FARGO - Fashion rules are hard to follow. No socks with sandals. No clothing too big (or too small). Colors and patterns must "go." And please, don't fail to finish the look.
Often men's fashion faux pas are displayed for the world to see. But for men who don't enjoy shopping in the first place, pointing out what not to wear may leave them wondering, "What is acceptable?"
Here are seven trends to get men one step closer to a dashing wardrobe.
1. Contrasting collars and cuffs
One trend visible across several brands - at nearly every price point - is button-up shirts with contrasting collars and cuffs.
"When you roll the sleeves, there's another fabric with detail," says Mikia Albrecht, men's fashion manager at Scheels. "It's super trendy to roll your sleeve up, too, and have that showing."
From street-casual flannels to formal dress shirts, unique patterns - including polka dots, paisleys and florals - give button-ups an extra flare and often introduce colors for easy outfit pairing.
2. Plain tees
While bold, graphic tees have been popular in the past, Albrecht says affordable, plain tees (such as Scheels brand Seeded & Sown) have been stealing the show lately.
"They're only $10 but have been selling like crazy because they're plain, easy for guys to throw on with their hybrid shorts, jeans or pretty much anything."
A basic tee is a versatile item to be used as a staple or layering undershirt.
"Men can do so much with just one T-shirt," Albrecht says.
3. Lightweight sweatshirts
In 2017, men's bulky hoodies are out.
"A lot of the really thin pullovers - where it's just more of a (long sleeve) T-shirt - is really popular," Albrecht says. "You still have that comfy feeling but you don't have this big, bulky sweatshirt that you get hot in."
Whether hooded or hood-less, these lightweight pullovers and full-zip sweatshirts have given men more options for casual wear.
4. Prints, burgundy and blues
Although Albrecht admits she doesn't think plaid will ever entirely go out of style in our area, she's noticed a shift to prints. The brand RVCA, for example, has begun implementing various floral prints into menswear while others offer polka dots, houndstooth and other patterns.
"I think as holiday comes, you'll see a lot more (prints), too," Albrecht says.
Touching on color, "that brighter shade of blue or cobalt, has been really popular in jackets and suits," says Alex Dahl, store manager at Halberstadt's ND. "Right behind that - that'll maybe take a little bit - would be a burgundy color."
5. Colored pants
For the past few years, women's colored pants have been wildly popular while men stuck with basic blue jeans. But in 2017, men are getting more bold.
"They're definitely becoming more open to it where a couple years ago, they made fun of us wearing colored pants," Albrecht says. "We do have light gray color that's been flying out of here. Those are a super easy sell especially with all the blues and reds right now."
Several other colors are slowly infiltrating men's fashion.
"We will be getting a caramel-colored, almost tobacco, pant - a little bit more yellow," Albrecht says. "Maroon is really big too so those are coming for holiday. And maybe even that olive green."
With colored pants, men can go more neutral with their shirt or play into the colors with a pattern.
6. Interchangeable belts
Mission and other brands of belts offer versatility.
"You can interchange the buckles with the leather piece going from dressy to casual, which is really nice," Albrecht says.
Instead of a traditional belt with notches, Mission belts use a zip tie-like fastener, which is said to last longer than notches that often get stretched out or torn with time.
7. Brown shoes
When it comes to formal wear for special events and wedding attire, men are often at a loss - especially with footwear.
"Brown shoes have been really popular with grays and navys - kind of that lighter tan, cognac color," Dahl says. "We see black coming back in fashion magazines a little bit but definitely right now that tan colored shoe has been really popular."
Tips toward trendy
As a woman whose day job is to assist men with fashion, Albrecht offers advice for aspiring trendsetters.
• Start with your basics. "Find some pieces that you love," she says. "Start with your basics - find your couple pairs of favorite jeans and some tops that are easy to interchange with different colors."
• Add trend. Once you've collected staple pieces, it's easier to dive into trends. "Then you could get that plaid shirt for going out and an overpiece for when you're cold," Albrecht says. "Once you have the basics, you can go more dressy or more casual, picking up some good pieces to layer with."
• Shop alone. While it might be natural to seek help from a loved one, Albrecht cautions against it. "Their significant other always has a different opinion," she says. "Most of the time, she'll talk him out of something because she's not used to seeing him in something different. If I get him in something, send him home and he wears it then it's a little bit easier to get used to a different look."