The actor sports trendy V-neck shirts on ''Mission: Impossible''

By Degen Pener
Updated August 16, 1996 at 04:00 AM EDT

Tom Cruise sets new fashion trends

Whatever Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible may have lacked in substance, it’s making up for in style. Cruise’s fashion statement from the film — in which he paired sleekly fitted jackets with clinging V necks — was spied all over the runways at the spring 1997 men’s shows, which just concluded in New York. ”That simple, pared-down silhouette peaked during the current collections,” says David Bradshaw, fashion director of the British magazine Arena and a stylist on Mission.

The key element to Cruise’s new look, which he wore to this year’s Oscars, is the V-necked shirt. But not just any old V neck. ”The V is very high,” says Bradshaw. ”It’s sharper and cleaner than a low V neck, which can show too much chest and look a little too gigolo.”

What else descended on the runways? Top trends included taxicab yellow ties and shirts under gray suits, Woolworth flip-flops, bright shiny short-sleeve dress shirts (by designer Gene Meyer) shown with short ties, boot-cut pants, and Nautica’s Gilligan-style fishing hats. But in all instances, everything was tight, tighter, and tightest. ”Even the street [clothes] are less baggy. You’re seeing the V necks and slim-fit polo shirts there, too,” says Maximilian Gross, copresident of the clothing company 2B!, whose shirts are worn by Prakazrel Michel and Wyclef Jean of Fugees.

Even the Stiller family is picking up on the style. At the Hugo Boss show, Ben Stiller sported the new V neck. And his dad, Seinfeld‘s Jerry Stiller, is veering in the same direction. ”As Frank Costanza,” he says, ”it would give me the opportunity to get out of a leisure suit.”