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The Globe and Mail

What’s up with the colour craze in men's wear this fall?

A model wears a creation of Versace men's Fall-Winter 2012-13 collection, part of the Milan Fashion Week, unveiled in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 16, 2012.

Antonio Calanni

The question

Brightly coloured men's clothes, including shoes and even suits, seem to be prominent this fall. This is completely crazy, right?

The answer

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No, it's not: It's delightful and welcome. There is no longer any reason for men to exist in drab uniformity. (The idea of bourgeois uniformity came along in the early 19th century because it paralleled the rise of democracy; we no longer have any aristocrats around to dress against.)

Re: this fall, the suit you may have seen in magazines and elsewhere is a narrow cherry-red number by Lanvin and I think it is perfectly appropriate for any non-funereal occasion. Red is in fact particularly big this fall, also featuring in trousers and scarves. The extreme end of the colour craze was seen in a surge of printed (patterned) suits by the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Kenzo and Versace; these wallpaper-like things will not catch on in law offices, but their radicalism will have an indirect influence in the form of a return to subtle plaids and checks even in mainstream stores.

If I could afford to have someone make me the luxury of a pink suit, I would immediately invest in it; in the meantime, I will wait for the designer who will no doubt produce an off-the-rack version for next spring.

Shoes have been going more and more colourful since snappy running shoes have occupied such a large continent on the sartorial landscape; now it is not considered unusual for a guy to have orange or purple highlights in his outfit at around shoe level. Designers of expensive shoes have been experimenting with all sorts of shade for leathers and a bright green suede brogue is today a not unusual part of casual wear and should no longer brand you as an eccentric or architect. Remember that women respect a little daring in even the manliest of men.

Russell Smith is a novelist. His recent memoir, Blindsided, is available as a Kobo e-book. Have a fashion question? E-mail

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