You’ve heard the trope “borrowed from the boys” a lot this season, haven’t you? That’s why this post is dedicated to its raison d’etre—men’s fashion. We’re thinking Don Draper’s dapperness— slick suits, rich textures, modern and, yet, very classic. Enter Matthew Singer, Neiman Marcus’ men’s fashion director.

With the company for almost a year now, Singer is busy trotting the world’s hottest runways to bring in the freshest trends to the American market. Prior to Neiman Marcus, Singer was the associate fashion director for Macy’s, and was with Scoop NYC before that.

Singer was recently in Bal Harbour, Miami for an event. A week before that, on a crisp, cold fall morning in Manhattan, we got a chance to interview him to talk about men’s style—from must-haves to colors, trends, and, of course, his job at Neiman Marcus.  

BRM: What are five pieces every urbane man should own?

Singer: I am all about investment dressing, because I believe you get what you pay for. The five must-haves are:

1. A navy sports coat (light wool) and a suit or two.

2. A few pairs of classic lace-up and monk strap shoes, and of course loafers.

3. A tux--- Every grown man must own one!

4. Blue jeans.

5. An assortment of pocket squares. They will take your navy blazer to a lot of different places.

BRM: What’s the color palette for 2013 looking like?

Singer: Mixed berry, shades of burgundy, hunter green, mustard bottoms and spiced tones.

BRM: Which menswear brand is hitting the mark this season?

Singer: Givenchy and Gucci have a good mix of regal, luxe and yet wearable masculine collections for a modern guy with a classic sensibility.

BRM: What is a typical work day like for you?

Singer: Every day is different. We’re constantly looking for new vendors in the market that will work with the Neiman Marcus team, sourcing new trend stories that will send the right message to the customer.

BRM: Where do you look for inspiration?

Singer: Everywhere. A lot of big ideas sometime come off the street and sometimes inspire the action on the runways because you see different looks stemming from the same idea. When that hits you, you know you have something.

BRM: From trend forecasting to the runways to the store—how do you decide which trends to showcase?

Singer: Our job is to make sure trends showcased by designers are right for the customer. We try to edit them down and focus on the top ten to make it easy. We’re always developing our contemporary assortment. We don’t always move the fastest, but when we do its very (in the) moment.

BRM: What are you work and play favorite items?

Singer: If I could wear jeans to work all the time…I also like my sweats. I am a navys and whites kinda guy—I believe in being minimalist but yet elegant.

BRM: What are your thoughts on the evolution of men’s fashion?

Singer: Women’s fashion is too big but menswear is evolving and getting noticed a lot more. Men have started to give their appearance a lot more thought—maybe it’s the job market—but guys want to look buttoned up, they want to look good. Maybe it’s the super striking “Boardwalk Empire” influence. All the classics are taking the lead, especially tailored suits—wearable, understated fashion is what it’s all about.

BRM: Last one, do men secretly obsess over shoes?

Singer: I definitely do. I don’t think you can have too many shoes, especially when you travel a lot.

About Jo:

Jyoti “Jo” Peswani is a fashion maven. As a Chanel-obsessed, published fashion and lifestyle journalist, she definitely has a nose for everyday style. In addition to being an award-winning copy girl, Jo runs her own marketing and writing consultancy, The Idea Is {In}. Jo currently curates her inspirations, observations and ideas on her recently launched blog www.theideaisin.com/blog. She’s a strong advocate of living (and dressing) creatively and takes great pleasure in denying the existence of “the box.”