Men's wardrobe thoughts for fall 2012

Once again, my esteemed colleague Jill Duke and I agree on something—that Fall is a great time to upgrade your wardrobe. Like her, I think there are some staple pieces that every dude should not be without. And, since this fall the man’s wardrobe seems to be all about a return to classics (I blame Mad Men), then every man is going to need some new classic pieces. Here are my choices:

Ties

When’s the last time you wore a tie voluntarily? Like, not because you had to for work or an event, but because you liked it and wanted to show it off? If you answered never, then join the club! But recently, I’ve been picking up ties in my local second hand store, some of which are really awesome and retro, and all of which are really, really cheap. That means that trying to get a good look doesn’t have to be expensive.

Hats

Hats are for special dudes, and you need a very specific choice in order to get away with wearing them. Let’s face it: most guys in hats look like they’re trying way too hard, or like douchebags. It’s way, way too easy to make a really bad hat choice, and very hard to make a good one. So I say go professional on this one. You want a really good hat? Go to a hatter (interestingly, a ladies’ hat maker is called a milliner. Hat making is gender specific. Go figure). Not a mad one, though. Do some research into hatters in your area, and then stop in for a consultation. Most will tell you what they think at no cost, and if you like what you hear, you can get a custom hat. Not necessarily the cheapest thing ever, but pretty awesome looking if you can pull it off.

Leather

Leather—specifically, black leather—is in for both ladies and men this season, but it’s easy to look like a dude with a mid-life crisis who can’t remember where he parked his $20,000 bike, if you’re not careful. That’s why I recommend picking a couple of staple leather pieces, like a jacket and, if you’re brave, pants, and wearing them sparingly. A good leather jacket will last you several seasons, and if you’re not into animal products you can always find vegan options out there.

Tailored pants

Gentlemen, I cannot stress this enough: even if you buy a pair of pants of the rack, even if they’re jeans, get them tailored. Tailoring costs next to nothing, and the benefit of wearing well-fitting pants can’t be overstated. On the job, on dates, at events, on the street: it all matters. A friend of mine who works in finance recently told me he overheard the boss of another division on the elevator talking about passing on promoting a guy because, “his pants didn’t look right.” Seriously. It’s a big deal, and it makes you look and feel good when your pants look good. Trust me on this one.

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French cuffs

Everybody from Brad Pitt to Stephen Colbert wears French cuff shirts, and they’re such a classic look they never go out of style. Plus, French cuffs add a dimension of stylishness that, in most cases, make up for not wearing a blazer. Which means you’ll save some moolah on coats. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

What men’s fashion look are you excited about for fall? Tell us in the comments.

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