," he said.
Ties can add a little color and complement an outfit. Baird suggests swapping out silky, summery ties with wool or knit versions.
"You can wear the same suit or jacket you’ve worn in the spring and summer, but give your look a distinctive fall feel with a rougher fabric," he said.
Baird recommends an online retailer called The Tie Bar, which offers thousands of ties for $15 apiece in every color, fabric and width.
"I love a gray or brown wool [tie] with a navy suit or coat," he said.
Light down jacket
The problem with fall is all about weather. You’re either too hot or too cold, so layering is key.
In addition to sweaters, Baird suggests a quilted light down jacket for those crisp mornings and chilly office environments.
The issue is finding a quality fit. It’s easy to get ballooned up in an oversized jacket, so you should stay away from "tech" looking jackets. Great colors would be olive or navy, according to Baird.
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