Matthew Singer, Director of Men’s Fashion for Neiman Marcus, has plenty of tips on how men can look their best. From the perfect pair of shoes to this season’s must-have accessories, Singer is well-versed in the wonder of men’s wardrobes. The fashion expert phoned City Linkfrom New York to talk about the manlier side of fashion.
Who is your favorite fashion designer?
“It’s hard to pinpoint a favorite. I’m loving what Tom Ford is doing these days. It’s super masculine and chic. I love Michael Bastian. It’s very Americana and luxurious.”
What are the hottest trends for men this fall/winter?
“I’m loving the patterned suit, whether it’s a hounds tooth or glen plaid. In sportswear, the colored five-pocket jeans and trousers are in. Spice tones like pumpkin, mustard and saffron are very big right now. And I’m excited about alternative eveningwear. It’s really about upping the ante with a beautiful dinner jacket such as an electric blue velvet blazer from Tom ford or a printed evening jacket from Etro paired with tuxedo pants.”
What’s the must have accessory every man needs in his wardrobe this minute?
“Soft portfolio cases were all over the runways for spring and at the moment, the scarf is the best way to complete your outfit. I don’t think guys are thinking about it in a fashion sense as much as they should. They’re looking at scarves more out of necessity as the weather gets colder. Color-blocking and printed scarves are really great to pull together a look. And the utility vest is another trend that works well this season, especially in warmer climates such as South Florida.”
What is the biggest challenge with men’s fashion?
“Menswear is having a moment right now. It’s exciting to see how men are embracing color, patterns and taking more time to look good. Shows like 'Mad Men' and 'Boardwalk Empire' have definitely helped. These shows are showing beautiful, interesting clothing in a masculine way.”
The bow tie made a comeback in recent seasons. Is it still a relevant look?
“It’s more about the pocket square than the bow tie this season. When I travel I take two jackets and seven pocket squares.”
What are your thoughts on vintage wear for men?
“I grew up on vintage and a vintage tie, belt or pocket square can really add to your look. I was raised on Long Island and my father would always take me to vintage stores. I didn’t really appreciate vintage much then, but I certainly do now.”
Are fedoras over?
“Hats are interesting. They can tend to look a little costumey. I don’t like the way I look in hats but I love a hat on a man when it’s on the right man.”
Were there any men’s fashion trends you were happy to see go away?
“The triple-pleated pant trend. I won’t miss that.”
Do you have any wardrobe regrets growing up?
“With fashion, it’s experimental. You have to try out different looks and see what works for you. I was in a grunge phase in high school wearing thermal and flannel under overalls and I don’t see myself ever revisiting that look. I went from that to thinking I was a cast member on 'Beverly Hills, 90210' and I wore a white T-shirt and jeans daily for several years.”
Speaking of jeans and a T-shirt, is there any way guys can dress that classic look up?
“I really like the way jeans and a T-shirt looks on its own, but you can throw a cardigan over it or a softer structured jacket to change the look.”
What are your predictions for men’s fashion trends for 2013?
“We’ll be getting into resort wear and there’s a strong Italian seaside-chic vibe. It will be very 1940’s Italy-inspired like the clothing in The Talented Mr. Ripley.”
Some call it a man bag. Others call it a murse. What are your thoughts on men’s bags?
“I hate the ‘murse’ title. I carry a tote bag to work every day. It’s a navy blue canvas bag with leather straps. Men carry as much stuff as women do these days. I have my iPad, iPhone, papers—all kinds of stuff. Until they invent a suit jacket with a pocket to hold all that, I need my tote bag. I embrace the man bag. A tote or soft briefcase is also a great option. I love what Want les Essentials de la vie is doing with their very minimal and easy to wear men’s bags.”
What shoes should men be wearing now?
“Good ones are important. Shoes should last and feel good. I don’t save money on my shoes. All men should have a pair of double monk strap shoes, classic or tassel loafers and black lace up shoes in their closet. You don’t need a lot of shoes; you just need good shoes.”
We’ve seen an evolution in men’s jeans over the years. What jeans work best?
“The classic five-pocket straight leg jean is good for men. There’s a move toward cleaner, less embellished jeans. A brand I’m loving these days is 3x1 jeans.”
What will you be doing on your South Florida tour of local Neiman Marcus stores?
“I’ll be working one on one with customers. We’re going to have models. It’s going to be informal and a lot of fun. I love working with our customers.”
Matthew Singer will be at Neiman Marcus in Boca Raton 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 16. For more information call 561-417-5151.
Contact Joanie Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her tweets at Twitter.com/joaniecox.