At New York Fashion Week, men get bright colors

Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:00pm EDT
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By Phil Wahba

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Men's fashion is getting more colorful and classic designs are being refreshed with unusual fabrics as people look to their clothes to help them stand out in a tough economy, top buyers said during Fashion Week.

Spring fashions will focus less on mainstays, such as gray suits and silk ties, and more on fabrics such as linen and patterns such as plaid.

Men are ready to have fun again after years of sartorial austerity, buyers said. They want their clothes to give them a boost in a competitive job market. And that means moving beyond the same old, same old, experts said.

"What he doesn't want to do is buy things that look like what he already has," Durand Guion, Macy's Inc vice president of men's fashion, told Reuters.

Menswear has long been a relatively small business for retailers. Indeed, last year, women's clothing sales at luxury chain Saks Inc were more than twice as big as men's.

But retailers said the cultural shift that has made men more aware of fashion is permanent and can be a major source of growth. Neiman Marcus Group singled out men's as a strong category on its quarterly earnings call on Tuesday.

"Men are willing to take more risks, they're willing to experiment more," said Chris Cox, vice president of design and creative at Nautica, a unit of VF Corp.

The theme at Nautica's spring 2012 men's collection was a California road trip, featuring indigo suits made of linen, which the buyers agreed would be a popular fabric in spring.   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation from the Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2012 collection during New York Fashion Week September 12, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>