The days of fitting into “a box”, when it comes to style, are long gone.

With having access to so many forms of technology and social media, we have influences coming from literally all over the world.

For black men, style has often been influenced by cultural roots in African culture or Hip-Hop culture – they all play an important role in how men dress today.  From dashikis to baggy jeans – the evolution of a black man’s style has come a long way.  Personally, I’m influenced by color, current trends, affordability and comfort.  I believe every man’s wardrobe should be built on a great foundation made up of these staple pieces:

  • Blacks suit (tailored)
  • Black and a brown dress shoe
  • White button-up shirt
  • White t-shirt
  • Great pair of jeans

However, men in general, have come to realize that they can also be front runners in the race of fashion and evolve with the changing trends and ideas.

(IMG: SuitSupply Lookbook 2012/13. Alberto Ziveri. Flickr. CC BY 2.0)

With events like New York fashion week or with televised red carpet specials, we are alerted to what is “in” for the season. Incredibly, this fashion season seemed to not really pay attention to the season at all. Due to the exceptionally warm weather as of late, nearly every designer presented fall/winter collections that felt spring-like in nature. Also, nearly every collection featured a muted orange color and it looked flattering on a myriad of skin tones. The changes being made once again to denim exhibit another twist in basic fashion staples. Jeans will now have a fuller leg, racing stripes, distressed finish, or even multiple finishes.

Turtlenecks have re-surfaced. Fitted, baggy, plain or printed – turtlenecks have TRULY made a comeback this fall/winter. They were shown with jeans, dresses – casual and dressy. Turtlenecks were shown in almost every collection. Both menswear and womenswear presented this trend in a fresh and exciting new way.

(IMG: Men’s Style Portrait_Barney A Bishop_NX30. Barney Bishop. Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0)

As always, layering is a MUST this fall. Pairing your favorite graphic t-shirt with a cool denim jacket makes for that classic casual look that never goes out of style. Want something less causal? Try a knitted polo shirt over a long-sleeved button-up or pair it with a rockin’ jacket or blazer.

Finally, the trend for bomber jackets shows no sign of departing (great pun!) anytime soon; however, this season the item is soaring toward high-end finishes and fabrics more than ever before. Luxurious velvets, leathers and wools were some of the many looks on display, and included rich embellishment work incorporated into the various designs. Whether it’s beautiful, intricate hand embroidery or interesting badges sewn onto the surface, look out for bombers with that extra detail this winter.

(IMG:Dance: NastyRay + Floor Drama: Unique Freeze. Bobbie Vie. Flickr. CC BY 2.0)

Regardless of the current trend, it is most important to be you.

Do not try to be something or someone  you are not. Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but always aspire to create and evolve your own style. Giving the appearance of being cool can be as simple as that “right” pair of sunglasses, or that great pair of leather boots. Hopefully men can take these trends and use them to build their own personal style, or maybe update an already great foundational wardrobe. No matter what trend one chooses to adopt, remember – fashion should always be fun and comfortable.

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