Men in Red Pants

The man in the heather purple suit, Fifth Avenue

The man in the heather-purple suit, Fifth Avenue

A few months ago, Kevyn at Prada, told me that, for the first time, more men than women are coming in to shop. He told me “they are looking for something new and are not afraid to try new things and experiment. It used to be the opposite …” ~ Kevyn

Ingrid Steffensen has been keeping an eye on the New York City streets and is seeing exactly what Kevyn is seeing. I am grateful to Ingrid for being my eyes and ears in the city. Here is Ingrid’s story about: The Men in Red Pants (and Green, and Orange, and Purple, and …)

With our daughter studying abroad for a year, my husband and I are trying out a year of living in New York City. We have temporarily left our charming three-bedroom suburban house in New Jersey and we’re renting a tiny Manhattan apartment in the Flatiron District. Is this as fun as it sounds? I’m sorry to have to say – yes, yes it is. After sixteen years in New Jersey, I’m having the time of my life soaking up the city – so much to see, so much to do! One of the most fun things is keeping an eye out for what everybody is wearing. And do you know my conclusion? Right now it’s the boys who are more interesting to watch!

It first occurred to me on a late summer day as I was walking in my neighborhood on 29th Street. My attention was caught by a young man dressed in chinos and an Oxford shirt. Sound boring? Just wait! His suede wingtip loafers were cherry red. His chinos were brilliant turquoise blue. His Oxford shirt was cherry red. And his tie was turquoise blue with a small geometric pattern in red. Even his belt was woven in red and white. Wow! He looked like he belonged in a Tim Burton film; like candy, almost edible. He absolutely made my day.

Then I started paying attention to pants, in particular. Everywhere I looked I was seeing men in colorful pants. This summer it was green: mint green, forest green, Kermit-the-Frog green, Jolly-Green-Giant green. As we segue into fall, I’m seeing shades of red: terracotta, fire engine, crushed strawberry, mauve. Lots of yellow, too: mustard, goldenrod, sunshine. I’ve seen brilliant orange, lots of bright blue and occasionally purple. One stylish man I caught on Fifth Avenue was wearing an entire suit in beautiful heather-purple, paired with a pale lilac dress shirt.

While I am definitely seeing women in beautiful boots and glam leather pants and pretty prints, it’s the men who are more interesting to watch. They seem to be taking bigger risks, making brighter, bolder statements. The women are wearing any color they want, as long is it’s black. Why is it that the men are the risk-takers of the moment? Are the new attitudes toward gender and sexuality freeing the men to express themselves in a more creative way? All I can say is: I’m loving it! I’ve even convinced my conservative husband to try a bright orange vest and stylish new clear eyeglass frames.

I look in my itty-bitty New York closet and what do I see? Six different pairs of black shoes (flats, clogs, heels, booties, boots — all black), black pants, black jackets and a little black dress. Maybe I need to take a cue from the men. Will I dare break out? Should I go shopping for some red pants? It might just be time for a change.” ~ Ingrid

Story and photos by Ingrid Steffensen

pants in all colors: mauve

pants in all colors: mauve

pants in all colors: bright blue

pants in all colors: bright blue



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