Just weeks ago, there was a rumbling heard on Wall Street. It was the sound of bankers hanging up their pinstripes . . . and wondering what to wear.
Megabank J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. recently issued a memo that allows employees to wear business casual attire on most days, except when meeting clients. This was major news — a staid firm like Chase finally loosening up.
As if on cue, menswear designers this month revealed a slew of new takes on the suit (and suit alternatives) for spring 2017 at New York Fashion Week: Men’s. Suits aren’t disappearing, but what they look like is very much up for interpretation.
“The loosening up of menswear is something that’s been happening over time,” says Michael Maccari, creative director at Perry Ellis and a Massapequa Park native. “As long as the guy is neat, presentable and dressed appropriately for each situation,” he says, “then there is no need to subscribe to a specific dress code.”
Street-savvy, L.A.-based cult favorite John Elliott is known for piling on gray, gray and more gray — so here was a surprise. He dipped his bowling shirts, coach jackets and hoodies in green, silver and pink (yes, the jacket also comes in royal blue, but the I-wear-what-I-like attitude here is awesome).
Known for his signature rocker-cool vibe, John Varvatos this season finds inspiration in the artisanal character of Provence, churning out a series of textural jackets (buffed suede, a croc' motif) and this ivory vest, a cool (both literally and figuratively speaking) alternative to a standard blazer.
RIGHT ON TRACK
This Perry Ellis blocked track shirt and tech-twill trousers are sleek and streamlined enough for work — just wear them with a button-down shirt. Or switch to a tee (as seen here on the runway) and you're ready for the weekend.
David Hart channeled a sleek '60s, Southern California vibe for his surf-inspired line of retro vivid knits and lean suits.
"You want to strike that balance between elegance and active," says EFM designer Donrad Duncan. His spring line includes this linen-wool blazer and tailored pant with sporty elastic cords that adjust cuff length.
NO SHIRT, NO SERVICE
Nick Graham, founder of the Joe Boxer underwear brand, launched his eponymous menswear line two years ago. This season, inspired by Graham Greene's 1958 novel "Our Man in Havana," he serves up tropical suits in florals and other large prints, perfect for weekends and nights out. Alas, the shirt won't be optional for most of us.
Tommy Hilfiger knows what it's like to oversleep and have to run across campus to make class with just seconds to spare. Throw a blazer over your pajama bottoms and you've got a look. But those PJs had better be pristine, like these from Hilfiger Edition.
Brett Johnson, son of BET's co-founders, is making a name for himself with his eponymous menswear line. He looked to the sun-bleached backdrop of the Arizona desert this season. A top look: this updated safari jacket worn atop drapey cargo pants with asymmetrical pockets.
THE SHORE LINE
Surfer-dude, philosopher (he got a master's in philosophy at Stony Brook) and designer Thaddeus O'Neil presents a thoughtful (and super-luxe) take on weekend style, with drop-crotch trousers, baseball shirts and bright knits for men (and women, too).
Michael Kors expands the notion of what passes for a suit these days, with this silk and linen bomber and city short (worn with a techno cotton ribbed pullover and poplin shirt).
BEST FOOT FORWARD
Thaddeus O'Neil's beach appeal starts from the ground up -- his models wore UGG boots and slippers, go-to footwear for surfers since the 1970s.
Designers Raul Arevalo and Brad Schmidt, of the attention-getting young brand CADET, were inspired by the Roman Legion. How many buttons left undone is up to you. What's key are the trousers: pleated, fuller-cut and a sign of pant trends to come.
Inspiration came from things you think wouldn't be beautiful, but can be, says designer Carlos Garciavelez. The line features exposed seams, raw edges and the blue-green patina of oxidized copper (here on a hoodie paired with elastic-cuff pants).
WHAT A CARD
Michael Kors' line of lightweight separates includes this navy techno cotton zip-front cardigan jacket, cotton gingham shirt and indigo denim trouser. Relaxed refinement.
J.Hilburn makes custom shirts
Now that suits are becoming optional, finding a decent shirt has never been more important. Enter J.Hilburn, a Dallas-based custom-shirtmaker, which showed off its services in a truck tricked out like a modern fitting room, parked outside the fashion show hub in SoHo during men's fashion week. The brand offers 200-plus premium fabrics and 3,000 stylists across the U.S. who'll conduct fittings in your home or office. Or try their new TAPE (Tailored Anthropometric Estimate) system: Answer six questions online (including height, weight and, um, paunch size ... be honest), and they'll design a personalized shirt. They also offer custom suits, belts and more. Shirts cost $109 to $169; for info, visit jhilburn.com