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Style Resolutions for 2013

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Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

I will get the blues.

Always a man of woodsy hues (moss greens, truffle browns), I recently bristled when I was required as a groomsman to buy a matching blue vest and slacks. They were from J. Crew's Ludlow collection, in Italian wool. With open collars, we looked like Bee Gees. Then I had a change of tune. Postwedding, I sprung for the matching suit jacket, and the three-piece suit in ink blue felt upbeat, striking a more distinct note than, say, gray or black. Blue, it turns out, rules: sharp and dignified as an Air Force cadet, as breezily chic as JFK helming the Honey Fitz. The new blues in the spring men's collections—not Tiffany or powdery, more federal and midnight—will have me further joining the navy this year.

Angel Glasses

I will wear my new eyeglasses like Superman (not Clark Kent).

Last year, I was finally forced by the driver's license requirement to purchase prescription spectacles, but I found that researching which bifocals to wear could actually be fun. Taking my cues from the clunky black frames worn by men like Marcello Mastroianni (in "8½") and legendary Hollywood agent "Swifty" Lazar, I saw the light at luxury eyewear shop Selima Optique with a pair of French-made, clear-lens numbers that say that it's hip to be square-framed. They're both an inadvertent conversation piece and personality makeover. I may be making a spectacle of myself, but that's the point: Geeky fat black glasses, deceptively suave, are the revenge of the nerds.

A look from Billy Reid

I will defend my right as a man to wear fur.

When I say fur, I don't mean anything fey or pimping. Instead, picture a fiercely bearded Warren Beatty in 1971's "McCabe & Mrs. Miller," or burly fur-trapper Robert Redford in 1972's "Jeremiah Johnson." It's about rugged pelts like coyote, fox, raccoon, shearling and nutria, the new alternative to beaver that's currently having a fashion run. When any of those are wrapped around hoods and collars, or used as accent or lining, there's nothing that better says Arctic explorer or gentleman rancher or rock royalty.

Bespoken Wellington brogues

I will return to manly lace-up boots.

For some time, I've eschewed traditional lace-up boots for slim, buttery black leather "bootlets" that zip up the side and go with both jeans and skinny black suits. But I had a recent style epiphany: this footwear was a tad twee. My wife too disapproved of my updated Beatles boots (some of them, heaven forbid, square-toed), proclaiming the metrosexual look dead. It was, she said, time for me to grow up and relearn to lace. The solution was found in a pair of burnished-leather wingtip or brogue boots (in oxblood or cordovan), that British creation that allows you to have it both ways. They fit close to the ankle, and can pose as either a dress shoe or more casual footwear. You can find them everywhere from Cole Haan to Façonnable. Honorable mentions: L.L. Bean Signature's waxed canvas Maine Hunting Shoe; and K-Swiss KSWS -1.54% by Billy Reid's caramel-suede tennis sneaker.

WireImage

Bill Murray

I will make Bill Murray my style icon.

Why? Because everybody's favorite eccentric uncle is the best-dressed man in America, both on-screen and off. Most of today's leading men suit up with no authority or singularity. But Bill Murray—loud and tasteful, preppy and insane, unabashed and erudite—is one of a kind. From wacky "Caddy Shack" greenskeeper to his recent role as F.D.R. in "Hyde Park on Hudson," Mr. Bill has a certain deadpan chic that we all could learn from. He's my new style dude, and he's 62.

J. Crew Harris Tweed jacket

I will preserve my essentials until they fall apart.

If you love something, don't set it free. I have resolved to patch, sew and polish my irreplaceable favorite pieces into perpetuity. That includes (but isn't limited to) the following, many of which have the wear-and-tear of a sock monkey in a pit-bull kennel: my two-toned, cashmere-lined Paul Smith driving gloves; my Harris Tweed sports coat purchased at the great Halls department store in Kansas City, Mo.; my 10-year-old shawl-collar Prada tux; my vintage Cowichan sweater and my sun-faded Birdwell Beach Britches, purchased circa 1982. Your tried-and-true keepsake pieces are your statements of individuality. Hang onto your faded glory.

New Paul shorts

Come hell or high water, I will wear shorts this summer.

Wearing shorts no longer renders you a man-child, a basketball star or a suburban housewife. In khaki, corduroy and cotton, tapered and flat-fronted with a low-rise and cut just above the knee, the new incarnations of men's shorts are slimming and masculine, and they're good on the butt. Pretty much every sportswear label is on the shorts-wagon, including Unis, Steven Alan, Bonobos and all those revived surfwear brands. Wear them with a weathered-cotton button-down, sockless or with slouchy Alpacas under desert or chukka boots.

C.C. Filson Co. wheeled large duffel

I will put my best foot forward with my luggage.

Look at yourself. I did. The reflection staring back: sloppy sweatpants and the equivalent of prison slides just to be able to move more stealthily through airport security. However, I've finally learned that I can still make a good first impression while traveling—be it while checking into a hotel or nabbing my luggage off the carousel—by investing in sensible but adventuresome-looking baggage. Sure, you can drop big dough for Louis Vuitton or Coach, but I'm going with the fat-zippered tanks from C.C. Filson Co. The Seattle-based outfitter makes weatherproof, solidly constructed wheeled carry-ons and duffels in oil-finished twill and handsome bridle leather that will help you ID your bag faster than anyone else. And the more worn-looking these bags get, the more well-traveled (and well-heeled) you'll appear.

 

 

The WSJ had an article recently, "spoilered" above, on one of their writer's style resolutions for 2013. I myself have a few resolutions. For one, I resolve to finally get a pale gray suit. I resolve to make more use of striped shirts. I resolve to use collar bars more often. I resolve to wear solid colored ties less. Does anyone else have any resolutions for the new year that they would like to share? Inspire us!

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I need more sprez.
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