President Bush is in the White House, the U.S. is policing conflict with a small country in the Middle East and preppy styles like polo shirts and madras pants are on store shelves. The year in question: (a) 1989, (b) 2006. Answer: Both.
“There’s a very clean-cut, almost preppy look to a lot of clothing right now,” says Gregg Andrews, a fashion director at Nordstrom. Andrews ticks off the makings of classic ’80s style: Plaids and checks in woven shirts and pants, Ralph Lauren-style solid knit ties, the polo shirt.
The men’s spring fashion book at Neiman Marcus includes a section that shows seven different ways to wear a polo shirt with everything from a suit to an evening jacket.
“We show all of ours tucked in,” says men’s fashion director Colby McWilliams. “It’s supposed to look sexy, it’s not supposed to look sloppy. If you wear (a polo) instead of a T-shirt with a jacket, it looks a little more country club, a little more dressy.” To allow that tucking, many polo shirts are cut closer to the body.
“Guys hear ‘skinny’ and think it’s going to be tight, but it’s not,” Andrews says. “It’s just a better fit.” But thanks to different fits in shirts, this look isn’t meant only for those who don’t remember the ’80s the first time around.
“The more lean polo shirt might look great on younger, slimmer guys, but there’s nothing wrong with someone who’s a little older wearing a polo shirt and looking darn good in it,” Andrews says.