If you’re reading this and are wondering why people in plaid shirts are sprinting past you—don’t worry—coffee shops likely just unleashed the pumpkin spiced latte, not the zombie apocalypse. It’s not even Labor Day, and you see that gourd-infused craft ales already are being poured, football dominates water cooler chit-chat, and every retailer has plastic turkeys staring you in the face.
Fall is almost here.
As much as I will personally savor the last sips of summer along the Susquehanna and be in denial until October, I will look ahead to the crisp air of autumn for style-sake. A few simple swaps will have you ready to conquer the cooler temps.
1. Upgrade at least one hoodie.
Women seem to have a fall uniform: tall boots, tight jeans and scarves. You’ll spot this at any apple orchard, antique barn, or… anywhere, really. Guys can get creative, but most opt for the easy route when it’s chilly—the hoodie.
I still have my college sweatshirt, and, yes, even one from American Eagle (honesty sets you free, I hear). But I’ve also matured my collection to include a cream-and-navy-striped knit hoodie with wooden toggles. And my nickname for four months might as well be “shawl cardigan.” Start with the basic V-neck sweater. I lean towards rich solid colors like indigo, wine or rust.
Save those mustard-stained pullovers for raking leaves and tailgates. If you’re going out for the night or a professional event, hang up the hoodie.
2. Layer up.
Take that sweater and wear a patterned button-down underneath instead of a T-shirt. Crew necks (the rounded ones) tend to suffocate the collars a bit—stick with a V-neck. If you can help it, keep the collar wings tucked in or else you’ll look like Tony Manero. Your shirttails should stay tucked for business and untucked for beers.
Take the same look and throw a suit jacket or blazer over top, and you’ve layered something sweeter than cake. Remember your pocket square and shoe rules (TheBurg, February 2015 and May 2015, respectively), and you will yet again impress the room.
3. Texturize your blazers.
Tweed has returned as king. Well before Under Armour, Scottish gentlemen began wearing tweed around the 1830s as a performance fabric. The “tweel” process to make the fabric allows it to be a breathable, flexible insulator that helped Celtic sportsmen stay warm and dry in the countryside. Folklore has it that a Scottish tailor had too many Glenlivets and the “l” in “tweel” became a “d”—hence tweed.
In today’s world, this is good for, say, the fella that spills his pumpkin-spiced porter on ya at the pub.
Forget the stodgy Harvard professor stereotype. You’ll look even smarter in one of these fine gems. You can find inexpensive vintage tweed blazers with magical leather elbow-patches and buttons at consignment shops or online starting at $20 (ebay user “whiskeyknuckles” has a decent selection). For a quick nip-tuck, you can take it to Top Shelf Menswear’s new Lemoyne store where its tailoring services were expanded—win-win.
Corduroy, our lovable ‘80s fabric, is back with a vengeance. A corduroy blazer on top of a sweater and button down is equally as durable, plush and stylish as tweed. Wear with dark jeans—not cords—or you will look like Professor Jennings. Clue jokes aside, I’ve got one in plum.
Let’s recap your new fall semester syllabus. Upgrade your hoodie, layer your sweaters with button-downs and blazers, and choose rugged texture over fine wool or silk. These simple style cues will take you from freshman on campus to the boss in the boardroom.
If you get hot with all those layers, that’s the point—you can layer down.
I’ve got one more swap for you—your fall drink. Instead of stuffing your gourd with those predictable seasonal brews, try this layered-with-autumn-flavor cocktail I have affectionately named “The Corduroy.”
1 ½ ounces spiced rum
½ ounce cinnamon whiskey
1 ounce apple cider
Squeeze of lemon
Shake over ice, strain, pour over king cube and top with a splash of ginger ale. Garnish with a slice of Granny Smith apple.
Indulge. Stand out.
Our Sharp Press Man, Dave Marcheskie, is a reporter and anchor for abc27 News. If you’d like to ask Dave a question, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. He may use it in a future column.
This column is sponsored by and the clothes were provided by Top Shelf Menswear. Check out their new location in the State Street Plaza, 829 State St., Unit 1009, Lemoyne, 717-770-2080. www.topshelfmenswear.com.