It’s October, and that means there is a lot on the docket for the next three months, especially with dressier fall events. First, there is the big fall horse racing meet at Keeneland in Lexington that began on October 2 and culminates with the Breeders’ Cup on October 30 and 31. After that, we jump right into Thanksgiving, then the holidays. These three months of dressing up leave many men wondering what to wear. Plus, men want to know what kind of sport coat ensemble they can wear that will work through all of these events with just a few changes.
We went directly to the expert, Bob Bayersdorfer at The Fashion Post, for expert advice. Bob always knows best, and he gave us a quick guide to menswear for these events.
Here’s a guide to what to wear:
The Right Coat
You need to have the right coat for the right event. Now is the time to bring out your heavier sport coat or go purchase one for the season. If men are shopping in their own closet, they can absolutely wear their “office sport coat” to the track, but you have to “track” it up a bit. When using “track” as a verb, Bob means that you need to make it more colorful and less conservative. (He will show you methods of doing this later in the article, so sit tight!) Ideally, a man needs a more casual, brighter or patterned sport coat. Because it’s fall, you should lean toward fall colors and tweeds and not grab the sport coat you wore to Derby with its lighter weight fabric and lighter colors.
The Right Shirt
No matter what sport coat you wear, a sportier shirt is in order for these events. Ditch the plain old white dress shirt and look for a check or tattersall. Yes, be assured that even though it has a pattern, it can complement a patterned sport coat.
The Right Trouser
Pair the right kind of trouser with your sport coat, and that means a classic, subtle and understated dress trouser. Dress trousers are 100 percent wool. Do not pair your sport coat with cotton twill pants unless you want to look like you did back in your fraternity days. If you are still in a fraternity, by all means, go for the chino.
The Right Tie
Whether it be a bow tie or a long tie, Bob warns against wearing your spring Derby tie. Ties in the fall are just like fall fashion, with paisleys, tweeds, plaids and richer pigments. So the Derby tie is not going to match the fall tweed sport coat.
The Right Accessories
Accessories for a man can include belts, socks and pocket squares. Wear either a plain leather belt or try a needlepoint horse-themed belt. Being in horse country, you will never lack for horse-inspired leather goods or horse-themed belts.
As for socks, just like wearing your work sport coat, don’t wear your plain navy dress socks. Step out a little with pinks or fun patterns. Just a little glimpse under your pant leg is enough.
Any sport coat appears more finished with the addition of a pocket square. Similar to a bow tie, the spring pocket squares need to transition to fall pocket squares. Look for the reversible pocket squares, and wear on either side depending on the mood.
Bob has great advice about dressing for fall in general. Everyone likes dressing for the season, across the board. But because of the cooler temperatures, it requires more layering to get properly dressed. Not only are we physically layering more clothes on our person, we are layering more textures, as well. And layer your man should. Layer plaids with windowpane with paisley, if you desire; just make sure that all the patterns have complementary colors. Usually men are fearful of taking a risk by mixing patterns, but Bob is more of a risk taker in this situation. If you told someone you were wearing a navy windowpane sport coat with a purple gingham shirt, gray trousers and a paisley pocket square, it might make him flinch. But scroll back up to the second sport coat picture. You’re looking at that description.
The moral of the story here is take a risk. You’re not at the office. You are out and about for pleasure, well unless you are a serious bettor or have to go with work. But even then, getting a little colorful without looking like a circus clown is always fun. There’s plenty of time to wear that navy sport coat or suit. There’s plenty of time to break out the trusty monochromatic camel sport coat; and honestly, it’s not cold enough to wear this very warm material yet.
Ironically, both men and women spend inordinate amounts of time picking out their Derby outfits. More than a month out is usually an average time to start planning and acquiring your outfit. So why don’t we plan like this for any event in the fall? Maybe after today’s fashion show, men (and women) might get a head start on the outfit.
If worse comes to worst, stop by The Fashion Post and ask Bob if it matches. Not that we know anyone who has ever done that (side glance).