Southern Dressing....New York Style

I remember when I first picked up my life and made the great migration from New York City to South Mississippi. I packed up my apartment and headed into unknown (but exciting) territory. I had never been to Mississippi and boy, did I have a lot to learn. One thing that I discovered very quickly – humidity. I had no use for my dozens of coats or collection of cashmere sweaters and snow boots that I had curated through the years working in the fashion industry. Don't get me wrong - I was happy to trade in the snow and the slush for fun in the sun. But did I have to quit observing an entire season?

Thankfully no. But as it turns out, many Southern ladies and gents share the same dilemma for seasonal dressing. How do you celebrate all four seasons when you feel only two? Well, fret no more because Signature magazine has pulled some strings and gathered a group of top stylists in the heart of NYC, America's fashion capitol. I,along with a few of my fashionable friends, will be sharing a few key mens/women's trends for Fall 2018 and how you can easily adapt them for a warmer climate here at home. 

The U.S. apparel industry is now a $12 billion business with the average American household spending $1,700 on clothes annually, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Retail trends show that the fall season accounts for the bulk of this shopping activity. It is my hope that these expert tips help you make educated shopping decisions and make you feel enthusiastic about participating in your own kind of way. After all, dressing well is a form of good manners. 

 

JASON LEVIERE, Hattiesburg's lost son currently residing in NYC working as a designated sales associate at Bergdorf Goodman while he curates his blog, MisterDashing.com. 

SATURATE COLOR
Identify your key colors for fall (these may be CLASSIC autumn hues like wine or pumpkin or TRENDY colors like millennial pink or marina blue). I suggest visiting Pantone.com to see what they are forecasting for the season. Now, build a head-to-toe look completely from this color (they don't have to match perfectly). By choosing a lightweight crimson tee and pairing it with merlot trousers, you are wearing "what's hot" for the season while still keeping cool. 

ADD SEASONAL TEXTURE
Sure, a fur coat or suede jacket may be a poor match for  Mississippi in the fall, but adding accessories featuring these textural elements is a great way to participate without paying the price. A saddle brown suede belt, caramel-colored shoes, or a bag trimmed in fur are all great ways to exude autumn trends while observing the South Mississippi weather forecast. 

 

DEB DESANTO, a stylist in Manhattan for more than 10 years, Deb has had her fair share of clients with tropical residences or southern winter getaways. 

CHATTY TEE
DeSanto explains, "Look for pieces with sayings on them or tees that make a statement. Ladies, pair them with a cardigan sweater, a denim skirt and peep toe and, roll the sleeve." For men, this trend can be adapted by tucking a classic message tee into jeans with boots or the addition of a light blazer. 

POLKA DOTS
Deb says many designer collections featured an assortment of spotted prints for fall. "Loewe alone had eight looks," recalls DeSanto. Most dotted prints are applied to lighter fabrics, so they work effortlessly in warmer climates. Keep your eyes open for polka dot prints in fall hues – a great way to stay cool and on trend this autumn.

DENIM
DeSanto shared that denim was all over the fall fashion week shows for both men and women – with  Marc Jacobs having the most notable collection, with almost his entire runway in navy denim from head to toe. These items breathe and are easy to layer or mix-and- match without adding too much bulk. 

 

CHRIS CHUNN, works with dozens of high-profile clients from his office in the heart of the Garment District in Midtown NYC with a specialization in menswear and custom bespoke suiting. 

MIX TRENDS WITH CLASSICS
Chris advises to pay homage to the classics, but layer in fall prints or colors to make nods to the trends. Chunn states it simply, "It's always a bit tricky to deviate from the mean when it comes to menswear. Classics are considered classics for a reason, so 'trends’ tend to have a very short life, but it's always fun to add your own embellishments, no? Couple things that I've noticed warrant their stay beyond the summer – wide-striped shirts and bold sunglasses with personality. Feel free to ditch the gingham and Wayfarers and go for bold." 

 

CHRISTIAAN CHOY, outfits a small group of celebrity clients while also serving as creative director at an up-and-coming NYC fashion house.  

CARGO COOL
One of the most unassuming trends Choy has come to love for women this season is cargo pants. He articulates, "A baggier silhouette, with heels, is most chic as it reads as the new boyfriend jean. This season, interesting fabrics, and a mix thereof, have made the standard chino cargo a bore. We’re seeing high waists, carrot leg, and even drastic flare-legged cargo pants and when paired with a shrunken blazer or jacket, skintight bodysuit or boxy cropped tee, becomes one of the hottest trends of the season. And the best part is, this trend is season-less." 

CORDUROY
Yes, corduroy. Choy explains, "Miranda chastising Steve [Sex and the City] his gold corduroy suit was one of those defining moments in my fashion history where I never thought I would see the day that corduroy would make its way back to relevancy. Yet I stand corrected, as corduroy has returned, and in a major way. Currently, in both the pages of Vogue and GQ, the wale has gotten tighter and the silhouettes trendier. But how do we translate this trend into a look apropos for a warmer climate? The corduroy trend is one that is easily adaptable. Choosing a lighter weight cord with a thinner wale will allow you to pull off this look on the cooler days that we inevitably get down South – say in the 60s and below, because those days happen. This season, you will see a plethora of options in men’s corduroy jackets, particularly cool in a club or varsity silhouette."

 

DOMINIC MINOGUE is hip city advisor to a number of athletes and recording artists and has mastered the art of making personal style "passport proof.”

ATHLEISURE 
Minogue points out the athleisure (upgraded athletic wear) trend is not slowing down any time soon and is easily adaptable for the warmer weather.  He explains, "Think 90 degree weather: To start, I'd want to lighten up my core uniform for the warmer climate. I'll sub in a pair of navy blue linen pants – easy and lightweight. Then pair those bottoms with my favorite sneakers of the moment and a breathable slouchy T-shirt. Or even switch it up and keep a constructed short sleeve seersucker shirt with a cool pair of track pants or shorts."

Dominic emphasizes building a certain "uniform" for yourself out of key pieces or cuts that compliment your figure or sense of style.  "I think more than just rationalizing what specific identifiable trends there are coming up, the biggest change in fashion, from my eye, is the concept of adopting a personal "uniform" or aesthetic, which I think is the biggest style feat of all. Once that's nailed down, you can seamlessly incorporate trends how you see fit instead of completely shifting your wardrobe to accommodate a look, or worrying how often you may wear something."

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