Giffin, CEO of Baltimore-base Groove, a marketing
a design firm, sports a lapel flower and a silk
pocket square on April 22, 2016. "I feel
naked if I don't wear a pocket square or if I'm
going somewhere and I forget the right cuff
links," he said.
ó Ethan Giffin doesnít let working in a business
setting prevent him from showing off his sense of style.
CEO of the Little Italy-based Groove: Creative
Marketing, Design & Development, is known for his
extensive collection of accessories ó hundreds of
patterned pocket squares, lapel flowers, designer cuff
links, colorful socks and dress shoes.
of my friendsí wives and girlfriends say ĎI wish you
can dress more like Ethan,í" Giffin, 44, said.
"Itís definitely something that I take a lot of
pride in. I feel naked if I donít wear a pocket square
or if Iím going somewhere and I forget the right cuff
has company in the menswear store. More men are
expressing themselves at work with flashy, colorful
accessories, say retailers and analysts. Younger
consumers, especially, may be following the example set
by nattily attired athletes and celebrities. Small
accessories can pack a big punch and allow
fashion-conscious men to add hints of personality to the
traditionally stodgy business setting.
sales for menís accessories grew 9 percent to $13.6
billion in 2014, according to The NPD Group, a global
more men are looking to stand out in a crowd, and
accessories are a way to make a bold statement without
having to overhaul their wardrobes," said Marshal
Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD. He sees a link to
growth in menís apparel sales, generally.
men are becoming more interested in fashion, and
retailers are building upon this trend by catering to
men are taking their style cues from media figures.
surrounds the NBAís Russell Westbrook and his flashy
post-game attire. NBA All-Star Amaríe Stoudemire and
rapper Jay-Z wear brooches with their tuxedos. And who
could forget those yellow-black-and-white animal-print
Versace pants NFL MVP Cam Newton wore leading up to the
Super Bowl in February?
brands capitalize on those moments with photos and
credit information on social media platforms ó such as
Instagram ó frequented by millennials, who are not as
beholden to calcified notions of masculinity and
stereotypically male attire.
media has grown increasingly relevant to millennials,
and many males are drawing inspiration from their
favorite sports stars and celebrities that are sponsored
by major brands," said Britanny Carter, a retail
analyst for the market research company IBISWorld.
"For example, David Beckham has millions in
sponsorship deals that pay him to advertise accessories
and unique items through his social media platforms.
Accessories are a simple way for males to differentiate
and express themselves."
stores devoted to menís clothing bring in $10.3
billion a year, according to the IBISWorld report
"Menís Clothing Stores in the US." This
year, accessories are expected to account for 7.5
percent of that revenue. Over the past five years, the
U.S. menís clothing stores industry has grown an
annualized 1.8 percent, IBISWorld industry data
estimates, and revenue is expected to grow at an
annualized 2.0 percent over the next five years.
Marco Menswear was ahead of the trend when it opened in
1990 and immediately started stocking colorful
accessories from London and Milan.
our belief that the world needs brightening up,"
said Marc Sklar, president, CEO and managing partner of
the Mount Vernon boutique. "Itís never in bad
taste and too garish. The world is replete with boring
clothes. Thereís no need to be another one of those
said itís encouraging to see more men and stores
incorporating brighter, bolder accessories.
a long time people wouldnít have the [courage] to go
for something that wasnít red or navy," he said.
"We were putting out acid green, melons, persimmon,
stone gray and cobalt blue. Ö Weíre always pushing
for our vendors to expand their fashion palette and
their fashion horizons."
estimates that he has at least 100 pocket squares, 100
pairs of colorful socks, 60 cuff links, 20 lapel flowers
and 20 pairs of dress shoes (he prefers Salvatore
struggled to find out how to store them," he said.
"Iím pretty bad."
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a huge pocket square fan," said Giffin, whose
collection spans from vintage finds to Tom Ford, Versace
and Hermes. "Great accessories can set off a
standard business suit. When I was younger, and had less
blazers and suits, [accessories] allowed me to set
things off and give me another look."
has amassed his accessories during his travels, from
Etsy and eBay (vintage pieces such as the black and gold
Yves Saint Laurent cuff links he purchased for his
wedding) and at local boutiques ó he gets his lapel
flowers from The QG in downtown Baltimore.
lot of guys just donít think about that. To me itís
part of how I dress," Giffin said.
accessories have been an advantage in the workplace,
always stepped out of the box," Giffin said.
"It made me memorable in the business world."
"make the outfit," according to Nick J. Mosby,
the former Baltimore mayoral candidate and current city
suit and the shirt is the foundation. But itís a tie,
tie clips, socks that make it unique to you," he
37, estimates that he has 200 ties in his collection,
five tie clips and about 40 pocket squares.
a huge fan of colorful patterns," he said.
socks are a particular favorite.
kind of like a treat," Mosby said. "You donít
know itís there until youíre sitting down and then
it splashes out.
shows that you have really thought about what youíre
going to wear."
STORY CAN END HERE)
Schafer, 22, vice president of Christopher Schafer
Clothier, the Harbor East-based menís custom clothing
boutique, started noticing an increase a year ago in his
customers asking for bolder accessories to offset their
estimates that three out of 10 of his customers purchase
or own the $25 flower lapel pins he sells. Made of gloss
resin, they come in shades such as light blue, lavender,
green, red and pink.
trend has picked up. During spring and summer itís a
big hit," he said. "Theyíre the size of
dimes and nickels. It adds a little flash."
come in requesting ties in paisley or bright, electric
hues reminiscent of the late í80s and early í90s,
according to Schafer.
should be the most colorful thing on your
wardrobe," he said. "The tie should be your
main focal point of the color."
socks are also popular with Schafer.
a young guy, and I like to have a little more fun,"
said Schafer, who was wearing purple, pink and
bluish-gray argyle socks ó along with his custom, gray
birdís eye suit, white shirt and light-pink,
psychedelic-pattern tie. He completed the ensemble with
an aqua-colored lapel flower. "Having a little more
fun or color at the bottom shows that you have put in
more effort. Itís an accessory to complete your
a solid shirt: Ground the look of flashy accessories
with a solid shirt. (White works.) Save the complex
clashing patterns on top of patterns for the more
advanced fashion mavens. Take baby steps.
go overboard: Try using a pocket square and a tie. Thereís
no need to add every single accessory under the sun if
youíre new to the style game.
attract: The pocket square and tie do not have to match.
Opposing patterns and colors can work.
crazy with socks: They usually donít show that much,
so you can be adventurous without fear of being shunned.
the clearance rack: Stock up on your flashier
accessories with a trip to the menswear clearance rack.
Youíll find some gems at Nordstrom Rack, Marshallís,
TJ Maxx or Neiman Marcus Last Call.