Menswear as self-expression (and anti-depressant)

by Karen Alberg Grossman

Conventional wisdom has it that since the pandemic, we’re all working from home in pull-on pants and t-shirts. However true (and tragic) this might be, it’s all the more reason why guys are wanting to look great as they start going out again, maintains Macy’s men’s fashion director Matt Sebra, who a year ago joined the retailer from GQ magazine. “I believe guys are now thinking about fashion more, not less! We’re moving into a post-athleisure era, a look between sophisticated/dressy and casual comfort. Guys don’t want to sacrifice style for comfort. They think about how to express themselves through clothing.”

Sebra talks about today’s “waist-up workwear,” where a guy might be Zooming in pull-on shorts and an oxford shirt. Or sweat pants and a great printed short sleeve camp shirt. “The ideal wardrobe today has pieces that can be swapped in and out. Retailers need to show those fashion pieces! And we need to elevate our core basics.”

For this fall, Macy’s has focused on two key trends: Modern Heritage and Universe of Black. Explains Sebra, “Modern Heritage is about rich layers of contrasting textures. It’s the mix that makes it modern, but it feels lived-in. For example, a barn coat worn over a plaid vest with patched denim jeans. Universe of Black is artisanal and minimal featuring contrasting textures and dimensions e.g. matte and shine. Pressed to project the three top-selling items for fall, he singles out shirt jackets, patchwork denim, and patterned pants. “We’re celebrating prints, pattern, and color. We all need some uplifting.”

Looking toward spring 2021, group vice president of Macy’s fashion office, Durand Guion, agrees with Sebra’s positive outlook. “My initial read for next year is optimism,” Guion says. “The world has changed, lifestyles have changed, but we will get back to some level of normal. The fashion customer has not lost interest in fashion; if anything, he craves it now more than ever. As retailers, we need to make sure our spring assortments reflect excitement and joy, rather than more of the same.”

Editor’s note: Matt talks to us wearing a Michael Kors charcoal and black leopard print shirt, from Macy’s of course! Durand is wearing a blue floral on grey ground printed polo.