Style: March of the penguin suits

When it comes to tuxes, men no longer have to look like monkeys in monkey suits. Finally they are getting fashionable and this is the year when it all comes together.

“We’re saying goodbye to that bad shape,” says fashion guru Steven Cojocaru of “Entertainment Tonight” and author of “Glamour, Interrupted.” “You’re seeing skinnier silhouettes and more expensive fabrics. We’re now at a zenith with men’s fashion where the metrosexual is ruling.”

Fashion is reaching back to the classic look of old Hollywood and giving it a modern, sexy twist. Thanks to designs like Dior Homme’s with its skinny cut, men look slimmer in luxury fabrics such as lightweight wool. This year, expect to see ’60s-inspired velvet dinner jackets in rich purples or blues. There will be vests and regular ties instead of bow ties.

But it is the true star of men’s fashion, Giorgio Armani, who gets top honors for dragging men out of the Brooks Brothers Fashion Neanderthal Age. Fellow designers such as Gucci, Brioni, Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren also offer men stylish suggestions. “These brands all have glamorous options,” says Cameron Silver, owner of L.A.’s vintage couture boutique Decades.

Although there are many adventurous options out there for men right now, Silver says it’s best to play it safe. “Every time a man does something a little bit too alternative, there’s a price to be paid.”

Silver is also a firm believer in a custom-made tux. “If there’s one night when you really should have something made for every contour of your body, it’s the night when you’re up for an Oscar.”

For the shorter male, Alan Au, marketing director at Beverly Hills tuxedo shop Jimmy Au’s, suggests a two-button jacket in either a notch or peak lapel in a narrower style to achieve a more proportioned look. “If you’re under 5-foot-5 and you don’t weigh more than 140 pounds, a regular-size lapel is going to look a lot bigger on you than if you wear a thinner lapel,” Au says. “It’s all about the fit.”

“These days, men are taking their style cues from George Clooney, who’s doing Cary Grant,” Cojocaru says. “Clooney has the gift of putting on a tux and it’s ‘Wow, it’s leading man,’ and Brad Pitt has really put Tom Ford on the map.”

Designers are, at long last, courting the male stars on the red carpet. Therefore, men should take note of this new trend, throw out the monkey suit and dress accordingly.

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