By Joshua Condon
Every season, fashion magazine editors grapple with sartorial one-upmanship, racing to declare that a runway look is the next big thing. The result? We’re made to believe that some pretty unflattering looks are in fashion. Just think of trucker hats and oversized belt buckles. …
Our advice: No matter how much press some new fashion trend garners, if you can’t see yourself still rocking it in five years’ time, take a pass. In that spirit, we’ve picked out five fall trends that can work for anyone, and five that are more hype than hip.
Try This: Camouflage
Hunting- and military-inspired gear has been popular for years now, with actual camo-decked pieces now popping up at fashions shows -- such as Gant by Michael Bastian -- and in notable street-style blogs, in the shape of pocket squares, hats and cargo pants. Just remember, as with any bold pattern, camouflage works best sparingly -- as an accent.
Try This: Hiking Boots
Thick or lug soles are not for every type of shoe (see our “Don’t” section below). But thick-soled hiking boots pair with everything from jeans and cool-weather slacks to suits made from heavier materials like tweed and wool -- something labels like Ralph Lauren and Moncler showed frequently on the fall show runways. For a pair with serious heritage, check out Danner from Portland, Ore. -- and make sure to add some red, green or blue laces for a bit of color.
Try This: Double-breasted Everything
Double-breasted suits and sport coats have slimmed down since the bulky, wide-shouldered Wall Street power-broker days, and the look will be everywhere this fall. Suits, blazers, outerwear: Everyone from Zegna to Native Son showed some variation of the look -- with the most popular being the cropped, soft-shouldered DB sport coats, like this one from Rugby Ralph Lauren.
Try This: Cargo Pants
These aren’t the baggy Abercrombie versions of the ’90s. On the runways and on editors milling around the shows in Milan and Paris, slim-cut versions showed up as suiting and as relaxed (but still tailored) pants dressed up with monk straps or made casual with sneakers. Check out this twill pair from L.L. Bean Signature .
Try This: The Color Brown
Whether you’re talking suiting (Ralph Lauren, Zegna), outerwear (Burberry Prorsum) or accessories (Billy Reid), a rich chocolate-brown is one of the stand-out colors of the fall. Just make sure the design is modern so you don’t slip into the nondescript teddy-bear-brown suits favored by ex-President Ronald Reagan. A little color helps here too. (Hint: Nothing pairs with a chocolate-brown suit quite like a deep-blue gingham shirt.)
Skip This: Sweatpants as Evening Wear
Fashion-y types have been heralding the dawn of the elegant sweatpant -- luxe, tailored versions with high-end materials -- shown by hip labels, like Band of Outsiders. There’s only one problem: No matter how well-cut and expensive the pants are, you’re still wearing sweatpants to the cocktail bar. Don’t be the male version of the late-’90s chick decked out in chenille sweatpants with “Juicy” written across the booty. You can’t pull it off.
Skip This: Lug-sole Dress Shoes
Functional footwear requires the stability of a lug sole; wingtips and lace-ups, not so much. Yet despite the fact that office-worthy shoes shouldn’t be built for trekking up a large slab of rock, lug-soled dress shoes were seen frequently both on and off the runway during the fall fashion shows. These thick-soled mash-ups seemed to be aiming for a touch of Dr Martens London punk, but instead suggested your grandmother’s orthopedic shoes. When it comes to more formal footwear, lug soles are not a flattering look. Stick to slim and sleek.
Skip This: Backpacks in the Workplace
Don’t get us wrong; backpacks are indeed back. (Pun intended.) There are plenty of cool and functional over-the-shoulder examples from the high end (Seirs Marschall for J.Crew Men’s Shop ) to the low (JanSport Heritage ). But remember: They are for off-duty weekend and gym times, not the office. No matter what the fashion editors have hanging from their backs, no one is going to take you seriously if you walk into a meeting looking like an overgrown fourth-grader. Briefcases, old-school or new, still rule the modern workplace.
Skip This: Surf Punk
Fashion editors are all over Rick Klotz’s surf punk-inspired Warriors of Radness line, as it seems to capture some fleeting hipster zeitgeist. No one, however, seems to be bothered by the fact that this has led to drop-crotch harem pants with Zubaz prints. If you are a) an actual surf punk; or b) a street-style hipster who likes tank tops and copious amounts of neon, you’ll find some cool pieces here. But if you’re wearing this stuff because you read some gushing review in GQ or Details, plan to walk around looking like the worst kind of fashion victim.
Skip This: Invisible Tie
You may have seen this look on some wispy actor walking down the red carpet at a movie premiere. He’s got on a suit or sport coat, button-front shirt and no tie … and yet, the top collar button is securely fastened. It’s sometimes called the “invisible tie” look and has been frequently used on the runway by brands like Shipley & Halmos and Dolce&Gabbana. It is often described in magazines as “elegant” or “streamlined.” In reality, though, it just makes you look like an anal-retentive nerd. If you’re not wearing a tie, open your collar.
Photo Credit: @iStockphoto.com/quavondo
QUIET KEYBOARD This wireless rechargeable keyboard won’t make a sound no matter how hard you whack at the keys. Although the diNovo Edge might frustrate your attempts to show off your tireless work ethic to the boss, you can surf Internet dating sites all night without tipping off your girlfriend.
MULTILINGUAL MARVEL Expensive enough to require valet parking, the Optimus Maximus keyboard displays letters and control icons with a light-emitting OLED. It’s customizable for multitasking in multiple codes and languages -- including Cyrillic, ancient Greek, Arabic and HTML -- or for more ambitious activities like video gaming.
LASER SHOW No bigger than a cigarette lighter, the Celluon Virtual Keyboard connects to your computer using a USB dongle and emits an awesome laser-generated keyboard and mouse that allows you to work virtually -- and connect with your inner Obi Wan Kenobi.
BACK TO THE FUTURE Drawing from last century’s gilded sensibilities, this custom, retro-futuristic keyboard will make your desktop worthy of H.G. Wells’ office space. “The Marquis” keyboard has acanthus-leaf engraving on polished brass and key lettering engraved on a mirrored gold acrylic. It’ll make you the envy of any century.
LIGHT FINGER FOLLIES Every time you touch its keys, the Luxeed U7 lights up like the Las Vegas strip -- bringing a little bit of Studio 54 to your dancing fingers. Make sure they dress sharply and get their names on the list -- this is one exclusive keyboard!
PURE LUXURY: BENTLEY MULSANNE The new Bentley Mulsanne's unrivaled pedigree stands out from the pack with an ultra-smooth and more-than-capable 505 hp, 6.8-liter V8 engine that glides from 0 to 62 mph in 5.3 whisper-quiet seconds. As befits its luxury status, the car can be completely customized to taste with over 1 billion possible variations, according Bentley Motors.
STANDOUT CONVERTIBLE: MORGAN AERO 8 Although its production recently ceased, this classically styled roadster is still one of the most fun, head-turning vehicles to roam the highways. While completely hand-built with more than 100 years of heritage packed into the coachwork, its BMW 4.4-liter V8 pumps out 312 hp -- moving this homage to yesteryear from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.2 seconds.
Tiny Tower seems like a simple, if not silly, game. But that's how it gets you addicted. The premise, like SimCity, is to build your own world -- in this case a tower. The more floors you build, the more money you can make to spend on building more floors ... and the hook is set.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
How many passwords do you have to remember? Thanks to 1Password, you can keep all of your security codes safe and secure on your smartphone. All you have to do is remember one four-digit code and a master passcode, and the info is encrypted and backed up on your computer.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Yes, the camera on the iPhone 4S is better than previous incarnations. But besides flash and zoom, it leaves us a little cold. Turn your 4S into a virtual DSLR with all the bells and whistles you get with said device, plus all the features you’d expect from a smartphone, such as visual filters.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch
Even if you were born in the CD era, chances are you remember mixed tapes. Bring them into the digital age with the app that turns your digital music player into a virtual portable cassette deck that blasts loaded playlists and helps you create the perfect mix to play and then share on Facebook.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch
Didn't you hear? The end of the world is happening on Dec. 21, 2012. Skeptical? Then check out this app, which explores all the coincidences between the Mayan prediction and what science says. At the very least you'll be prepared to handle the impending end of time.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
The premise of KaleidaCam is simple: Turn your iPhone's camera into a kaleidoscope. You can adjust the trippy-ness of the created image by choosing one of four to 10 slides. It leads to hours of mindless fun for the whole family. You can even take pictures of your creations and send them to Facebook and Twitter.Platforms: iPhone
This mobile app puts Thrillist reviews in the palm of your hand so you can be the guy who knows the coolest places to eat, drink and shop. Using your device's GPS function, it'll tell you the top places to spend your time and money in more than 19 cities. You'll never have a boring night again.Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android
'Tis the season for holiday parties, full of finger foods, drinks and treats. This app will track your weight well into the new year so you can stop the festivities from settling around your waist. Just log your bites, licks and tastes, and the food database will calculate the calories you've consumed. Then log your workouts to determine how many calories you burned.Platforms: iPhone, iPad
If you thrive on new music, this is a must-have app. Band of the Day introduces you to an artist that you need to know about every day. You get a bio, a song to listen to, a stream of Facebook/Twitter comments about the artist, videos to view and a list of albums that you can buy, right from the app.Platforms: iPhone
Think of this app as your secret weapon to achieving culinary nirvana. It puts all of the advice from the well-respected epicurean website of the same name in the palm of your hand. We love the seasonal options on the home screen that help make sure your feasts are weather-appropriate.Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android, Nook, Windows Phone
Finding a new place to hang your hat just got a whole lot easier, thanks to the new Trulia mobile app. The clean design of the interface makes it a snap to search homes to rent or to buy Features include sort by price, search by location, and email real estate agents directly.Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
The latest incarnation of the Bloons game franchise gets the smart-phone makeover, and it is still as addictive as ever. The objective remains the same: prevent balloons from getting from one part of the maze to the other using your arsenal of dart monkeys, rockets, battleships and other WMDs.Platforms: iPhone, iPad
The latest army of food carts has turned most city streets into a mobile gourmet road show. But how do you know when your favorite Korean BBQ truck will be by your office? Using Google maps and your iPhone's GPS, StreetEats lets you track your favorite carts and see which ones are in your immediate area and how long they'll be there.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch
With all of the news available to us, it's hard to cut through the noise and get what you're looking for. Editions by AOL is an app that curates a custom, easy-to-navigate daily newsmagazine based on your interests, location, Facebook friends and Twitter followers. The more you use the app, the more highly customized it becomes.Platforms: iPad
Sick of the same old vodka martinis? Not sure what to do with that bottle of amaretto? InMyBar's simple interface lets you plug in all the booze you have in your liquor cabinet. Then, the app creates a list of all the cocktails you can make, or it lets you know what remaining ingredients you need in order to make a specific drink.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Music nerds, welcome to heaven. This app tracks music blogs and culls their favorite tunes from the Web, then lets you create your dream radio station. The genre section alone offers more than 100 options -- perfect for deep dives into your particular mood. You can even track what your friends are listening to.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch
Watch your favorite music videos in HD with VEVO HD, which features 45,000 videos, including intimate performances by your favorite artists; a music map showing which videos people are listening to in your area; artist tour information; and ticket-buying capabilities.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Meeting a lovely lady is now as easy as whipping out your ... cell phone. Blendr collects your favorite interests and then helps match you up with female companions who live in your area and have similar interests. Browse photos, check in to venues and even chat with folks from your own neighborhood.Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
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