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Just for men

Gabrie HigbieVail CO, Colorado

This column is often dedicated to the lovely ladies of the valley, but this one concerns the men in our lives. How do we fashionistas keep our men up to pace with our quick-change fashion steps? Fashion for men – is it a never-ending oxymoron? As I entered into married life, I realized just how difficult men’s fashion is, even for me. Most men that I know are fashionably challenged to say the least. But it’s not like stores in general offer men many options. It helps, of course, if they bring along their personal shoppers – namely the women (or men) in their lives. But seriously, men have it tough. At least with the ladies, fashion can span genres. Men are not as lucky – their options in the style department run from GQ preppy to Carhartt sexy. It can prove very difficult to mesh the two or find a happy medium. A guy who can carry off casual Carhartts can’t necessarily carry of Gucci; meanwhile, a guy who can wear Giorgio Armani can’t necessarily pull off Wrangler. Men’s fashion is more about attitude than it is about what they are actually wearing. One of my very best friends in the whole entire world exemplifies this schism. Sheldon and I bonded in college over a pair of pants – mine, not his. The moment his comment on how much he liked my pants turned into a 20-minute conversation, I was hooked. For many years, Sheldon has been my biggest cheerleader in the style department. When we lived in New York together, we went on many a shopping spree, and somehow he could always justify the expense of a Louis Vuitton briefcase. Sheldon is a combination of Martha’s Vineyard casual and New York City chic. No matter where he goes, or what he does, he knows how to pull himself together with such panache that I find myself kneeling to his inner god of style. Sheldon can be wearing a simple pair of Levi’s, Nike running shoes and a Ralph Lauren sweater and look amazing. He is the person that turns heads when he walks into a room. His grace, fortitude and style carry him no matter where he is, and he possesses an air of elegance with edge. Men around the world should take lessons. Take a look at George Clooney: Granted, he’s very easy on the eyes, which helps a lot, but George always looks put together. His taste comes without pretension, and as such, he serves as an icon most men should aspire to. Men’s fashion is not always about pure looks, though. Matthew McConaughey is a perfect example of great body gone bad. He has the physique to wear almost anything he wants, but unfortunately he lacks the style to put his body to good use. Doesn’t he know that the sweaty, dirty, shower-deprived beach bum went away with ’90s grunge? But compared with some urban areas, men in the valley are lucky: They are rarely expected or required to pull out their inner GQ. This is fortunate because men’s shopping selections are so incredibly limited. But a few go-to options do exist.Edwards’ Brush Creek Dry Goods knows how to take men’s fashion and make it applicable to the mountain lifestyle. The store carries a variety of brands and styles, so everyone can be satisfied. Brush Creek Dry Goods stocks Mountain Khakis, which are my husband’s go-to pants. They blend Carhartt comfort with uptown style; the man in your life will thank you!Ptarmigan Sports is also a great stop. Featuring great brands like Oakley and North Face, Ptarmigan Sports in Edwards offers a dressed-down version of men’s style. It stocks some really excellent shirts for men that feature great looks, great designs and decent prices. Tommy Bowers in Vail Village is a bit out of reach in terms of price, but the style cred is undeniable. Prada, Gucci and the like all live at Tommy Bowers – if you are in the market for something super stylish, head over. But a word of caution: Tommy Bowers is not your average local’s stop. Be prepared to drop some serious bank at this store.So, gents, all is not lost: You can find acceptable shopping locations in the valley if you know where to look. And don’t forget to indulge in a little style every once in a while; when in doubt, bring your lady with you!


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