After a trip to Italy, my sports-loving, guy's-guy husband became enthralled with fashion.

I swear he spent half the trip mentally noting every interesting style he admired. He was fascinated with the understatedness of it all - dark, classy, effortless but fabulous.

In honor of Father's Day, then, I decided to dedicate this column to the men who strive for that same vibe (even if they won't admit it).

I never stop people watching.

Doesn't matter where I am-sitting at little league games on weekends, walking Downtown at lunchtime, waiting for airport flights - I just can't help myself. I like wondering who is going where, who is happy, who is in love. Plus, let's face it, it's fun to see how different people dress.

My husband has occasionally indulged me in the process, but mostly to discuss women's clothes, as he has rarely seen a need to discuss what other men have on.

Then, we went to Italy. And my sports-loving, guy's-guy husband (who once asked me what was so special about "Shimmy Shoes" when misunderstanding a conversation about Jimmy Choos) was enthralled with fashion.

I swear he spent half the trip (and he'll kill me for sharing this) mentally noting every interesting style he admired. He was fascinated with the understatedness of it all - dark, classy, effortless but fabulous.

In honor of Father's Day, then, I decided to dedicate this column to the men who strive for that same vibe (even if they won't admit it).

If you have one of them in your life, perhaps a fun Dad's Day gift is a new book I just read from Nordstrom, called Nordstrom Guide to Men's Style ($20). Written by longtime style guru and trend spotter Tom Julian, it's a non-intimidating, easy-to-read book for guys.

Here, a half-dozen highlights, excerpted from the book:

"There's a reason the blue blazer is every young man's introduction to the world of tailored clothing: It's easy, basic, and smart. Although superficially similar to the suit jacket, the sport coat is actually much more versatile." "Monochromatic always works. Wearing a variety of shades from the same palette looks confident and expensive - think Regis Philbin on pretty much every show he's ever hosted." "Mixing shirt and tie patterns is a challenge. Is there a simple rule? Think of it this way: One should always win - either a bold tie or a bold shirt. When in doubt, let your tie take center stage." "What are the rules for buttoning a jacket? No matter how many buttons you elect to have on your jacket, you should always leave at least one of them unbuttoned-preferably the bottom one-unless you want to look like your mother dressed you." "Shoes in brown (or a shade of brown) are appropriate for most suits and sport coats, including navy and lighter shades of grey. Black shoes are preferred for black, darker greys, and navy suits, when you want a more conservative look." "What you need: 5 suits; 5 sport coats; 5 trousers (dress); 3 pants (casual); 15 shirts; 10 ties; 4 pairs of shoes (lace-up, loafer, boot, canvas); 4 belts (that complement the shoes above); socks, underwear, T-shirts; 4 pairs of jeans (black, dark blue, washed, lived-in); tuxedo and accoutrements; 10 pieces of knitwear (3 crew necks, 3 V-necks, 2 vests, 2 cardigans); 5 fun sport shirts; 5 great T-shirts." Kristy Eckert is editor of Capital Style.