Nouveau Prep, Heritage Brands: Fall Menswear Keeps Us Looking Smart (the rest is up to you)

I get it, but it always kind of annoys me that spring runway previews happen in the fall. I don’t want to look at shorts right now. I’m leaving shorts behind (well, maybe not–more on that in a minute). So, in honor of the chill in the air and the leaves changing in what is definitely New England’s most beautiful season, I’ve got your fall fashion round up instead of a spring preview. I’m living in the now, man. Sue me.

Because there’s a lot of excellence going on right now in menswear, I’ve confined this to my top 5 current favorite designers. The uniting theme? A twist on the classic prep and heritage feel of last year.  Remember, as always, that I am not advocating costuming, but cultivating an aesthetic that incorporates New England prep (hey New England! Look at you, right in the middle of everything!) and woodsy flannel is my secret to a practical yet edgy, super handsome fall.

1. Gant Rugger/Michael Bastian for Gant

This label  is Wes Anderson’s idea of Ivy League, without the preciousness. These dudes look like the kid at prep school with the weed hook up and/or the queer kid with the burgeoning art career that he’s too focused on to even brag about.

Michael Bastian for Gant Fall 11

Nouveau prep is a great example of appropriation that does not hurt anybody. The Kennedys are not harmed by your incorporation of woven belts, slim fit cords, riding boots, or rugby sweaters. Carry on.

In related news, I spent 30 minutes trying to convince myself to buy this coat from the WHARF this weekend:

Gant Rugger Wool Varsity Fall 11

I love WHARF, a Providence-based menswear store, so much I did a post on them earlier this summer.  Part of why I love them is that even though I was clearly willing to sell a kidney in order to own this baby because it fit so perfectly, proprietor Robert Babigian convinced me that this is a perfect fall/late fall coat but not weatherproof enough for the bleak New England winter ahead. What a guy! He’s right of course. But if you need a fall coat and you have a spare $300, I highly recommend this beauty.

2. Woolrich Woolen Mills

Hands down, WWM is consistently my favorite brand. They’ve hit a sweet spot between rugged and refined, a real nice place to aspire to for us artistic types who don’t have (traditional) office jobs but still want to look put together. Demonstrating this nicely is that dude from Grizzly Bear in a shoot for GQ:

Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear in WWM for GQ

Is that a tailored, all-wool 3-piece suit with metal clasps? YEAH IT IS.  If you wore this, you would look the handsomest.


Woolrich Woolen Mills Fall 11

In reality, WWM’s best work might be their coats. Imagine the possibilities! Leaf peeping upstate? Apple picking? Hot toddies somewhere with a magnificent view? Weekend trip to the Berkshires? DIA Beacon?

I’m sorry, I just got distracted by my dream life.

Woolrich Woolen Mills Fall 2011

Cocktails in an old mansion? Polo match? Fine, how about a walk through fallen leaves on your way to work, any given Monday? Look smart, act smart.

3.  Honeyee

Japanese labels consistently kill it, bringing a unique vision that often crushes most US labels. Honeyee ‘s collection this season is the cream of the crop.

Fall/Winter 11 Honeyee

These are the kind of shorts I want to be looking at! WINTER SHORTS!

Fall/Winter 11 Honeyee

Prep Americana done right, with a Japanese twist. Perfect fit.

Honeyee Fall 11

I bet this duffle gives you magical powers. LOOK AT IT.

4. Topman

For a guy on a budget, you can’t beat Topman. You’re not getting top quality garments at these prices, but  their sweaters and coats especially will last several seasons. They keep an eye to what’s trending with designers but also tend to err on the side of classic with most pieces. Without Topman, I’d be crying into my champagne.

Topman Fall/Winter 11

Topman Cardigan, $80

Topman Cardigan, $80

Also, Topman is where I go for my winter staple needs. Bam! Cardigans!

I agree entirely with the cardigan trend right now. The focus on chunky, fishermen knit with cool hardware is where it’s at. This is a nice holdover from last year.

Further proof that you really can’t go wrong with their sweater selection:

Topman Fall 11

5. Moncler 

I leave you with a bit of winter wonderland from Moncler. Imagine ice skating on your own private pond. Afterwards, spiked hot chocolate and a roaring fire. Also: SKI LODGE!

Moncler for Sense magazine

Ignore the stupid outfit on the right. That red parka is amazing. Even better:

Moncler Alphonse

And, finally:

Moncler Anthime

There’s a lot to be excited about this season. Seasons! Providing four style options for you, year-round. See you at the fire pit!


About Thomas Page McBee

Gentleman first, always. James Dean is my patron saint, poet is my gender. More about me here:


  1. Michael von Braithwaite

    AH!!!! LOVE!

  2. I love those Michael Bastian looks. Fingerless gloves are like winter shorts for your hands.

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