Young men seek pop, local retailers say
Accessories have become an important sales item for Christopher James Menswear, says Chris Lambert, owner of the clothing retailer in Covington Plaza along West Jefferson Boulevard.
Lambert says customers, especially younger men, are looking for just a little more pop to their wardrobe and accessories have met that need.
“Millennials are definitely looking for something different,” says David Rabideau, owner of the David Talbott Collection, which is in the City Exchange, 127 W. Wayne St. He says trends show that younger people are looking for more colors.
Now, there’s not only more colors “that you never saw before,” Rabideau says, but more styles and mixing and matching of patterns.
Some of the accessories getting top billing include the pocket square, which “adds some nice color,” Lambert says, and belts. Lambert says the belt business is strong and that men are seeking custom belts in which they can pick out the leather and stitching.
Of course, there also are socks – especially colorful socks, he says.
Rabideau says when he replaced his conservative selection of black, brown and gray socks with more colorful selections, they sold quickly.
Some of the newer accessories that are catching on are flower lapels for suits that add accent color and a new take on the pocket square – a pocket round.
Cufflinks are also popular. Lambert says cuff links work well with shirts that have convertible cuffs, which means a shirt can either use cuff links or button like normal. And for an added flair, Lambert sells political cuff links. They include images of current candidates, or men can go retro with Kennedy, Reagan and Truman links.
When it comes to ties, Lambert says men tend to wear them less, but when they do, the ties are better made, with unique silks and higher-quality fabrics. Men are seeking ties that offer individuality, he says.
And for those men who don’t want to wear a tie, Rabideau offers the trendy look of wearing high-end T-shirts under a sport coat or dressy suit. These T-shirts come in black – which is the most popular color – steel gray, graphite or burgundy.
“Women have the little black dress; we have the little black T,” Rabideau says. “It gives (a sport coat or suit) an entirely different look.”
Moving even further from the traditional suit or sport coat look, Lambert is seeing more guys wear tennis shoes, which he carries at the store, with their suit. “That whole thing has changed,” Lambert says about what to wear with a suit or sport coat. “The whole dynamic has changed.”
That proves the same for watches, which Rabideau says “are coming back as more of a fashion piece than something to tell time.”
Lambert and Rabideau agree the men’s clothing business has changed.
“It’s actually fun to dress people now because there are so many more options,” Rabideau says.
However, those options could have a downside. Rabideau says guys don’t usually like a lot of options because they don’t like to shop.
But he says men can always come in and he will be more than happy to give style advice.