Even my most stylish, put-together guy friends have at one point come to me for fashion input. Male inquiries like, "Do you like these jeans?" or "What are your thoughts on short-sleeved button-downs?" don't come my way because I'm a fashion writer (okay, maybe that's part of it). Really, these guys want my female opinion because they're asking a bigger question: What would girls in general think of this look?
Chances are, if you're thinking of trying a new fashion trend that's slightly out of your comfort zone, you'd first consult a woman in your life, be it a girlfriend, friend, or sister; you might even take her to the mall with you. Why is this? Because even when you're dressing for "you", deep down, you have to admit—you're still cleaning up in hopes of garnering glances from the opposite sex. (Surprise—us girls do the same thing!)
If you're looking to spice up your look this summer, I love your enthusiasm, but it's important to know that not all trends are created equal—there are some high-fashion getups that may be considered "on trend," but I promise you that the wide-leg pattered trousers from the Etro
runway at Fashion Week will not help you get that blonde's number.
So before you go swiping your plastic at Bergdorf's, here to help is the Lady Panel—a group of gals from all over the U.S. offering their unguarded commentary on 7 menswear fashion trends. Read on to find out what's hot and what's horrible for Summer 2015.
Decorative Dress Socks
"If you meet a well-dressed guy who's got polka dot socks in his shoes, it probably means he doesn't take himself too seriously…and that's always a good sign." – Haley H., 27, Santa Barbara, CA
"Nothing makes me crack a smile more than when a guy props his leg up at his work desk, and socks with an unexpected pattern like lobsters are peeking out from under his pant leg. They're like statement necklaces for men." –Courtney S., 35, Saratoga Springs, NY
"Decorative socks are a fun way for a guy to show that he is playful and flirty without going overboard—it makes me think that there is more to him than first meets the eye. Also, they make for a great conversation piece on a first date." –McKenzie B., 33, Houston, TX
"Surprisingly sexy for something that should remind me of midgets dancing with lollipops. It says you like to look good but that being whimsical won't cramp your style." –Meagan D., 30, NYC
Overall Consensus: Go for it—they're a great way to jazz things up and showcase your personality when you're in a stuffy business suit.
"Seersucker suits are for boating events and Kennedy weddings—definitely not for everyday." –Jordan S., 27, NYC
"Are you playing croquet with your aging aunties this weekend? If so, your seersucker suit will surely get you all the cheek pinching you can handle. Otherwise, it would be very appropriate for your toddler." –Emily N., 28, Kansas City, MO
"Like with any suit, the most important thing is that the cut is tailored to fit the man's physique. But honestly, if I saw a guy wearing full-on seersucker, I would probably think, 'You're trying too hard, buddy.'" –Christine N., 29, Providence, RI
"No, I do not want to buy that Buick from you. And you're making me dizzy. Just put on a regular suit." –Meagan D.
Even if you're summering on Nantucket, you'll be walking a fine line
of dapper and douche. Tread lightly.
"I would leave a date if he showed up in a bucket hat. Though the 'bucket' part would at least make a convenient barf bag." –Jacqui S., 29, Chicago, IL
"Show me someone looking sexy in a bucket hat and I'll show you a liar." –Jenny P., 27, NYC
"Dude, bucket hats are not a replacement for sunscreen…and they're definitely not an acceptable fashion statement. Lube up and leave the floppy hat at home." –Cristin G., 34, Boston, MA
"If you're wearing a bucket hat, you can just throw it in the trash…along with any chances you had of getting laid." –Morgan G., 24, Baltimore, MD
Overall Consensus: No.
"Getting cropped pants right is all about the right slim fit and right footwear. I think tapered khakis look great with driving loafers." – Jenny P.
"'I would love to see more man ankle,' said no woman ever." –Meagan D.
"It's casual, but adds a little edge and style to a guy's look. With a tee, or even a button up and some kicks, it makes for an effortless summer look." –Kara S., 29, NYC.
"Why do cropped pants ever need to be a thing? If you need free ankles, just roll up your pants—otherwise you're purchasing an item that is useless a majority of the year. Also, chances are, your ankles aren't as attractive as you think they are." –Emily N.
It's all about the right fit and the right shoes. Disclaimer: Steer clear if you have cankles.
All Denim Everything (aka, Canadian Tuxedo)
"Denim on denim is everything! I'm obsessed with this look, but I do feel that either the top or bottom needs to be a lighter shade—I don't like when they match exactly. But yes, thank you Canada for this gift." –Kara S.
"The only time I'll approach a dude in double denim is to bum a cigarette then peace out." –Morgan G.
"Maybe living in the Midwest has given me a real soft spot for farm boys, but I think double denim is a beautiful thing. Throw me on the back of your moped and let's head to your favorite fishin' hole." –Emily N.
"Britney and Justin tried this once and we all know how that ended." –Haley H.
Overall Consensus: Depending on how you execute this trend, you could look straight off the farm from Iowa, straight off the plane from Europe, or straight off the streets from godknowswhere. Whichever look you're after, attempt it with contrasting denim shades. There's a 50-50 chance your girlfriend will hate it, but if you're a glass-half-full kind of guy and you rock it with conviction, what really matters is that you think you look good, right?
"Men are allowed one pink clothing item (shirt/sweater or pants/shorts) without me questioning their sexuality or fashion sense. But to be fair, the same rule applies to women and me judging them." –Jacqui S.
"Real men wear pink, but only real jerks wear all pink. Pick one: shirt or pants." –Julie P., 28, Augusta, GA
"Pink can be sexy! But you should only be wearing one piece of pink clothing at a time…and that one piece of pink should not be tight fuchsia pants, unless you want women to think you're gay. Or an asshole." –Giselle C., 28, Tucson, AZ
"When it comes to pink, it's tough to toe the line between 'sexy' and 'good lord, take that off immediately.' A tie or a T-shirt is the perfect pop of pink; anything more than that makes you seem high maintenance because you think you can pull off all-pink-everything. Spoiler alert: You cannot." –Meagan D.
Overall Consensus: Contrary to popular belief, pink can actually demonstrate confidence and manliness, but moderation is key.
"Florals are fab, but it's a style that must be worn sparingly to avoid looking too Tommy Bahama, which, let's face it, is never a good look. Think: floral sneakers, a pocket square, or socks." –Kara S.
"I'd prefer that my flowers stay in a vase on my table and off of my man's clothing." –Christine N.
"Florals work great as an accent, but anything more than that I find distracting. Also, if the pattern looks like came off of my great aunt's couch, it'll make me think the guy is moldy." –Lizzie B., 27, NYC
"Floral bathing suits are a 'yes', but floral short-sleeved button-downs are a 'no', unless worn in partial jest at a Jimmy Buffet concert." –Lindsey S., 31, Washington DC
Overall Consensus: A little bit of floral goes a long way. Flowers on beachwear is more than acceptable, but flowers on pants should only be in your girlfriend's closet…otherwise, she may ask to borrow them.