Retro classics get manly edge at French Connection Canada
Women rocking nautical stripes isn’t really newsworthy in the world of fashion. After all, we’ve been waving our Saint-Tropez freak flag every spring and summer for more than half a century now. It is, however, somewhat newsworthy when it comes to mainstream men embracing this classic yachtsman’s look. Yes, that’s right—preppy sailor threads aren’t just for campy guys and indie rockers anymore. This season we may actually see couples fighting over who gets to wear their stripes on which day. According to Charmain Emerson, the VP of marketing for French Connection Canada, that kind of overlap between the sexes is fairly rare.
“It’s seldom that looks for men and women are actually crossing over and meeting at the same time,” says Emerson from her home office in Toronto. “But this particular season, we have seen at least a couple of crossovers—this being the biggest.”
While some are perfectly comfortable tapping their inner Chuck Bass with a French Connection white-and-navy V-neck striped T ($24.99), brown leather Sabian deck shoes ($89.99), and some chinos, there are those traditional guys who’d prefer to give their jaunty stripes a manly edge. Emerson has the following rule for them.
“Number one: always wear jeans if you’re a rugged guy and you want a bit of the machismo to shine through,” she says. “Just wear your jeans. So simple: jeans, deck shoe, T-shirt—done.”
Another hot look for guys this summer (and sorry ladies, this one’s pretty much a boys–only trend)—is the polo shirt, which obviously for the country club set, never really went away. But now it carries some cool cat, Rat Pack panache.
“We know the polo shirt has been around forever and a day; however, what has happened this particular season for men is there’s been a step back in time, so the polo shirt look has gone a little bit retro,” says Emerson, adding: “It’s gone back to the days of Frank Sinatra and all those straw fedora hats.”
Again, if guys want to give their polo some guy’s-guy grit, jeans are key here. Unless, of course, you’re feeling a little adventurous.
“The guys who are fashion-forward—they’ll wear shorts,” says Emerson. “And what you’re seeing is just nice, clean, straight-cut shorts that come up above the knees one to two inches.”
If you’re set on sporting cargo shorts in particular this summer, but you don’t want to look like camper Dad, go for lighter fabrics, smaller pockets, and more tapered legs. French Connection’s blue-and-white plaid cotton Galac board shorts ($39.99) are a great example of this cut.
And if you have the balls to clash those plaid bad boys with a striped shirt, all the better. That’s because mixing and matching your patterns is also hot for guys this summer. This is not always easy to pull off, so if you’re afraid your pieces look too loud together, Emerson suggests you do the following: “Stand in front of a mirror. If you think it looks good, go out there and wear it with confidence—that’s how trends get started.”
Her final piece of advice for guys this summer?
“Fashion and what you wear is up to the individual,” she says. “I encourage everyone to be cheeky and have fun.”