Back to school: Teen boys are opting for a tailored fit

  • Article by: AIMEE BLANCHETTE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 15, 2013 - 10:23 AM

view larger photos


Teenage boys are having a Jay Z moment and we’re all better for it.

When the influential rapper and trendsetter said he was trading in his baggy jeans and jerseys for Tom Ford suits and ties, young men paid close attention. Slowly but surely, the popularity of sports jerseys and ill-fitting pants has waned. Now, the trends for young men follow a tailored silhouette.

PHOTO POLL: Which back-to-school outfit do you like the most?

School is almost back in session, meaning plenty of kids will be updating their wardrobes. Although the guys might not seem like the most likely candidates to make a fashion statement, the opposite is true. Beyond Jay Z, they’re taking style cues from the likes of Justin Timberlake, Kanye West and fashion-forward NBA stars like Russell Westbrook.

“Young guys are no longer being called out for dressing well,” said Erick DeLeon, manager of Martin Patrick 3, a men’s clothing boutique in Minneapolis’ North Loop. “Now they can wear slim-fitting jeans and bow ties, and not catch any flak for it.”

Pablo Helm Hernandez used to play it safe, dressing in clothes blasted with brand names like Hollister and American Eagle. Now he goes for a retro look to reflect his love for ’60s and ’70s movies. The 17-year-old St. Paulite frequents thrift stores for a selection of skinny jeans and ’70s-style button-up shirts. He keeps the look “fresh” with his thick-rimmed orange and transparent glasses, plus the latest pair of Nikes.

“I feel good when I look cool,” Helm Hernandez said. “I like fashion. It helps with my self-esteem.”

Fashion-wise, it’s prime time for guys, said Sara Rogers, trend specialist for the Mall of America. Options go well beyond relaxed-fit jeans and T-shirts, giving boys as many chances as girls to dress outside of the box.

“It’s so exciting to see so many design elements that make getting dressed fun for men,” she said. “Having so many options is encouraging guys to step up their style game.”

Guys’ fashion is more colorful than ever and young men are finding subtle ways to incorporate the bright hues into their look — from the soles and laces of their shoes to the contrasting detail on their bow ties.

Skinny jeans are still the denim du jour, but even guys who don’t like the look or have the shape to pull it off are opting for pants that are slim and tapered.

Or, forget the trends altogether and just wear what you want, DeLeon said. But don’t forget your best accessory: confidence.

“Don’t be afraid to stand out,” DeLeon said. “There’s no better feeling than getting your first compliment.”


Aimee Blanchette • 612-673-1715


  • related content

  • Back-to-school style: The boys' looks

    Wednesday August 14, 2013

    What are the hottest looks for boys in back-to-school fashion? Take a look.

  • Best-dressed teacher contest

    Wednesday August 14, 2013

    Who’s the most stylish teacher in the Twin Cities?

  • Southwestern prints are wildly popular. Mix-and-match patterns and wear plenty of layers.

  • Stay on trend with rugged, yet refined boots and camo-lined denim.

  • Stand out with bright, colored-sole shoes. These versatile kicks can be dressed up or down.

  • Kick off the school year with blue suede shoes and printed socks.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters