Spring is in the air, and so are the latest ad campaigns on style. In fact, you'd just have to live on a desert isle not to notice. What's catching my eye these days are those aimed at men -- from Ralph Lauren's bold suits and to-the-manor-born sportswear to Gillette's Master of Style series featuring Andre 3000, Adrien Brody and Gael Garcia Bernal. Given the look and the content of such, I'd say it's the season to style-to-impress, and everything counts. No matter what your style sensibility, this season calls for an upgrade however subtle your approach. In fashion, color is coming and it's soft and luxe in its appeal. Whether you decide to liven up your look with a softly structured sportsjacket or spring for a few new finds in the shirt and tie department, now's the time to think about how you'll embrace the dusty pales and stone-washed hues hitting the stores. Speaking of shirtings, the classic camp shirt has been modernized, it's more street savvy than safari and no longer on pocket-overload. I say "run don't walk" to the shops for this one, especially Salvatore Ferragamo or Pringle of Scotland and if you like yours a little more casual, by all means see Gucci. Suits still mean business, but I urge you to kick things up a notch and pick a muted plaid, an edgy windowpane or an unexpected hue to add to your work wardrobe.
In the "accent on style" area, otherwise known as accessories, it's about making a statement and no gesture is too small to be overlooked -- from belts and timepieces to hose and footwear -- the latter of which is having a real style moment, it's game-on time! On the sporty front, this is the season of the two-toned shoe-stopper, otherwise known as the "Buck" (loved them at Prada in woven leather!); an espadrille or a weighty sandal with an espadrille sole and that old standby "the boat shoe" which has been reincarnated for life at leisure, in the city of course! But not to worry, wingtips still abound, ditto for spectators and loafers, however they too have been given an upgrade and are arriving in-store in non-traditional hues and edgy finishes.
All of this brings to mind the subject of grooming and putting your best face forward. Men's skincare, too, is in a new league, with an array of professional care strategies and skin perfecting treatments available at top derms and aestheticians directed to common concerns. In-store, performance driven products that keep you in the clear are available price points to suit every budget. At the very least, your current regimen should include the following treats: a targeted cleanser, an exfoliant, moisturizer with SPF, eye cream or gel and lip balm, again with an SPF. Monthly facials, regular manicures and pedicures all combined with tech-savvy procedures and treatment benefits will go a long way when it comes to polishing your look.
At the end of the day, the measure of a man shouldn't be based on his outward style. And far be it from me to say that one's outward appearance is the thing that speaks volumes long before he has an actual "say so," but I will say this: it is definitely a part of the conversation.
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