Neiman Marcus Group's Men's Fashion Director, Nick Wooster, recently sat down with Racked to talk about all things menswear, trendy and, flat out, awesome. The modern day style icon has a lot to say, but nothing is more poignant than his endorsement of the pocket square as that one transcendent S/S item for all men.
Racked: What's the absolute must-have item for men this spring?
Wooster: The one must-have men's accessory is the pocket square. It's the easiest, quickest way to make any ordinary jacket look extraordinary. We do our own collection, Brunello Cuccinelli, Etro, Brioni, and you can never go wrong with white. It's that perfect bit of polish. I love a hot pink or an acid yellow. Orange goes with everything. I say don't be afraid of color in a pocket square!
Racked: What about fall? What are some major fall trends that Neiman Marcus will be carrying?
Wooster: For fall, I think that the color burgundy in everything is going to be huge, from deep plum to a light pink, even. We call it cordovan. I think all of the most interesting shoes were in all in that reddish-brown cordovan color, so cordovan as a color is going to be huge for fall. It's also a season for outerwear, so pray for a cold winter, because outerwear was everywhere and it was amazing. With fur trim, with shearling, with leather skins, tweeds. And then, of course, the importance of the puffer jacket has exploded.
Racked: Are there any new lines for fall that you'll be carrying that you're excited about?
Wooster: We will have new lines in many of our doors, not necessarily all of them, but we will have Balmain in our Los Angeles store, we'll have an exclusive with Todd Snyder. He was originally a creative director at J. Crew, and he's put together a great American sportswear package. It'll be at Neiman's and Bergdorf's. Oh, and Givenchy will be new to four of our stores.
Racked: Do you feel that men's fashion doesn't really get the attention that it deserves? Especially compared to women's fashion?
Wooster: I think it's all changing. I think that, because of television, because of blogs, I think men's eyes have been opened. That it's okay to come out of the closet and have a little style. Not to be afraid of owning several pairs of shoes or collecting beautiful neckwear or woven shirts, whatever the case might be. So I do think it's changing a lot.
Racked: Do you ever think it will be revered on the same level as women's fashion?
Wooster: I think it's unlikely, but one can hope!
Racked: Tom Ford, in an interview with Vogue UK, recommended that men throw away their socks and underwear every six months and start anew. What do you think about that?
Wooster: I think it's a great idea.
Racked: Do you do that, or do you do anything similar, where you throw underwear and socks away en masse every once in a while?
Wooster: I've owned certain pieces of clothing for 25 or 30 years and I've also gotten rid of things after a week. I think a wardrobe is much like a garden. It needs constant tending. I think from a personal hygiene sort of thing, I think underwear needs to be rotated frequently and I think that socks and those foundation garments are that sort of thing. There's nothing more depressing that opening a drawer and seeing a yellowed t-shirt, so I think that you need to keep on top of your personal effects. But I think that there are shoes and jackets, leather pieces that are heirlooms, that you should hold onto forever.
Racked: Unisex fragrances are becoming more popular, or rather, they seem to re-emerge every once in a while. Do you ever think they're going to take off, especially now that Khloe and Lamar Odom have launched one?
Wooster: I think fragrances are personal, so you have to work with your body's chemistry. I think there are certain men who have always worn a lot of the French perfumes, like Eau d'Hadrien, a totally unisex fragrance that's been around for a hundred years. I think marketing has told us that a fragrance is either male or female, when it's really about what works best for your body chemistry. Adventurous people aren't defined by those marketing ideas, and just will go with what they like.
Racked: What's your fave?
Wooster: I wear fragrance occasionally, and when I do, I tend to like lemon verbena or vetiver, Annick Goutal, Diptique, Tom Ford, there are a lot of fragrances out there!
Racked: In your travels, do you notice that, in some regions, men need help more than in others?
Wooster: Well, I think that all men really want questions answered, that's why they shop. I think women shop for sport, and men shop for problem-solving. If I can help answer whatever their sartorial dilemmas are, then I will have done my job.