BY DESIGN : A Red-Letter Day : Men's clothes are getting softer, and they're getting used to it, to the delight of women.

He may be a dummy, but women can't seem to get enough of him. That's what Linda Beale, the owner of the men's shop At Ease, says. Ladies have taken notice ever since she stuck the mannequin inside her store in Fashion Island Newport Beach.

What's the attraction?

His romantic duds.

"We have a joke at the store that this mannequin sells our clothes for us," explains Beale. "He's always dressed so right."

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Beale offers suggestions on what a man can wear to wow his partner.

This is another in a series of first-person columns that allows people connected to the fashion industry to talk about their encounters.


On Valentine's Day, don't go out to dinner all structured up, wearing a jacket with all the padding. Go for a looser look, a look that's masculine but not messy.

Soft is the word. Men's clothing is getting as soft to the hand as women's, and men are getting used to it. They're liking the softer shoulders and fabrics. Once they try them, you can't get them back into scratchy fabrics. I don't even carry V-neck lambs-wool sweaters anymore.

My favorite look is when a man wears a shirt made out of a blend of cashmere and cotton that feels like cashmere. Polo shirts in this blend are dreamy on a guy.

A cashmere knit polo shirt tucked into silk/cotton trouser, now, I don't know a man who doesn't look good in that. You know the kind, the long-sleeved shirts that he buttons the top button? It moves well with him, and when you touch his arm when you're talking to him, it feels great.

The elegant man going out to dinner now wears a white banded-collar shirt. He can go anywhere wearing it, from casual to a fine restaurant, if the collar is starched and slight. Guys like these collars because they're not so encumbering, and to women they're romantic.

Women really like this look, and it can work for a father or a son. In addition to the banded-collar shirt, men can wear Italian trousers with relaxed, woven leather shoes and patterned socks, maybe white dots on black or something with an attitude.

If he wants to, he can wear a single-breasted jacket with a beautiful silk, button-front vest. It's an elegant step up.

Men also look great in jet black. What's just yummy is a black silk suit. It's not shiny, but more like a heavy cotton. I like duster coats, too. My husband took one with him to New York, and it was great, but the buttons set off all the security alarms.

One attractive older woman with tears in her eyes asked me to please go to her home and talk to her husband, who refuses to buy clothes. He says, "I have all the clothes I'll ever need." I also hear young men say, "I have other things to spend my money on."

When you see a man wearing an old Izod shirt with the waffle weave or shirts with long pointed collars, you know that they would just look so much better in forward-looking clothes.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World