Would a fashionable man wear a paisley tie with a striped shirt? A polo sweater with a suit? A T-shirt with a dinner jacket?
Yes, according to Chip Tolbert, fashion director of the Men's Fashion Association, and his associate fashion director Kevin Krier. These unexpected clothing combinations and many more were shown to an audience of fashion and style editors at the annual MFA press preview in Rye, N.Y., last weekend.
The emphasis for fall is on new ways to mix existing pieces. Tolbert and Krier suggest blending tailored menswear with sportswear for a look they think will be strong this fall: the dandy.
The look falls into three categories: The country dandy sports a hand-knit sweater and tweed jacket, the city dandy might choose a plaid sportcoat and patterned shirt, and the corporate dandy wears his traditional suit with a paisley tie and striped french-cuff shirt.
The pattern of the season is paisley -- in shirts, sweaters and, of course, ties. Important colors are salt and pepper mixes of gray and black, and a touch of purple.
The blazer, still an integral part of a man's wardrobe, is shorter and boxier this year, and shown without a vent. Shoulders are slightly padded and dropped. Many trousers shown were in beefy fabrics -- tweeds and heavy corduroys -- and often pleated and cuffed. And layering is a key to creating an individual statement -- top coat over sportcoat over cardigan over shirt over trousers.
Silver highlights are added to classic black evening wear for a new twist, as in a silver brocade cummerbund or a black and silver T-shirt.
Luxury, elegance and an uncomplicated silhouette are what to look for this fall, and if that means mixed patterns, "that's okay," says Tolbert. "As long as the colors complement each other."