Monday, September 29, 2008

Runway - Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc: Fall 2008

Although I’m not typically a huge fan of Marc Jacobs’ menswear lines (how can such a genius with women’s clothing play it so safe with men?), this last season did offer guys a few fantastic options that take us a bit beyond the classics.

Leggings and tights have been pushed on men quite a bit in the past few seasons. We have recently seen them all over the runway from mainstream cores (such as Calvin Klein) to the avant-garde grunge (such as John Galliano). For obvious reasons, men do not yet feel comfortable in such revealing pieces. The saturation of men’s super-skinny jeans has allowed us to enter into the world of slender bottoms that re-expose a piece of the true male form. But what happens after you’ve become addicted to a willowy silhouette, but are sick being confused for an emotional young suburbanite due to your skin tight denim? Marc Jacobs has provided us with the perfect next step without forcing us to start shopping in women’s hosiery: long underwear essentially glorified to outerwear status through Jacobs’ typical us of luxe materials and evolved cuts. Although, definitely not a piece for men who are still hesitant about anything that’s not baggy, it does provide another choice for those growing beyond skinny jeans.

This addition of thick leggings provides more options for executing the “skinny on the bottom, big on top” silhouette while ensuring that our every desire for comfortably indulging in a gloomy winter day has been met. Note how, although essentially wearing skin-tight long underwear, the above outfit still looks badass due to the heavy bulkiness created from large pieces on top. A word of warning, as any man well-submerged in the peg legged pants would give, is that footwear will require a bit of forethought. Even some of the most streamlined men’s shoes can look chunky and awkward once suddenly exposed to a narrow ankle. Before planning on wearing such an outfit, ensure your closet contains a particularly slim pair of shoes (test your pairs at home by seeing if they look good when worn without socks) or, even easier, a pair of boots ranging anywhere from angle to knee height will get the job done.

Lastly, please make sure that your top maintains the correct proportions. Not only does the “big on top” part require your sweater to drop below your hip line in order to pull off the look, but, depending on the cut of your new leggings, a longer shirt may also offer an appreciated bit of coverage. Vanguard doesn’t, after all, want to start having to recommend undergarments that include dance belts and tube socks.

In his more playful Marc line, we see Jacobs becoming a tad more experimental, particularly with men’s proportions. Sometimes, knickers can appear a bit flighty; here bold stripes provide weight, especially when combined with heavy socks that join with shoes to create an anchor for the outfit. Exposed socks can be a bit difficult to pull off, but can be worth the effort if you want an alternative to boots for this Fall.

The above outfit is particularly interesting as it can be viewed almost as a proportion study of men’s overalls (notice Shane’s overalls in the post below to further view these proportions). Observe how, although not actually overalls (the bottom of the shirt is simply the same color of the pants), the outfit does creates a similar breaking point between the chest and waist that adds a lot of visual weight below this point. To keep the outfit from becoming frumpy and shapeless, the waist retains a subtle definition while an open focal jacket creates a strong vertical line. Meanwhile, knicker-length pants keep the bottom from becoming disproportionately heavy. Again, the knickers are anchored with heavy socks.

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