Gray tweed cardigan
with white varsity stripes,
Thom Browne ($540).
George Greene, 49 E.
Oak St., 312-654-2490.
Gucci ($530). 900
Wool felt and leather computer bag, Black Fleece
by Brooks Brothers ($450). Brooks Brothers, 713 N.
Michigan Ave., 312-915-0060;
DeVille coaxial watch with brown
alligator strap, Omega ($17,700).
The Westin Michigan Avenue
Chicago, 909 N. Michigan Ave.,
Silk ties, Ralph Lauren ($115
each). 750 N. Michigan Ave.,
A scene from Dead Poets Society
No longer the fashionable trimmings that conjure up nostalgic memories of homeroom, geometry class and that pretty blonde who sat in front of you, uniform style is influencing high fashion these days. In addition to the reliable Brooks Brothers and Paul Stuart staples we’ve come to know and love, designers like Thom Browne and Dolce & Gabbana are offering varsity cardigans complete with V-necks and striped sleeve details. Moschino and Michael Bastian are showing red- and navy-striped cashmeres, while Woolrich and Gucci reintroduce the perfect boiled-wool peacoat.
But one need not buy a whole new wardrobe to adopt the Dead Poets Society trend—a diagonal-stripe tie will do the trick. We love options from Smart Turnout (it makes colorways to represent military regiments and schools) or simpler versions from Jil Sander or Lanvin.
All stripes aside, we also suggest investing in a perfect pair of Italian-made loafers. This trend isn’t going away anytime soon, and loafers are the perfect transitional shoe for early-autumn wear.
An Autumn/ Winter 2011 look from Lanvin
The Experts Weigh In
John Jones, Partner at George Greene
Jones is loyal to the Thom Browne brand and loves the style sensibility that the designer has brought to modern men’s fashion. “Thom Browne is certainly the most significant designer over the past 10 years. He ranks up there with Giorgio Armani in terms of the effect not only on men’s high fashion, but on classic menswear as well. It is now expected that clothing is shrunken and shorter, closer fitting in the waist and that ties are narrow, and Browne started it all. The shape of this collegiate 1950s style is very flattering on the body. We are living in a time when fitness, health and feeling youthful are part of the way we live. Because of this, the movement toward closer-fitting and shrunken garments works!”
Luis Felix, Men’s Booker at Ford Models Chicago
This local style-setter sees the preppy trend from Chicago sidewalks to high-end photo shoots. “Collegiate style as a trend is fun because it’s a coming- of-age story within fashion. It’s clean and innocent, and at the same time completely professional. I see it as a fusion of Dead Poets Society mixed with thoroughly modern elements like a slim-fit jean. It’s an eclectic blend of style ingredients that transcends two or three decades of fashion. I love the heavy sweaters and the wearability of all the layers. Because the trend is a bit dressed up, it gives off a sense of confidence and education. It shows that a man is not fearful of putting things together in new ways, or of being an individual.”
Arturo Gomez, President/partner at Rockit Ranch Productions, Inc.
“Collegiate style has a nice, clean, preppy look. I love the nostalgic nature of the trend, how it brings you back to an era that implies innocence. I’ve added a few key pieces to get the look in my wardrobe. Great examples are varsity sweaters and jackets, argyle weaves and rugby jerseys. The collegiate dresser is definitely on top of fashion trends. I believe Kanye West actually introduced the look into the mainstream a few years back on one of his albums.”