"Spring fashion for men is all about dressing to fit a certain lifestyle," says Tom Julian, men's fashion director for The Doneger Group, a merchandising and retail consultant group based in New York City. "Men continue to shop for themselves and realize that there are many ways to dress, whether they are a CEO-type, traveling road warrior, a bookworm student, a reality show wannabe star or a traditional Dad." Here are Julian's top 10 style picks for the upcoming season:
—Slim-fit printed shirt/printed T-shirt — Think of the sport shirt gone artful with prints that range from tropical florals to kitschy to geometrics. Pair with updated classics like chinos or summer staples like Bermuda shorts.
—Chambray shirt/shorts — The utility fabric that works on top or bottom. This lightweight fabric is soft, easy and great for layering. This season, there is more denim on denim — a range of blues from light to dark.
—The fashion polo — The country club classic goes modern with new shapes and different details. We have seen the polo receive designer touches, such as contrast sleeves, button-down collars and pocket variations. Our top pick would be the color-blocked shirt that allows more of a graphic focus on the chest or shoulders. This can help to de-emphasize a stomach or torso.
—The fashion sweatshirt — Fashion designers have embraced the old-school sweatshirt and have turned it into a modern must-have in a wide range of fabrics and prices. We like the idea of the French terry sweatshirt that has accents or some type of artful touch. Maybe it's the contrast trim at the collar and sleeves, or maybe it's the fabric piecing in cotton at the back or side seams. Many young men are wearing the sweatshirt in unexpected ways, including teaming it with seersucker pants, embroidered cotton trousers or with casual colorful cotton three-fourths length pull-on pants.
—Nautical-inspired separates — No longer limited to navy and white, many of the men's specialty brands and shops have taken a new look at nautical and turned it into tongue-in-cheek fun country club dressing, using nautical stripes and patterns in a mix of natural or earthy colors, as well as kaleidoscopic and bright hues. The cotton knit jacket is perfect for wearing on a yacht, but also fine for stylish evenings when paired with a v-neck T-shirt and pastel-colored trousers.
—Swim trunks — A range of shapes and fabrics has allowed this beach item to act as a street item. Look for a fully constructed waist with a zip-fly front and inset (elastic for more comfort), or go with the retro-inspired surf trunk. These bottoms are also printed and graphic and available in florals, geometrics and foulard prints, which are almost like a necktie pattern. After looking at recent photos from the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the tank will be the layering item of the season.
—White stories — From the blazer (inspired by this year's men at the Oscars) to the jean, white is a tonal story that many men may embrace, especially because of the ease in wearing natural hues and having lots of layering options.
—The jogger — The newest item, a must-have for the contemporary dresser, is a cross between a jogging pant and some type of cargo bottom, especially because of the pockets and utility features, like elastic and buttons. The best way to wear these pants is loose, with a casual jacket and a simple T-shirt. Some directional men like the drop-crotch style that mirrors the MC Hammer pants of the '80s.
—Linen sport coats — The past few years have been about the cotton sport coat, but now we see emerging an unconstructed one, preferably in shades of blue. The style should be a two-button single or four-on-two double-breasted. We also like that linen jackets are being designed with a single or double pleat. I prefer the double!
—The bomber jacket — Outerwear has become a category with lots of options and many stylish concepts. The bomber was always military- or fall-focused. Now the bomber can work with bright colors. Prints allow the jacket to become the key focus, especially when worn with light or dark denim jeans.
—Don't forget accessories. Key extras this season include the bucket hat (reversible print to solid), designer high-top sneakers and a braided wristband or bracelet.
To find out more about Sharon Mosley, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.