Avant Garb: Menswear…Mens’ Flair!

By Elizabeth Massing

I was catching up with some friends over drinks at The Point in Fells Point when I ran into Austin. Austin has an amazing style. I’d describe it as a mix of designers, high-end pieces, classic yet fun, and European yet preppy.

“I guess I’m not necessarily sure how to phrase my style. A European version of understated elegance maybe?” Austin told me. Among his favorite designers and brands: The Kooples, Alexander McQueen, Thom Browne, Mason Martin Margiela, and Vivienne Westwood.

“I definitely appreciate the fitted style of European clothes and the fact that branding is typically more nuanced compared to brands from other countries. Most of the clothing brands I usually buy are French and shoes British,” he explained.
His patterned button-up shirt is Penguin and it’s a piece that he picked up from Nordstrom. Their short sleeve button-ups have fun patterns (this one is green palm trees) and are very reasonably priced.
His Burberry shorts are from Saks. Austin said he prefers Burberry because they add a little elastane to their shorts, which gives them flexibility and added comfort when walking around the city.

Austin’s shoes are adorable. I love it when men can rock a pair of loafers. These are Barker Black (from Barker Black – http://barkerblack.com). This company makes all hand-made shoes, ranging from these slip-type loafers up to one-piece leather boots. Once broken in, their shoes are some of the most comfortable and durable out there. Austin said, “I think I probably own some version of every shoe they made. The boots are my favorite.”

One of the pieces that caught my attention the most was Austin’s vintage Gucci belt. I am a huge die-hard Gucci fan myself, so I loved this piece. Austin said he picked this up from Reciproque in Paris.

“I like the vintage Gucci belts, as they are a little more understated than some of the current ones. If you have a chance when in Paris, Reciproque is an amazing high-end vintage store,” he said.
And you can’t overlook this watch! Austin obviously has great taste… and so it only makes sense that he would appreciate Cartier. The Tank is a simple watch but gives him a bit of a break from wearing his usual watches with leather bands.

“I think the smaller details like the shoes, belts, watch, and wallet make the man and give a chance to express some style (my current wallet is bright orange),” he noted.

Overall, Austin’s style is sophisticated, elegant, and influenced by respected designers. But he also prioritizes comfort… and he does it all while looking totally fabulous and making a statement.
Next, I was headed to a work meeting when I ran into Ernest, who prides himself on his distinctive style…as well he should!

“I can’t say I look for any particular fashion, but when something catches my eye I’ll get it and not be afraid to alter it to how I see it to be. Comfort is important to me…Do I have a particular style? No. I just know what I like personally; wanting to be unique! I’m a skinny jeans kind of guy and not afraid to take risks that maybe other men may not take,” he told me.

This shirt is fabulous, and the gold flecks really give it that personalized flair that helps you get a better feel for Ernest’s fashion sense. Ernest said when he bought it at a store called Turning Point, it had long sleeves. He had the sleeves cut short and had it taken in on the sides, as well as the length of the shirt hemmed.

His pants were picked up from a store at Mondawmin Mall. Among his favorite places to shop? H&M, Zara and asos.com.
Ernest is obviously someone who’s not afraid to make bold style choices. I admire his playful fun look, and I especially love the way he has accessorized it.
He told me he loves necklaces and bracelets; not your typical masculine accessories. They’re uniquely Ernest, and they give his look a bohemian vibe that meshes well with the more baroque aspects of his look.
Ernest’s shoes look high-end and have so much personality. The bold style choices carry throughout his whole look from his shoes to his shirt to his accessories.

Overall, Ernest is quite fearless yet sensible in his fashion choices and he certainly knows how to create a fluid look from head to toe, all while incorporating one-of-a-kind pieces. He also managed to do this without using many colors, which speaks volumes and leaves you feeling intrigued.
Elizabeth Massing

One look at Elizabeth Massing and you see her fabulous sense of style and artistic self-expression. She combines old and new, classic and trendy, luxurious items and vintage steals.  “Fashion and what you wear should be a statement of who you are and how you feel. You shouldn’t be scared to take risks. It should be fun and make you feel good, no matter your budget or fashion experience,” she says. For Elizabeth, fashion is a way to tell her story.  “I like my stories full of fun and excitement, history and romance, and - from time to time - a little drama. Bold fabrics give me a thrill. Couture makes me swoon. Daring pairings are a magnetic force I cannot overcome,” says this B-more native. Elizabeth also loves to see the “stories” other people tell, which may come from her work in publishing and media as HR Director for The Agora Companies, where - she says - creativity and originality is always encouraged. Now, she’ll be relaying some of those stories to us in her column, “The Haute Find.”  “It’s about finding style on the street, in homes, and out-and-about. It’s an adventure looking for textures, fabrics, and how people add layers of details and interest to their wardrobe.” So, ramp it up, Baltimore. Maybe Elizabeth will be “telling” your story!

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