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Fashion Tips for the Guys

It’s all about the guys with Neiman Marcus Men’s Fashion Director Matthew Singer, who shares his tips for looking sharp and what’s in and out in men’s fashion.

Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

A well-dressed man is a wonderful thing. And, thanks to Matthew Singer, men’s fashion director at Neiman Marcus, East Bay men with sartorial swagger will catch your eye in the latest trends. Singer sat down with Carolyn Rovner, stylist and owner of C2 Style, and shared his views on updating a guy’s wardrobe, his favorite designers, and the single accessory that might just change your life.


Where did you get so fashion savvy?

I think it came from my parents. My dad is in the ladies clothing business, and he and my mom always had style and aesthetic. I remember our home was always decorated beautifully. It was there I paid attention to detail, and later wandered into the retail world.


Tell me about the menswear trends for summer 2013.

Trends for men are less revolutionary and more evolutionary. 

This season is inspired by the 1950s looks of the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley: a super chic, Italian Riviera kind of feeling, relaxed and suave. It’s letting go of the necktie and wearing a pocket square instead. It’s all about the pocket square! Also, choosing texture (like silk and linen) in your suiting, and color. Men are embracing color more.


Who are your all-time favorite designers, and which up-and-coming ones do you like?

You can’t argue with what Mr. Ralph Lauren has done to the industry; he’s classic and iconic. Tom Ford is super special and unique. When you’re wearing anything from his collection, people know what you’re wearing, and it’s quite elegant. He’s doing amazing things right now.

Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

What are three ways to update a man’s wardrobe?

  1. Color: You don’t have to wear color from head to toe. Start with one piece—say your trousers, for example—and pair them with a navy blazer. Instead of khakis, wear slacks with color. Take baby steps when it comes to integrating the trends into your wardrobe, so that you don’t feel completely uncomfortable.  Colors can be subtle—they don’t have to be bright.
  2. Print: Interpret prints in your own way. If you’re not about a multi-colored print, then wear a tonal print on a shirt or a short.
  3. The soft loafer: This shoe dresses up your look, taking shorts and a polo up a notch from a sneaker or a flip-flop.


Courtesy of Neiman MarcusWhat annoys you about the way that men dress?

What makes me crazy is “too much.” You want to be on-trend, not be the trend. You don’t have to wear everything at once. Playing with pattern and mixing and matching is an art, so you have to do it with a certain amount of thought and care. You experiment, and sometimes you miss. That’s ok. It’s not a talent that everyone has.


What do you recommend for summer suiting?

Every man should have a cotton summer suit that has a bit of linen or silk in it to give it some texture, either tan or navy.


What do you recommend men wear to a function described as “cocktail chic?”

I’ve decided that when I get an invitation to a wedding or other dressy event—unless it calls for black tie—that I’m not wearing a tie.  And I’m opting to use my pocket square as a replacement.  It’s a little bit more relaxed, yet it’s still dressed up.  I also like a white or cream dinner jacket—very elegant.


Where do you draw the line on “fun” socks?

I don’t. Fun socks are a great way for a man to express himself with color from a casual outfit (jeans, khakis) up to and including a suit.  There are only so many elements where a man can play with color—the tie, pocket square, socks, and swim trunks. They can be a great conversation starter, and I think they’re cool.


Courtesy of Neiman MarcusWhat fashion myths would you like to de-bunk?

Fashion rules are meant to be broken. You’ve got to feel comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing. I like my pants at a certain hem length, others like a break. It’s all about preference.


Whose style do you admire?

Stefano Tonchi, the editor of W Magazine, is someone that I’ve looked at throughout my career and said, “That guy nails it every time.” He’s always put together, and is someone I’ve always looked up to. Very chic.


What’s in? What’s out?

The party shirt (like Cam wears on Modern Family)? Not sure, but it’s for a very brave man.

Facial hair?  Almost out.

Fedoras? Out.

Man-bag? Definitely in. Choose a style that works for you—a tote, a classic briefcase or a portfolio. A “murse”? No. A “man-bag”—YES!

Bowties? Classic. Timeless.

Courtesy of Neiman MarcusMan-sandals? For the beach or a resort location ONLY.

Jack Purcell sneakers? Iconic.

Pleated slacks? Out.

Man-spanx? Out.

Cargo shorts? Out.

Sweater vests? In. A good layering piece.

A sport coat worn with a t-shirt? Out.

Camouflage? Iconic.

Penny loafers? In.

You can shop new men’s styles at Neiman Marcus, 1000 S. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 279-3000, neimanmarcus.com.