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Fall color

By Autumn D. F. Hopkins

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Men's fashion doesn't have to be stodgy. Even if you work in a traditional suit-and-tie office, these looks from Tony the Tailor and Kelley's On Bridge can lend a little fun and a trendy vibe to a fall wardrobe.

"Color is the one word I would use to describe men's fashions for fall, especially in trousers," said Kristi Walker of Kelley's. "Bright colors and patterns are all the rage."

This fresh embrace of color in menswear is evident in everything from the brightly colored corduroy pants by Bills Khakis (available at Kelley's) to colorful shoelaces by Crayon Lacing in a three pack (available at Tony the Tailor).

To get some color in your closet, you can splurge on one pair of great trousers, like a pair of Bills. Or try a colorful shirt and vest to update traditional trousers for a hipper look, or perhaps a bold plaid shirt with a stylish solid-color wool vest.

Adding color to your look doesn't have to break the bank. Socks and colored shoelaces are surprisingly hot this season, giving men who generally can't push traditional fashion boundary an opportunity to flaunt their individuality.

If you already have solid classic wardrobe pieces or work in a conservative office, think about adding little pops of color and detail. You could choose brightly colored and patterned socks by Vannucci, available at Tony the Tailor. These socks, at $9.50 a pair, will give you a modern, fun feel without pushing the fashion envelope or straining your wallet.

For a more casual evening out, like a concert or a play, consider a pair of ultra-dark denim jeans with an underlying hint of color. Check out the Agave Denim line. At first glance the jeans appear to be a standard dark hue, but on closer inspection you can see they have washes of subtle color from green to orange.

If you want to make that color more noticeable you can make a small cuff at the ankles of the pants, exposing the underside of the fabric and the bright seams.

The last bold trend this fall in casual wear is the turned-back, embellished shirt cuff. Whether the detailing is fine embroidery -- like a bright Turkish-inspired pattern -- or a satiny texture contrast, the key to being fashionable is in the detail.

If you're looking for an all-new you or just want to update your wardrobe to keep the cobwebs away, color is the way to go this fall. Pick something bright, embrace it and wear it boldly, but don't ever forget your basics.

Tony Paranzino, aka Tony the Tailor, warns, "The prep look is dead. Men's clothing, especially sportswear, is moving back toward a more elegant and sophisticated look." He cautions that color trends will move to smokier, more subtle hues as the weather turns cooler. So don't ditch your classic pieces yet!

Here's a bonus tip from Paranzino: "Footwear is the new necktie."

Check out the shoes on all of the men. Brands like Allen Edmonds and Johnston & Murphy provide classic lines with edgy, hip detail not forgoing quality or comfort.

Most importantly, men are paying more attention to what they wear, and they're demanding quality and style. Merchants like Tony's and Kelley's are listening to -- and fulfilling -- their customers' desires.

Reach Autumn D.F. Hopkins at or 304-348-1249.


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