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Fashion substitutions for the autumn gentleman

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A much-anticipated publication has arrived for fashionistas, and newsstands are already plump with extra magazine pages; it’s The September Issue. This yearly edition of fashion magazines is the succeeding season’s fashion forecast, with temperatures ranging from the upper- to mid-Fabulousness.

Thumbing through GQ and Details, arguably the best and most widely available men’s fashion magazines, I wear my largest sunglasses in honor of Anna Wintour— Vogue’s editor-in-chief and the inspiration for “The Devil Wears Prada.” Gentlemen, no need to fret, for I have the inside scoop on what to wear when the leaves turn in the Quad and the snow falls on Tegeler Field.

Since we are college men confined to strict budgets, we don’t have extra cash to throw around for a $3,000 couture suit jacket from Prada. I don’t expect you to parade around campus in a three-piece on your way from Coronado to bio lab, but here are some tips to ensure that you’re still looking spiffy this fall:

  •  Leave the hoodies for lazy Sunday mornings around the room. When you decide to emerge for a recovery brunch at Gries, throw on a shawl-collar sweatshirt— popped or unpopped, this refined garment ages you (in a good way) from the uniform of a public school seventh-grader to the 20-year-old gentleman that you are, or pretend to be.
  •  Sweatpants are for the gym, not an evening stroll through Forest Park. As tempting as it may be to throw on these warm and comfortable go-to pants, take the extra 10 seconds to find your muted chinos amidst your strewn-about laundry that may or may not be clean. Dress it up during the day with an Oxford shirt, and wind it down in the evening by throwing a wool cardigan over a V-neck. In a rush? Keep it classy with the cardigan over the Oxford.
  • You are not on a boat and summer is over. Put the Sperrys in the closet and tell them to hibernate until Memorial Day; frat boys, don’t cry just yet— a viable option to replace your beloved top-siders is a loafer. Or try a desert boot like Clarks, which come in an assortment of materials (e.g. canvas or traditional suede, which may require some care in regard to water treatment and regular brushing).
  • Don’t forget about your piggies. How upset would your mother be if she knew that your feet were cold? St. Louis gets too cold, too quickly for the extra socks in the finals care package that she’ll send you. And respect the type of shoe in which your sock resides — dress shoes require dress socks. A white, crew-cut sock protruding from your black Wingtips when you cross your legs is unbecoming and unsightly. Argyle or striped socks have flair and class!
  • Be bright and noticeable with accessories. You only wear scarves and hats for a moment or two while walking to class, anyway. Why not stand out and be spunky with an orange puffball winter hat? Find a fair-trade, handmade knit scarf so that you’ll be the only one with that unique design. Keep a pair of leather gloves on hand (pun intended) for a more refined look.
  • Don’t be a square. You’re a big boy now, and you should have a big boy coat. It shouldn’t be boxy; rather, the fit should be trim— but keep in mind, when trying it on, that you’ll have more bulky sweaters underneath. A wool blend will protect you from the cold, even if you spill your coffee on it. And don’t even think about bringing back your North Face jacket; nothing says, “I succumb to marketing ploys” better than that.
  • The deeper the temperatures plunge, the deeper your scent should, too. Fresh scents are for the spring. Muskier scents are for the fall. While smelling like you just hopped out of the shower might be great for a dinner on the beach, a heavier scent fits better for an evening in with hot chocolate and your lady or man. Also, skip the chain store “signature” scents and head right for the designer labels— nothing smells worse than a glorified body spray.

On this fall’s menu, substitutions are not only allowed, but mandated. This is a plea on behalf of a college sartorialist on a quest for attention to small details for the bigger picture. Fashion and style are nuanced and highly individual institutions. Funky socks versus banal tube socks provide a better definition of your personality. It’s not what you wear— it’s how you wear it. Confidence goes a long way in pulling off an outfit that you’ve never worn before. Having the swag of, “Oh, this? I just threw it on this morning. Pish posh,” conveys that you are more put together than you might truly be. I hope to see you on campus this fall, sporting gentlemanly attire— keep yourself noticeable.

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