Southern Style

Southern Style - Men's Fashion

Ok, guys. It’s time to be honest with ourselves and with those who care about us. We know little if anything about fashion. We pay virtually no attention to seasonal colors or developing trends.

The truth is, if not for the watchful eye of loved ones that include our wives, moms or significant others, we’d probably wear the same clothes for days without the slightest care or worry. This is not a good thing. And no, you’re not being thrifty.

Now, in full disclosure, I have been targeted on numerous occasions for wearing the same khaki shorts, sandals and whichever Columbia PFG fishing shirt I find first. Truth be told, that ensemble is what I’m wearing as I write this article. So there it is.

However, we should never be adverse to change, and sometimes those who love us might love us more if we made an effort in areas we’d otherwise ignore. Who knows? We might actually find some things we like.

Getting started on being more fashion conscious may be as easy as remembering an age-old abbreviation, but with a twist: K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple & Southern)

The idea that men today have to adhere to every stylistic suggestion published in GQ, Esquire or on The Trend Spotter is silly. You don’t have to throw out your horizontal stripes because verticals are in, nor do you have to toss out those Chacos because Birkenstocks are the thing (again). According to Sara McClain of McClain & Co., it can start by paying attention to what women are wearing.

“A lot of the trends for men parallel those for women,” she said. “We are seeing a lot of bright colors for spring and summer. They include variations of greens and blues, and coral is again very popular.”

McClain also said we shouldn’t be too surprised to see some fall colors carrying over. “There were a lot of maroons, burgundies, and olives that were popular. They’re still here for this season, so you can work them into your spring and summer.”

McClain also said jeans designers are getting more creative which can give us guys more options while still wearing a style we’re most comfortable in. “The multi-color jean cut pant is something you can dress down and dress up these days,” she said. “These styles are comfortable and rugged but still capable of being dressed up when the situation calls for it.”

While we’re on the subject of the always reliable clothing standards, what about t-shirts? They’re classic. They’re comfortable. They’re sometimes creative. Jordan Mountjoy of Saline County-based Rock Monkey Outfitters tries to check all three of those boxes when designing his shirts with guys in mind.

“We develop designs and themes that give you the sense of being a part of something,” he said. “Our slogan, ‘Living the Dream,’ originated just like that. It’s a casual laid-back approach, but it’s exactly what we’re doing. I think people are looking for that same feeling in their clothing.”

And to pull that off, Mountjoy says guys may want to think oversized when grabbing their comfort summer wear. “The big T-shirt is the popular thing right now. It’s a unisex design, and they’re larger shirts with unique art that works for men and women.

If t-shirts turn out to be your way to go for a stylish season, there’s one Rock Monkey design that’ll have to find its way into the rotation.

“The ‘Living the Dream’ Jeep t-shirt; it’s our bread-and-butter,” Mountjoy said. That’s an early design, and it’s a shirt we market in any color. We could put the design on a short sleeve, tank top or a long sleeve. It doesn’t matter.”

Sara McClain agrees. When it comes to guys, their comfort, and their unique t-shirts, the question isn’t if they’ll stock up. It’s how many will they buy?

“They all have themes that appeal to men, she said. “Maybe there’s a design with a man holding a bourbon or whiskey, and there might be another that has an outdoor theme. All of that is directed to our male customers, and the response is usually positive.”

McClain, who admits she gauges emerging fashion trends by what her 13-year-old daughter wears, also points out that men are getting more and more creative with accessories from head-to-toe.

“Trucker hats are very popular. A number of designers are introducing their own lines and themes,” she said. “We’re also seeing guys dress up with colorful socks and boxers. They’re the little things that give an outfit some personality.”

McClain says a few guys are brave enough to shop for themselves and do a pretty darn good job of coordinating their outfits. Others, however, may be forced to rely on a more keen eye and opinion. “They just go with what the woman chooses for them, and they know they should wear it.”

It’s a simple approach that can’t go wrong.