Fall in Love with Fall

    Man, I love this time of year! I don’t know if it’s the crisp air, the gorgeous Lehigh Valley foliage or the unmistakable smell of leather shoes and jackets that I love most, but the combination of ingredients indicating the seasonal change is absolutely intoxicating for me. There’s no doubt that I’m my happiest from October 1 through December 31. Whether you feel the same about this time of year or are wondering what the big deal is, you definitely need to pay attention to this love letter to fall fashion. For this is your fall fashion survival guide. This is your ticket to looking like a million bucks this season.

    Speaking of bucks, you can forget about wearing that smelly hunting gear out in public. Hunting camouflage belongs in the woods, not in the clubs, bars or restaurants. And it certainly doesn’t belong at work, unless you work in a sporting goods store, as a hiking trail guide or on a firing range.

    So now that I’ve banned the cammo, what pray tell, should you be wearing this fall? Well I’m glad you asked. Thanks to the incredible amount of media coverage showcasing the Olympics in London this summer, this fall looks like a season heavily influenced by British fashions. The good news: you still get to wear your jeans. The better news: you get to dress those jeans up with great shirts, tailored jackets and super-stylish wing tips and two-toned cap-toed shoes. Working as a publicist in Philadelphia, I have to know how to talk to anyone at any given moment, and discussing style can be a great conversation starter. Now, we don’t have to review how wearing stunningly unique shoes are the best way to capture a babe’s attention, do we? You know by now that a bold pair of shoes is a sure bet conversation starter. Yep, I’m saying that you can walk into a bar and sit down next to the prettiest girls in the room, and if your shoes are hot they will either ask you where you got them or tell you how great they are. If they tell you how great they are, you’re on top of the world. The pressure of starting a conversation is behind you. They’ve broken the ice, which means the door is now open for you to prove how nice and charming you are. As always, be cool, and make sure to compliment them back. One of my favorite responses to someone telling me they love my shoes is to tell them I love something they are wearing. I will admit that many times I can’t find anything that the person giving me props is worthy of my admiration, so in those instances I graciously say thank you. Now answering the “where did you get those?” question can be a little tricky. I love this little shoe store in Philadelphia that I’ve mentioned in this column a few times, but I don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry wearing my shoes, so sometimes I just say something like, “I bought them in this store in Manhattan that I don’t even know the name of”. That gets you off the hook and makes you look like a sophisticated shopper who buys his clothes in New York.

    For shirts and jackets, my favorite British designers are Burberry, Ted Baker, Thom Brown and Joseph Abboud. I absolutely adore Ted Baker shirts! All of these brands are online, but I can’t shop for clothes online. I need to touch, feel and try on to make sure every piece I buy fits the way I like it. So, you’re going to have to work to find your British ‘accents’ this fall, mate. Saks Fifth Avenue (Manhattan and Bala Cynwyd, PA) is one of your best bets. There’s even a Burberry store in King of Prussia and on Walnut Street in Philadelphia. You can also try the London Shops in Easton, which by now you know I love. My advice regarding shirts and jackets is to stay solid. I love solid black or Navy blue button downs and blazers. I might try a plaid shirt or jacket this season, but never wear them together, and know that most plaids only sizzle for one season. If you want to get two or more seasons out of your shirts or blazers, you need to stay solid.

    For pants, I’m still loving dark colored jeans by Adriano Goldschmied. If you want to dress up your lower half this fall, go for some dark colored plaids, brown or black corduroys, or dark colored jeans.

    So now that we’ve covered the basics it’s time to discuss your outer layer. Yep, it’s time to buy a new leather jacket. Yay!!! Okay, I know I get a little carried away when talking about leather, but can you blame me? There’s no better accessory than a buttery soft leather jacket. It smells great. It feels rich. And it looks so good with jeans and great shoes! So where do you start when deciding what look to adorn this season? First step is deciding what style to sport. I’m big into leather motorcycle jackets right now. They look sharp, present the impression that you like living on the edge, and include a cool collar that looks great atop your shoulders. I just bought a distressed brown one from Hugo Boss for $400 that looks like it’s worth twice that. And I plan on wearing it everyday the mercury is between 30º and 45º this fall. Hell, with the weather we’ve been enjoying the past couple of winters I might just wear it everyday from now through March.

    Okay, so now that you’re all set with what to wear this season, let’s discuss a few ways to create dating opportunities. Let me paint a picture for you: You walk into the office wearing your new duds and start absorbing compliments like a sponge. That feels good, right? So how do you turn the compliments into some exciting new romance? That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? You’re not just getting dressed up to hear how stylish you are. The truth is, you’d love to find a new squeeze to snuggle up with when the temperature drops, right? Here are some suave suggestions towards scoring this season.

    First of all, just about every café (including Starbucks) has new fall-themed drinks with cinnamon, pumpkin and/or nutmeg this time of year. Walk into the office with one of the more aromatic coffees or teas and divert the conversation from being about your fashion sense to your sense of taste. Once the apple of your eye expresses some interest in your drink you can sweetly ask her if she’d like to join you for one at lunch or after work. If your love interest is a little wild, you can invite her to try the fall cocktails at Melt or Kome at The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley or at one of the trendy restaurants in Bethlehem or Easton. I can assure you that many of the top restaurants in the region have delicious cocktails featuring fall ingredients right now.

    If you and your fashionista friend really hit it off you can invite her to go shopping with you. Just make sure you directly deal with the dollars and sense part of that equation before you head down that road. Translation: bring up how much you plan on spending and what you’re hunting for before you agree to pair up. This way, she’ll hear that you have dedicated a specific budget for whatever you’re after. You might then ask her what she’s shopping for and how much she’s planning on spending. These budget conversations are invaluable! You’ll demonstrate your savvy shopping skills and clearly manage her expectations regarding what you’ll be buying or not buying her. If she turns out to be a great shopping companion and you see something that she looks gorgeous in that you have to buy for her, then surprise her at the register by presenting your cash or card with the item before the clerk rings everything else up. Slyly glance over as you make this move and say something like “I’d love to buy this for you”, and she will surely melt before your eyes. Drive home safely and prepare to have some serious post shopping action, as she’ll definitely want to show her appreciation for that thoughtful gesture. Remember this: shopping is a rush that is often classified as a ‘high”. It can be like foreplay to many people. Enjoy the moment as much as the satisfaction that might come from the post-shopping intimacy. Some of my favorite days ever were spent shopping followed by serious snuggling. Just don’t get carried away and have sex in a dressing room. That’s really classless and cheap. Plus, you can’t ever enjoy sex in a dressing room, as you have to keep quiet and undoubtedly worry about getting caught. Not that I’ve ever done that.

    Okay, so I’m confident you’ll have one fantastic fall if you follow the above advice. There’s only one thing I didn’t cover that I feel I need to address. This involves what is unquestionably the biggest challenge of the year for many men. It’s what I call the Halloween conundrum. Yep, I’d like to address the “what the hell should I be for Halloween” issue. Kidding aside, I have struggled with this every year for my entire life. My advice is to keep it simple and topical. Also, you only really have to dress up if you have a party to attend. I could care less what you wear if you still go out and Trick or Treat. In fact, if you still Trick or Treat you have way more serious issues than what to wear.

    It’s a presidential election year, so you have a ton of options with the characters running or covering the election. Just don’t wear black face if you’re Caucasian and decide to dress up like Barack Obama. That’s pretty classless. It’s also the year of the action movie. You’ve got Spiderman and Batman to consider as options, but I seriously suggest you NEVER wear a mask. It’s always hot under a mask and it can be hard to breathe. And nobody will know it’s you inside that rubber heat trap. If you’re single on Halloween, you can go out as a cowboy, which is always a great look in the Valley. Or, if you have the body for it, you can go out like one of the characters from the summer’s surprise hit Magic Mike. Or, if you can find the right Teddy Bear, head out as John Bennett, the star of Seth MacFarland’s hilarious blockbuster Ted. Now that’s a costume that screams lots of attention from babes that just want to hold your bear. Here’s to hoping they hold more than your bear, cowboy. Here’s to you having a fantastic fall.

    Remember to stop and savor the moments this fall, men of the Valley. There’s no place more beautiful than the Lehigh Valley in October. Enjoy!

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