Light-Colored Jackets Are Suitable For Fall

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Endless Summer: You've tried to be smart about buying clothing and found some great spring and summer jackets and suits at end-of-season prices, and now you're tempted to wear them.

A generation ago, a man wearing a white or tan jacket at an autumn evening event would be dismissed as someone with less-than-appropriate fashion sense. It was almost instinctive that lighter-toned jackets and suits were to be stashed away after Labor Day and only pulled out again after Easter. But in today's rollicking world of fashion, do the light/dark rules still apply?

"It's still a kind of informal rule. You'll usually see more dark jackets and suits at autumn events than light ones," says Renee Van Buyne of Jay Jacobs for Men in the Brea Mall. "Of course, you could use your accessories to 'darken' the suit or jacket to make it more acceptable. With a light gray jacket, you might want to wear a pair of black slacks and a dark-toned tie and pocket square."

There are regional differences in the light/dark rules as well. Your cream silk jacket may get some raised eyebrows at an October cocktail party in New York or even San Francisco. However, in Southern California, where fall is marked by the hot Santa Ana winds, you may be envied for looking so comfortable.

Tie Tips: There's always a guy in the office who comes to work on Halloween wearing a tie with skeletons. For Thanksgiving he has a tie covered in turkeys and the following month he has 12 with the presents of each day of Christmas.

Novelty ties can be fun expressions of your personality--sometimes.

"The guy who has 100 weird ties will be perceived as creative or disruptive, depending on what kind of business he's in," says clothing designer Brian Mayne of Mission Viejo. "Take your cues from the boss. If he or she is strait-laced and 'Brooks Brothers-ish,' I'd keep the ties pretty traditional. But if they wear fun stuff to work, they may like your things."

If you're not daring enough to wear a novelty tie to work on a normal working day, ease into it by donning a simple one with the colors of the season: black and orange for Halloween or red and green for Christmas.

Eau de Odor: As does your clothing, your cologne makes an impression on the kind of man you are: racy (a Kuros or Jazz wearer), traditional (Polo), plain (a faint hint of Aqua Velva) or obnoxious (too much of any scent).

"Pour a small amount into your hand, then rub it into your cheeks and neck," says Paul Vaccario, a men's fragrance distributor from Newport Beach. "The key is to do it quickly and vigorously because the alcohol in the cologne dissipates so fast."

To keep from overdoing it, don't use cologne more than once every six hours, and don't, by any means, mix scents.

The combination of colognes can leave a noxious odor when you leave a room, creating an impression that you're spending too much time at some fragrance counter.

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