Starting with this issue, Second Style Magazine dramatically expands its coverage of menswear.Â Of course, this issue is All Guys, All the Time, but going forward youâ€™ll see more menâ€™s fashions each issue in a variety of new columns and features.Â Iâ€™m very happy no longer to be the sole voice speaking for men in this publication, but the change naturally leaves me wonderingâ€”what direction do I take now?
For starters, the name of the column has changed.Â While menswear doesnâ€™t take up nearly the SL acreage occupied by womenâ€™s fashion, itâ€™s still a worthy, growing market and surely deserves more than a “corner.”Â The new name was a suggestion from Iris that I liked better than my own ideas, and I liked it even more the more I thought about it.Â Hopefully it also says something about what Iâ€™m trying and hoping to do here.
As for my direction, I decided to try something different.Â This column is the first in a series (weâ€™ll see how long it goes on and what form it takes going forward) that Iâ€™m calling â€œEssentials,â€ at least in my mind.Â The underlying idea is that there are some things every man just needs to have in his wardrobe.Â In this series, Iâ€™ll take a look at some of these sartorial staples and present a handful of my favorite examples of each.
Our first essential wardrobe item is The Sweater.Â Fortunately, SL designers realize just how important a quality sweater is for a manâ€”show me a designer who hasnâ€™t done at least one sweater and Iâ€™ll say you probably just didnâ€™t look in the back of the shop.Â It would be absolutely impossible to include every fine menâ€™s sweater here, so weâ€™ll have to live with the compromise of, in no particular order, several of my heavy-rotation favorites, both old and new.
Shelly Toonieâ€™s Turtleneck for men (L$95)Â is simple and comfortably familiar, but far from plain.Â The handsome fabric texture of the base garment is carried over all but seamlessly onto the sculpted collar and cuff attachments, enhancing their casually rumpled appearance.Â I like the fabricâ€™s smooth weave, sheen and highlight/shadow shading, which are all subtle but nicely realistic.Â Iâ€™m wearing the sweater in Cabernet, but itâ€™s also available in five other muted, restrained colors; three are smoothly woven, three are in a larger, more open knit.Â Available at Moonshine (Silver Lake 95, 180, 26).
The Classic Cashmere Turtleneck by Nicole David (L$145) has been a personal favorite of mine ever since its release…good Lord, a little over a year ago.Â The weave texture is rich and beautifully shaded, and the ten different colors (itâ€™s shown here in Creme) are equally rich, although subtle and muted rather than bright.Â The cuffs are closely fitted here, so youâ€™ll find no prim cuffs, but the wide, luxuriousÂ collar has a natural sculpted shape, and besides that itâ€™s blessedly easy to fit.Â Simple but sumptuous.Â Available at Gisaci (Armidi 90, 131, 31).
No two ways about itâ€”mirai Junâ€™s Cardigan (L$190)Â is just plain sexy.Â Here the knit is big and the fabric texture miraculously walks the line (for me, at least) between accurate photorealism and softer, smoother hand-drawn art.Â The optional sculpted cuffs look slightly loose and floppy, as if the sweater is just a little large, or perhaps itâ€™s well loved, well worn and ever so slightly stretched out.Â Three other colors are available, but I bought the Blue for myself because it goes with some of my favorite eyes.Â Perfect for a lazy, rainy Saturday morning, or lounging before a roaring fire back at the chalet, aprÃ¨s ski.Â I love this sweater.Â Available at Cubic Effect (Chantilly 119, 132, 26).
The Ornate CardiganÂ by Jesseaitui Petion (L$125) shows us what can be done with just the clothing layer.Â Here itâ€™s all about the fabric texturing, because there are no prim components of any kind.Â Itâ€™s all good, though, because Jesse knows how to work a texture like nobodyâ€™s businessâ€”the design work is indeed ornate, with clear vertical ribbing, sharp edge piping and a beautiful scrollwork design across the chest.Â If you look closely, youâ€™ll realize that you can get a glimpse of whatever lies beneath the unbuttoned buttonholes.Â An optional glove-layer piece makes the sleeves look extra-long.Â Choose from ornate and simpler plain styles in six colors; itâ€™s shown here in Earth, which you might think would be a brown but is instead a deep forest-y green.Â Available at AituiÂ (Aitui 200, 182, 23).
Kal Rauâ€™s simply named Blue Sweater (L$230)Â is smoothly textured with a very fine knit, and itâ€™s accented by a small embroidered crest in front and subtle store-brand artwork in back.Â The jacket layer includes both sweater and untucked plaid shirt, while the shirt layer (not intended to be worn alone) adds a bit of bulk to the sleeves.Â The crisp prim collar is scripted for automatic resizeâ€”just touch it and select from the pop-up menu.Â Available at Kal Rau (La Fortuna 2 87, 156, 22), where youâ€™ll also find other sweater styles and a variety of casual designs by Kal.Â Thanks to Drw for pushing me into Kal’s shop!
The Vest & Shirt with Hood by risey Arai (L$400) features classically geometric decorative designs and an elegantly sculpted prim hood.Â You can wear the vest tucked or untucked, and with or withoutÂ the plaid shirt.Â A shirt-layer â€œpufferâ€ gives the jacket-layer version looser sleeves.Â The vest with shirt really needs the prim hood, which gives the shirt its collar, and for the same reason the vest alone can really only be worn without the hood.Â Iâ€™m wearing it here in White, but itâ€™s also available in Black and Gray.Â A similar sweater styled for women comes in five brightÂ colors, but you have to give me your promiseÂ that you won’t go out in public dressed like twins.Â Available at :sey (Isle of Tranquility 158, 110, 29).
Nothing bridges the gap between casual and dressy quite like a good sweater.Â The right sweater can dress up even older, faded jeans, and adding a pair of perfectly shined leather shoes could just make you downright presentable.Â Also, rumor has it that Significant Others often find sweaters to be persuasively cozy and eminently touchable, so you may just need more than one.