So, the summer season has arrived.  Strangely, though it’s probably the heat, this is the season where most people lose their damn minds and start dressing in clothes that I wouldn’t wear to do laundry.  I’ve seen guys at the bar wearing things like sweat shorts, cheap plastic flip flops, Crocs (!?!) and the worst?  These:

Sorry, kids, but WHAT THE HELL?!   These look awful.  I feel like the person who wears these is some hippie who was kicked out of a store for being barefoot, so they spent $75 to make sure they can still “feel” barefoot.  WHY ARE YOU WEARING THESE IN PUBLIC, PEOPLE?  They are ugly.  They basically make you look like the Borg Queen!  Ugh.

However, I never like to say that you should NEVER wear something.  My mother always said that the key to style is picking appropriate pieces for appropriate venues.  If you are going kayaking or hiking or doing some parkour training, then go ahead and wear these shoes.  If you are going to be doing some sort of Cross Country event or a fun-run?  Go nuts.  But if you are going out shopping or worse – out to eat – then please consider another shoe.  Or be prepared for whispers, bold-faced questions about your weird toe shoes, and staring. (Full disclosure: I don’t own these shoes, nor have I even wanted to)

But – in the event that you wish to own these odd shoes for something athletically appropriate (parkour, kayaking or rafting), then please, check out their website: Vibram FiveFingers

Spotted:  Co-worker wearing white pants and white polo shirt to office.

The old rule about white after Labor Day and it being a summer color, has been out of vogue for a few years now.  However, there are still times when white is inappropriate.  Funerals spring to mind as being the number one most inappropriate place, along with weddings (unless you are the bride, or it’s white-tie).  But what about the office?  What makes white on a pant such an offensive color in the office?  Offensive to me, at least.

First, it’s the fabric choice.  Linen, lightweight cotton or tropical-weight wool?  Definitely a no-no in the office.  Those are far more casual than necessary and they end up looking like you came straight from Bermuda to your cubicle.  Also, there’s a sheerness factor here that is usually ignored.  My personal opinion is that no one, and I mean NO ONE, should be able to look at your pants and see what color/style your underwear are.  So make sure those pants aren’t see-through and if they are – don’t wear your leopard-print string bikini-briefs.   So what fabric can be white and still classy and sophisticated?  Twill (be careful – you don’t want to look like a painter) or winter-weight wool.

Second, it’s the color.  Some khaki pants are so close to white, you could say they were off-white.  I have no problem with this – it’s a twill.  But a bright white?  Save that for a Tide commercial or the Palm Springs White Party.  A creamy white color is probably the best thing here.

As for white shirts?  Those are pretty much appropriate anytime, but please remember that sometimes, the material is so thin that you can see your nipples.  And that’s never appropriate at an office.

There’s an old adage that says that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.  Usually in Texas, that lion sticks around through April.  Any my current umbrella is broken.  As a commuter in Texas, it behooves me to keep an umbrella in my bag.  So we’ll start with those.

Compact umbrellas are useful if you need to carry an umbrella without actually having it in your hand.  The upside is that it’s easily stowed away when the forecast is wrong.  The downside is that they are usually pretty flimsy and they are usually pretty cheap in quality.  These often have an automatic push button thing that open the umbrella.  Useful.  If you know how to use it.   These umbrellas are also really easy to flip inside out at the faintest breeze.

A full-size umbrella is usually made from better materials, since it doesn’t have to collapse small enough to fit in a commuter bag.  You can also look stylish with one of these, holding it jauntily while catching the train to the office.  The upside is that you’ll look like a posh gentleman.  The downside?  You can easily leave this behind somewhere without realizing it until you’re caught in a downpour.  These umbrellas also close into a more drip-friendly shape.

My opinion?  If you aren’t going to be commuting, go ahead and buy the nice upright one.  It’ll look a lot classier.  If you are a commuter, there are still higher quality compact umbrellas out there.  GAP has some for less than $30.  You can find either style at any price point really.  Some even have hard plastic sleeves that retract when you open the umbrella and keep your pants from getting wet when it’s closed.

For color – stick with black/gray.  It’ll go with everything and it won’t look stupid.  Stay away from rainbow colors, unless you are at the pride parade.  Nothing looks so weird as a person in a nice outfit, carrying a rainbow umbrella.

A final tip on umbrellas:  Don’t be afraid to open it in the store to make sure it opens and closes correctly.   If a shop assistant tries to stop you, leave.  You shouldn’t spend money on a product you aren’t sure will work once you get it home.   Especially something like an umbrella.  If it fails/breaks, you are screwed.  And wet.

Now that the winter months are finally drawing to a close, it’s time to start looking toward the warmer months.  I live in Dallas, where we get about a whole month of Spring and then it’s Summer.  And so, I’m giving out what I consider to be must have items for the next few months.

First up is the Boat Shoe:

This shoe is perfect for the upcoming warm weather.  It looks great during the morning, lunch, happy hour and casual dinners.  I love it for the Hamptons-esque summer vibe that it gives.  When you wear this shoe, you could go from a leisurely coffee on a Saturday morning to a night out on a hot summer night.  Also, this is a great shoe for those men who want to hide their ugly feet.  A lot of men have ugly feet and toenail issues and this shoe keeps the rest of the public (read: me) from having to see your gnarled toes in flip flops.

The shoe above is available at Sperry for $85.  Not a bad price for a shoe that will take you from happy hour on a cool April evening to a late dinner in September.  Historically, it doesn’t get too cold in Dallas until October, so I can’t beat $85 for 6 months of wear.  You can find cheaper versions of this shoe out there, but when buying shoes, I always think that quality is a better reason for buying than price.  However, if you’re only going to wear them a few nights of the spring/summer, then go for the cheap ones.  No sense in paying a lot for a shoe you know you won’t wear.

What to wear these with?  You can’t go too wrong on these.  Though, I will advise that they look best with a khaki pant/short and a nice button-down shirt or a vintage t-shirt.  Will you look like a douche in these?  If you stick with a classic, preppy outfit, you’ll look fine.  But pair them with Dad Jeans and tucked in polo shirt and you’ll like a laid-off banker.

When should you stay away from these?  If you are going to a place that’s outside, then these are perfect.  If you’ll be sitting in a dark steakhouse with a glass of red wine?  Avoid.  These shoes are more for being outside and having fun, then they are selecting a wine to go with your porterhouse.  Also, don’t wear these to the office, even on a casual Friday.

Next post:  Umbrellas.

Stephen Trendy

Oy. I can’t believe I once again abandoned this blog.  I really need to stay on top of it better than I have been.

So – let’s catch up on this thing.  First, I must say that my time for this blog went downhill upon the acquisition of a boyfriend, who we’ll refer to as R for future reference, as I’m sure he wouldn’t want his name attached to a fashion blog, lol.   I don’t have time on weekends to actually research posts and to actually work on this thing.  I have a few post ideas that have been kicking around for the last few weeks and I think now more than ever, I need an outlet.  I can talk about fashion for weeks, and with the Oscars coming up, I’ll really need to talk about things with someone. I won’t be liveblogging the red carpet or anything, but I will have a Post-Oscars wrap-up (focused on the men, mostly).  So those of you who found this by accident, bookmark this site and I’ll have fresh content up in a few days.

Also, you can follow me on twitter – StephenTrendy

Yours,

Stephen Trendy

Sorry for taking so long to get back into blogging. I think I’ll try to write up stuff here more often.  I completely missed blogging about The Fashion Show on Bravo (a channel that is quite in a sad state of programming).  But if you’re interested in Fashion, Project Runway starts in a few weeks. I’ll be blogging on that each day after it airs.  So look for that when the new season starts.  Remember, it’s on Lifetime now!

So, let’s dive right in with menswear 2009, specifically fall.  Now, I live in Dallas, where fall as a season doesn’t really exist.  We have summer and then it stays summer until winter.  But there’s new stuff out for fall that will work for all weathers.  One such item is military-inspired jackets.  Naval, or otherwise and there’s even some goth-y ones out there.  Thankfully, I’m already ahead of the game on this one having bought one 2 years ago at Urban Outfitters (it’s a little Adam Ant, but it works). 

Another thing that’s still gonna carry over from summer is the Deep-V-Neck tops for men.  Now, I’m of 2 minds on this.  First – if you have a nice chest, and the self-confidence to wear this – then by all means, wear it.  However, my other mind is saying that this is a horrible look on most men because most men are doughy and hairy.  But then that makes me feel bad.  Because if you’re confident, then go for it.  However, when you’re freezing your nips off…don’t come crying to me. I incidentally, I also got a deep-V tee at Urban Outfitters last year.  I think I wrote about this trend earlier this year, but whatever.  I changed my mind.

So, there’s 2 trends for menswear.  What does this mean?  Well, I pointed out that I have 2 of these items already to show you that just because something is a trend, doesn’t mean you have to stop wearing it when the trend is over.  Ultimately, fashion is about what makes you feel good and everyone else be damned (except in some cases…like white socks with black shoes or black belt with brown shoes…)

I know that it’s January and that for most people, spring and summer are but distant dreams and the last thing you want to think about right now is shorts and Sperry Top-siders and madras.  Well, you might be thinking about how tasty a madras cocktail would be over mulled wine or hot-buttered rum.  Anyway, there are quite a few new trends that are coming up for Spring and Summer for men.

– Florals.  Now, some men will probably shy away from this one.  I have 2 floral shirts.  And I probably won’t wear either of them.  Because they are both extremely thin and spring around here is not thin fabric weather.  But florals look good on almost anyone and most of the ones I’ve seen for men are subtle or small enough that you could wear them outside of Spring and Summer.

-Suit Separates.  I noticed this on the runway and it’s not that bad a look.  Everyone from Tommy and Ralph to Zegna is doing this.  Pair a dark blazer with lighter trousers (staying in the same fabric family, natch) and you’ve got a fashion-forward look.  Also, it means you have about 5 extra outfits off the basics.

-Backpacks.  Messenger bags are out and backpacks are in.  It’s about bloody time.  I carry a messenger bag, but come March, I’ll be trading in the grey tweed messenger bag for a trendy backpack.  It’s just good sense and better for my back.

-Cuffed shorts.  I cannot endorse this one.  Every guy I see wearing these looks like they are just getting back from playing the back nine at the country club.  Also, they wear loafers with no socks and a shimmery golf shirt and goes to happy hour dressed like that.  In a word: ew.

– And lastly, beach sweaters.  NOT a hoodie.  A tropical lightweight wool sweater perfect for a cool summer night.  Now, I live in Dallas, so I might have to actually purchase this one.  It’d be nice to have on a night out in April when the weather is still cool at night but hot in the evening.  And we’ll be in full-on Daylight Savings Time so it’ll cool down later in the evening, which means I’ll look dumb wearing a heavier jacket.

And so there you have a few trends for the spring and probably the summer.  I’m ok with these.  There are others that I am not.  Actually, I lied.  I’m not okay with cuffed shorts.  Or pleats.  But to each his own.  Just don’t get mad at me if you show up in a Fashion Faux Pas Post.