Thursday, September 1, 2011

Man Oh Man: Spring Menswear Report

Surprise, surprise, I’m blogging about menswear for all you metrosexuals out there. Besides, I was curious about what the whole trade show experience would be like as opposed to the women’s shows. Boy what a difference a gender makes! Talk about low key and civilized , the MRKET NY trade show at the Javits Center was a pleasure from start to finish. Guys that attended were treated to complimentary barber services provided by Spiff for Men. Personally I would have loved the relaxing massage on offer but duty called.

One of the reasons that I wanted to check out the show was that a lot of women tend to “borrow” stuff from their significant other’s closets so I figured that there would be some interesting items in some of the collections that we would want for ourselves. In no particular order the following resources are just a sampling of the many noteworthy brands exhibiting.

R&G ( is a collection from New Zealand sure to interest the guy who has outgrown Abercrombie & Fitch in terms of age, taste and quality. The brand’s key strengths are shirting, knitwear and pants. We’re talking great fabrics here sourced from around the world (attention ladies, the checked shirts are to die for), plus pants that are cut to fit the average man and not some super skinny fashion model. I also wouldn’t turn down one of the carry on Italian leather luggage items.

TORI RICHARD ( is a brand a little closer to home, Hawaii to be exact. This firm may have started out 50 years ago as just a manufacturer of Hawaiian shirts but boy has it grown to encompass a complete range of apparel for both sexes.

Say yes to either the updated classic cotton lawn “London Garden” long sleeve shirt in navy or the “Year of the Dragon” silk blend short sleeved shirt in paprika with an embroidered dragon on the back – perfect for the trendy guy.

BORSALINO ( is one of the top names in men’s headwear and for my money showed some of the most exciting hats at the show. Personally I flipped for the classic panamas that look great on women as well, but what really knocked my socks off was the high crowned white straw topper in with a black band and “Fashion Balooons” (yes that’s the spelling) cartoon characters design! Totally crazy and definitely a conversation piece.

BARBOUR ( is a name everyone knows by now but there’s more to the collection than just the ubiquitous waxed barn jacket and wellies. I just had to check out the spring/summer accessory range. So listen up ladies and grab one of the Liberty print “Beaufort” cartridge bags, leather trimmed totes or my personal fave, a waxed cotton “Union Jack” printed messenger bag with buckle fastening and adjustable shoulder strap from the Unisex collection. If he wants something a little more butch, get it in the new camouflage print.

MARGARITAVILLE ( is a terrific resource for casual separates like the reversible solid to plaid poplin shorts, the cotton pique rugby polo shirts, French terry hoodies and a snazzy cotton/linen enzyme washed blazer, while his better half might want to filch one of the vintage print cotton poplin shirts.

JOHN LAING (, a Scottish cashmere brand that I’ve never personally heard of but I plan on keeping this firm in my fashion radar from now on. In addition to the men’s sweaters there are some of the most gorgeous ladies pieces as well. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water. For example I crave the v-neck 3 color blocked pullover, a ¾ sleeved 4 color bateau neck pullover and all of the 8 color striped sweaters. From the men’s line I wouldn’t pass up the cashmere cardigan with pockets and suede elbow patches. Just saying…

WOOLRICH ( has been creating comfy casual, functional clothing inspired by the outdoors since 1830 so you know that they must be doing something right. Yes there’s some great stuff for men, yada,yada,yada but let’s focus on the women’s spring collection from the “Vintage Outdoor” range. My picks include the cotton crackle was shapely plaid shirt with patch pockets, the Fairisle jersey, zip front cardigan with striped sleeves and the drawstring waist Capris.

ROYAL HIGHNIES ( offers some 400 thread count pima cotton sleepwear and loungewear for men and women. The story began with the quest to create the perfect boxer short to house the “family jewels” hence the cute name. The company has since gone on to produce elegant men’s robes, tees, ladies nightgowns, tank tops, tunics and pants.

I could go on and on so I’ll just sum up my finds with a summary of some of the other brands to check out” GHURKA’s new travel goods from the Voyager collection, WISECRACKER’s alligator duffels, suitcases and satchels, MARCO FEDERICI’s gorgeous Italian leather and snakeskin belts, AMERICAN ESSENTIALS silk/cotton jersey sleepwear, PENROSE LONDON’s sophisticated neck ties and cuff links and HUSH PUPPIES hip and trendy canvas/leather loafers and the two-tone nubuck updated boat shoe. That’s all for now. It’s back to the ladies next time around! C&C

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Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row