While some indicators say the economy may be improving, brighter colors in men's fashion suggest it may not be humming along.
"When the economy is raging, the colors are a little darker," said Bruce Baird, owner of Bruce Baird & Co., a men's clothing store on Broad Street.
The brighter colors, he said, will be evident in sportswear, including "tons of plaids and ginghams," and in accent colors in dressier clothing.
For example, Baird said, "the big accent colors in ties are going to be bright- and soft-pink, light- and dark-purple, and seafoam/jade green." The styles include a variety of paisleys and stripes, he said.
"It's one of the prettiest seasons for ties in several years," he said.
The pairing of suits and color in Frank Muytjen's spring collection for J. Crew has been called "stripes and brights."
"It is this creative process of mixing colors, fabrics and shapes which keeps it refreshing," the designer said in an interview with Men's Health magazine.
Baird said the epitome of dressing stylishly for men is still a suit and tie. Among suits, he said, "stripes, period" are in vogue because they always appear dressy.
But he acknowledged many people aren't dressing as often in suits.
Since some men want their style to be "over the top," many men have opted for French cuffs, Baird said.
Shirts with French cuffs, or double cuffs, have twice as much material at the end of the sleeve and are folded back. Traditionally, they have been the choice for formal, semiformal or black-tie events.
"They're making a big resurgence," Baird said. "Now, you can even wear them with jeans with the shirttail out."
Sport coats also are getting a workout with the trend for men to opt not to dress in a suit and tie. They're fashionable with and without ties, Baird said.
They can "be worn dressed up or with khakis or jeans" in order "to get the most money out of your clothing," he said.
Khaki pants remain a staple of a man's wardrobe, he said.