past about my interest in iced out kid's style, and though I understand the complete economic idiocy of buying expensive children's clothes1, I often find myself digging certain brand's boy's styling more than their men's.
-J.Crew men's styling is hit or miss, they've got to navigate the challenge of appealing to a varied audience that includes both sartorial obsessives and casual shoppers. But their children's styling is almost always on-point, mainly because it employs a sentiment that most of us could stand to remember; rules are made to be broken. If the catalog featured grown ass men with neon green laces in their desert boots the internet haterade would flow like crazy. But thrown them on some kids and nobody will care, because kids can do whatever they want. And that's the problem. You don't have to be a kid to stand out a bit. I, like most people, am glad that there's been a sort of underground men's style Renaissance in the past few years, but one side-effect of that movement has been young dudes trying to dress like Don Draper. Most of you (readers) are in your 20s. There's still time to throw something wacky into the mix every once in awhile2.
-In the first picture, what I like even more than the laces, is the play on sleeve length and the mixing of tech materials with more traditional fabrics. I wouldn't put a windbreaker under a blazer anywhere that it might actually rain, but I've always tried to find ways to work in my nylon pieces without looking like a jogger from the future, which I think this look accomplishes. More than the use of the materials themselves, I love how the henley and the windbreaker give this kid some layers and some contrast at the cuff. I've said it before, but sleeve-length variance can add some much needed dissonance to your look.
-This might sound a little weird, but the sleeve cuff (along with the pant cuff,) is my favorite sartorial stomping grounds (which I was why I only mess with jackets with working button-holes.) My go-to uniform of OCBD/tie/crewneck sweater could look pretty Sunday if I didn't provide some variance in knot, tie color/material, and the way I roll/push/fold/whatever the layered cuffs of oxford cloth and sweater. There are few places in an outfit where several fabrics are revealed, the neckline and the cuff being the primary spots, and it is in those areas that I think men can best set themselves apart.
-This post diverted a bit, but the point is: take a cue from the kids, find your own quirks. Play with a few layers of varying sleeve length, reveal an unexpected color fabric at the cuff. You're (probably) not old yet. Chill out.
1- Glenn O'Brien wrote a great piece about this subject in City Magazine a few years back, but I can't seem to find it on the interweb anywhere.
2- I do think the neon laces in the desert boots looks dope, but I'm not suggesting you take your style cues straight from the styling of a major chain, I'm just saying to find something, some quirk that will piss off traditionalists and is yours alone.