A precarious economy is no match for beautiful clothes! Here, a few irresistible items for spring 2012 discovered at MRket, Project, MAGIC, Capsule and ENK. Although there was no dominant new trend, there were plenty of fresh takes on existing ones. And let’s face it, most American men have yet to purchase a soft sportcoat, a washed woven shirt in a sun-drenched pale, a slim suit, a skinny tie, colorful jeans. Too often, we in the industry tire of trends before the consumer has ample time to digest them. Here, my Top Ten Picks for Spring 2012:
10. Pocket squares (or pocket circles): Yes there are many great ones around but if the design is properly engineered, the result is a work of art. Here, Dion’s Peter Tsihlias demonstrates the impact of a square with four different-sized dots ($22 cost, retailing well at $85.)
9. Without doubt, the softcoat remains the must-have item of the season. My favorites include styles from Ibiza, Tallia Orange (totally unstructured at $55 wholesale!), Sand, Cooper Jones (in cotton knit and washed double-faced fabrics), Luigi Bianchi (fall goods started reordering in August!) and of course Kroon (wholesales from $125-$195; the seersucker DB at $130 is a winner!)
8. Woven sportshirts: Gorgeous shirts are everywhere, but I fell in love with Culturata (launched in the States just three years ago, this made-in-Italy collection is selling well in upscale stores at under $200 retail; loved the vintage-inspired prints!), Cleve (made in America; huge business in Japan!), Bugatchi (tons of great stuff always), Bill Blass (some beautiful pastel wovens at $60 retail!), Ross Graison’s tissue weights, Ike Behar’s paisleys and of course their clipped shirt ($65, now in its fifth year), Borgo’s beautiful yarn dyes, Forsythe’s fabulous wrinkle-free sportshirts at $35 cost (retailing at $95) and so many magnificent shirts and scarves from Arnold Zimberg!
7. Fresh-looking ties, narrow or otherwise, often in linen blends. Saw many beautiful takes at Daniel Dolce; this perfect tie (great with denim) is from Santorelli.
6. The iPod Jacket, now with earphones on the hood strings! These from Hawke. (Also hot, their short trench coat, $180 suggested retail.)
5. Summer jeans: Loved a “white denim” grouping from Southern Tide in wonderful shades of yellow, green, peach, teal (with the white yarn showing through for a fresh summer look; $110), linen/cotton blends from Agave and Robert Graham’s new denim collection (45 styles, $180-$350 retail).
4. The perfect polo: The surfer-dude logo and four-button placket has created lots of buzz (and new accounts) for Johnnie-O ($65 in cotton, $70 in a tech-y blend); Southern Tide continues to gain momentum with their innovative fabrics and unique philosophy of crediting wholesale accounts on their website sales.
3. Sexy swimwear: T. Christopher has fabulous styles designed to be also worn as shorts, $50 to $54 cost (touches of the swimwear fabrics are incorporated into the knit shirts). And be sure to check out the sensational new swimwear from Papi at Isaco!
2. Talking Points: Product with unique benefits is key for specialty stores with actual sellers. A prefect example: Andrew J “carefree” dress shirts: non-iron, stain-resistant and in-stock, shirts are shipped with a plastic wineglass and spilled wine, guaranteed to stop traffic. Wholesale prices: $40-$50; trimfit is now 20 percent and growing. Another example: the “beer can short” from Hook&Tackle at $38 retail. The pocket is perfect for your favorite drink, or else for eyewear, cell phone, camera, whatever…
1. Great Gifts: I love the RFID-blocked leathergoods and money clips from Würkin Stiffs and the fabulous wine tote (embossed with your store name) from Custom Brand Footwear ($70 cost for the tote; two-week delivery, and, if desired, $125 one-time fee for the store logo heat stamp.) Definite winners for holiday!