5 Things of the Moment: Fall 2011 Preview

Fall is upon us and whether you’re riling off a blistering summer (in some parts of the world) or a milder one (in others) the temperature has irrespectively cooled. The days get shorter, the sun burns cooler and the day’s now-tolerable balminess melts with the evening breeze.

SOON, a mere three to four weeks, the more full onslaught of fall will, er, fall and by the time the snows come down in November we’ll all have our coats and thick sweaters to protect us, but what about now?! In-between seasons is always tricky and in truth, should all clothes just be white in color, there would be no real distinction between the clothing-of-choice in that cusp between winter and spring than the one between summer and fall.

So what’s the difference since one, unless one fancied themselves Cistercian monks, could not live on white (clothes) alone?

In truth the seasonal cusps as discussed above (namely spring-summer and summer-fall) are dominated by smart layering, thin lightweight sweaters, cotton jackets and a return to jeans and long chinos and/or depending how cool the evenings get, light-weight “pin-wale” corduroys. The MAIN DIFFERENCE between, say, the aforementioned lightweight sweater in the beginning of Spring and the one in the beginning of fall is mainly one thing: Color.

Spring colors, not inadvertently, celebrate and echo the incoming seasons explosion of colors often found in nature- this is where ultra-masculine (and impossibly fashionable) Italian men break out their pastel-colored sweaters and yellow or bright blue pants, loose their socks and roll-up their shirt sleeves. Fall colors follow the same lead and browns, ambers, and ivories dominate. See below for an example:

{The chap on the left is wearing a spring sweater- note light, pastel colors of spring flowers.
The chap on the right, on the other hand, is wearing fall colors and hence a fall sweater…}
Needless to say a man’s style must be timeless and, at the risk of sounding contrived, classic. So it is why we here at TGG seldom play the “This season’s must have sweater…” game: it’s just stupid. We do this, risking the fact that we will often sound repetitive, as year after year, for the most part, save for particular idiosyncrasies of waning fashion-trends, we will always recommend that cable-cashmere sweater (for the Fall) or the washed red chinos (for the Spring and Summer). The men’s fashion cycle is a slow one, and things certainly come in and out of fashion (said red pants are now cropped shorter, fitter and flat-fronted; who’s not to say in then years the norm doesn’t sing back to baggy and pleated?).

In the interest of not digressing (or boring ye…) we shall continue onward with what we are calling our “Fall Preview”: 5 things to keep an eye out for this fall’s line-up. All of these items will fit-in today’s weather as it should November’s (layering may be necessary)

{Remember to leave us comments if you have your own suggestions on our comments page!}




The Cord...

Many men fell queasy at the though of corduroy; it get’s a bad rap, especially in the US where it is mostly identified with disgruntled teenagers lugging skateboards heavy with angst. What’s more corduroys are not very flattering on individuals of shall we say, “advanced girth,” pair that with the propensity of larger waist-sizes in America’s men. However, as is evident by the myriad-shaped middle-aged men proudly donning corduroys in the fall/winter from Florence to Berlin it is no doubt the go-to trousers for men during this time. The “lines” and ridges running down corduroy are called ‘wales’ and the rule of thumb (ROT alert!) is the thicker the man (i.e. girth, legs, thighs etc) the thinner the wale should be. A thin, lanky man can afford a thicker wale.

                                                                                              {Non-frumpy cords…}

For the summer-fall-cusp try thin wale, light-weight corduroys in colors that are not too dark (and therefore won’t clash with the still live-green hanging on to trees) but won’t seem out of place: colors such as “blue smoke”, light khakhi, and light gray. Our favorite collection of cords this season are coming from Bonobos and range from 80USD to 105USD. Curduroys are trousers and should use the same “fit” guidelines as any other pair of pants!


Summer-into-Fall Sweater

Our editor-in-chief once noted that on his first trip to Verona Italy he noticed

“… all these men, of all age-types, walking around with light, almost see-through, feather-soft sweaters and cardigans thrown on top of their shoulders and back; the sweater sleeves sometimes tied in front of their chests, others simply let the sleeves hang … it was 90F and hot so I was perplexed as to why these men were carrying around sweaters on their backs!? Of course, they knew something I didn’t’—once 6:30PM came around, the sky polarized to a deep shade of purple with pink highlights and the air picked up a pronounced chill. And there I was, sitting at Trattoria Giovanni, overlooking the magnificently illuminated ancient Roman arena that is so ubiquitous with this city, and frankly, freezing my ass off. All around me, the men of Verona sat, carefree, shirt-sleeves once rolled-up the elbow now carefully buttoned at the wrist, confident in the warmth of their sweaters and cardigans…”

Nuff said… so if you think carrying on your back is a bit foppish, no worries, keep it in the car, carry it in your hands or, heaven forbid, stuff it into your rugged man-bag. Keep sweaters and cardigans fit, nothing’s worse than a pillowy fit on a cardigan, it can, beware, add twenty pounds to the wearer. Fall colors, stay awat from pastels…(except for in the spring).

A baggy and ill-fitting cardigan...

Some of our favorites:

–      Hermes Men (jump here)

–       Ralph Lauren (jump here)

–       Billy Reid (jump here)


Fig.1- The Cusp Shoe

Somehwere between the careless days of sockless loafer trotting and the pent-up boots so necessary in winter lies the something that’s a bit less constricting and more comfy: enter the “Fall Shoe”

The fall shoe is not necessarily tall (indeed should not be taller than a chukkah- below) but should not slope down the sides of your feet the way a driver or moc does (less the coldness of early spring rains or late fall snow dampen your socks). And so, in this way, the “Early Fall Shoe” is more of an idea than a specific shoe in general.

Fall Chukkah

The lovely shoe below the heading (fig 1) is a wonderful balance of something that’s sleek and wearable, with a hint of suede (recalling suede-safe, dry days of summer) yet far above the reach of damaging water/snow.

Indeed this is the time to polish and store away the suede drivers and mocs, the boat shoes (unless one is taking out the boat), and the sandals until next spring. There’s another month or so of wearing darker-ish and high-sided loafers before they go away for the next couple of months. In it’s place comes out the bluchers, oxfords, chukkahs,  monkstraps and, of course, boots.

Some of our favorite stops for shoes:

–       Leffot (jump here)

–       Billy Reid (jump here)

–       Cole Rood & Haan’s oxford collection (jump here)


Fall-ish Cotton Jacket

Sweaters are not everyone’s game (lest the gentleman mess up his hair taking it off should it get a bit warm) and cardigans area dicey proposition unless the proportions of both the wearer and the cardigan are in perfect sync. So what then?

A light jacket, made out of something more substantial than nylon for the when the wind picks up, is necessary. In the British tradition, hands-on staples like tweed sports jackets and waxed-cotton jackets are de rigeur. Old (British) standbys like Huntsmen, Barbour, and Cording.

Field Jacket


Rule of thumb: Cotton wax, although technically “light-weight” can be a bit stifling and ‘feels’ wet when very cold; although if you opt for a lined version it adds a bit more comfort. Also, look for a collar of a different material (corduroy, flannel, fleece, cotton etc…) that’s not waxed: otherwise your check will constantly press onto cold hard wax: not cool.

Layering a cotton safari jacket in cotton or denim khaki, subsequently layered with a hoodie or sweater is also a perfect.


men's colognes

After Summer Smellings

So you listened to us and relished in crisp green citrus fragrances, marine and aquatic themed colognes and relished in their unobtrusive light. During the days which can still peak at the mid-70’sF a strong upshot of Oud (a fragrant wood), Sandalwood, or heavy Musk can be overwhelming. Likewise too much other ‘stuff’ like vetivers, lavenders, etc can seem out of sync with the season. So… our ROT (Rule of thumb) for summer-fall cusp fragra

nces are the such:

  • Dark Citrus Tones: not so much lime and lemon, but more so orange blossom (neroli), bergamot, andcandied orange peel (without the sweetness)
    • Our pick: “Bergamot” by The Different Company (read more about it and buy it here)
  • Amber: What does amber smell like? Who the hell really knows- it’s more of an olfactory nod to the color amber. The best explanation comes to us from a forum-user at www.basenotes.com which states that the smell hitherto described as Amber is synonymous with a “…resinous scent that can produce a faint prickle at the back of the nose…” either way you look at it, it’s abstract as hell… just go with it…
    • Our Pick:  “Ambra” by Mazzolari (read more about it and buy it here)
  • Dried leaves/grasses: Ok here we’re talking about things like vetiver, again, sure, but vetiver and/or patchouli us a typical summer scent, however, when combined with elements of the above (ambers, bergamot, moss etc…) the results can be outstanding:
    • Our Pick: “Real Patchouly” by Bois 1920 (read more about it and buy it here)
  • Spices: This is dangerous, men usually overkill this element and end-up either smelling like the dessert-side of a Moroccan soukh  or something akin to pumpkin pie and Christmas. Spice: keep it light while still relying on old standbys like cinnamon (acacia), coumarin, burnt vanilla, coriander, etc.
    • Our Pick: “Honour Man” by Amouage (read more about it and buy it here)

Can you do lighter tones of woods and oudhs and musks: sure. But why break your neck trying to find light and wispy renditions of these when you can relish in the real thing come December?

If you can think of flavors and smells as colors stick to fragrances with combinations of dark greens (moss and fern), light browns (spice and amber) and  auburn oranges (bergamot).

Another perfect smell? Fig:

Philosykos  Eau de Toilette by  Diptyque

Philosykos Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

{From Luckyscent.com: One of the best fig scents ever made and one of our favorite scents of all time. Philosykos is an ode to the fig groves of Greece. Created by Olivia Giacobetti, this is a very green fig – a fig on the verge of being ripe. The opening is sharp with the tart freshness of the leaves, and then the fig itself comes into play – sweet enough to tantalize, but not overwhelm. The glossy green leaves and succulent fruit intertwine with a dry wood note and a hint of rich earth. You get the sense not only of the whole tree, but the whole grove – the wood, the earth, the sky, the Mediterranean sun coaxing the sweetness of the fruit along as it ripens. Many a superlative has been used to describe this fragrance over the years and it deserves every one. Outstanding.}