Navy double breasted jacket from Ascot Chang (left) and Michael Macko (right). Michael Macko image courtesy of The Sartorialist
Last week I met with Michael Macko, former fashion director at Details magazine and a regular fixture on the style scene (you probably have seen him numerous times on The Sartorialist). He was recently in Hong Kong with Ascot Chang, where he has worked as a style consultant for four seasons. I sat down with him to talk about men’s wear, his fashion tips and whether or not Tom Ford was right about men never wearing shorts in the city. Enjoy!
How has men’s fashion evolved over the years?
Men are the new women – we are finally allowed to shop, talk about fashion and get excited. You are also finally seeing men express their individuality. Shows like Mad Men have contributed towards this and are influencing the way men are dressing – it’s all about aspirational dressing.
Favourite spring/summer trend?
I love that colour is back and luckily a little goes a long way for men. The best thing about men’s wear is that our vocabulary is limited in terms of colour so all you need is a bold accent colour to make the look pop.
What are the new suit shapes for spring?
We’ve done the double breasted before but it still looks so chic. Thanks to our friend Thom Browne things are looking slimmer, trimmer and shorter, but men’s wear moves so glacially so we are taking small steps. But we are seeing shorter collars, trimmer lapels, etc. I really like the trim double breasted jacket that you can wear open and unbuttoned. It’s a cool look.
What wardrobe essentials should every man own?
If you asked me 10 years ago I would have said a navy blazer. While it’s still important, I would now choose a grey suit. Grey is the new neutral for men. A good shirting wardrobe, preferably in white cotton poplin is also essential. Finally, a great pair of blue jeans and a black cashmere sweater. With these items you can go anywhere in the world and look fantastic.
Must-have item this season?
Men used to order matching ties and shirts in the late 1960s and 70s. I love this look – it’s like a twinset for men. Also a navy suit, double breasted with white buttons.
Yes or no to male bling?
For formal occasions, maybe.
How do you choose the right tie?
I tend to pick a colour from the suit or the shirt in the tie. There needs to be continuity in the entire look. Many men pick a colour that doesn’t appear in the suit but it’s a harder look to pull of. Right now, I am loving knit ties and cotton ties for spring – they look fresh.
What’s your take on guys in bow ties?
American GQ has just done a huge spread endorsing it so trend wise it is a big thing. And even though it has been around a while, men are only now ready to experiment with this and other sartorial elements such as suspenders or cardigan. If you are willing, why not?
Shoe pick for this season?
The Chukka boot is having comeback. It’s that perfect hybrid of casual and formal. You can wear it with a casual linen suit or with a pair of shorts. Go for a suede style in a light colour.
Tom Ford recently said a man shouldn’t wear shorts in the city. What’s your verdict?
I love shorts in the city, but I do agree it has to be the right style. They need to be impeccably tailored. Pair it with a pressed linen white collar shirt and a pair of Chukka boots. It’s a sophisticated casual look and you won’t look inappropriate, trust me!