It’s no secret that “fashion trends” perhaps isn’t the menswear community’s favourite phrase. In a world where investing money in timeless, quality pieces will always trump keeping pace with fashion, jumping onto every passing bandwagon tends to be looked upon with a certain degree of disrespect.
But not all fashion trends are created equal. The key to retaining your sartorial self-respect lies in the ability to successfully differentiate between the fleeting fads and the future classics. In order to give you a nudge in the right direction, we’ve created a carefully selected edit of the menswear movements worth incorporating into your wardrobe this year, and why you should give them a try.
The reasons for embracing the vertical stripe trend are twofold: firstly, it looks great and presents a simple, refined way to experiment with prints; secondly, it has the nice added bonus of shaving a few pounds off your appearance, making you appear taller and slimmer.
For bonus points, opt for styles with stripes of varying width. Or simply stick to classic stripes, or even seersucker, if you prefer to keep things subtle.
We’ve been living in the midst of 1990s-throwback madness for longer than we care to remember right now. Sneakers ballooned up, tailoring went all Chandler Bing and it was impossible to attend a festival without being surrounded by retro track jackets and ironic bucket hats.
In 2020, however, things are on the turn. The 20-year trend clock is still ticking to the nanosecond and as a result we’re going to be seeing a resurgence of millennium style. Exactly what shape this will take is anyone’s guess but as long as it doesn’t manifest itself as popped polo collars, shutter shades and deep V-necks then we’re happy.
Vests For Layering
This summer will be the time to dig out your singlet. Not to be worn on it’s own mind you. Leave that to the gym bros. The vest is back with a vengeance but this time it’s all about creating depth with your summer shirting. A boxy Cuban-collar shirt (see below) worn over a white vest is set to become your new favourite thing once the warm weather finally returns.
Menswear has long been looking to the seas for inspiration. You only need to look at the peacoat for evidence of that. But this year it’s going to go to the next level as fisherman beanies, Breton tops and other dock-worker staples creep further into mainstream men’s fashion.
It’s a subgenre of workwear that fashion journalists are already cringingly referring to as “shipster”. But while you may not want to dress in it from head to toe, a couple of its key pieces here and there is a good way to bring your wardrobe up to speed.
Dark or raw denim is a bona-fide menswear staple. But when the weather turns hot, it ceases to be practical.
Luckily, this season there is a solution to the problem. It’s a few shades lighter, it’s casual and it goes with almost everything. Mid-wash denim was everywhere in the menswear collections and this time it looks as though it could be here to stay.
One of this summer’s biggest men’s fashion trends is a tricky one to pull off. Get it right and you’re king of the Riviera; get it wrong and you’re Andy Murray on match day.
Despite the risks, going all white is one of the best men’s style moves you can make. It’s also a sure-fire way to keep cool in the heat. Try pairing a crisp white T-shirt with matching chino shorts and a pair of tonal leather sneakers. If it’s all looking too much, throw a navy overshirt on top to tone it down.
Piling on layers when the sun is shining may not sound like the most practical move to make but it can still be an option if done cleverly. Swap out the heavy outerwear for lightweight jackets and overshirts worn over plain tees, polos or summer-ready shirts. This way you can remove them if you get too hot. Then simply tie them around your waist, shoulders or torso to retain the visual element without the added warmth.
Camp Collar Shirts
Classic collar short-sleeve shirts can carry with them some unwanted “lads down the pub” connotations for some. This breezy summer option offers a stylish way around that. Camp collar shirts have been big for several years now, meaning you can rest assured they have some longevity in them and aren’t just a fleeting fad. The flat, lapel collar styling adds a touch of something different to what might otherwise be a bland outfit, creating a subtle focal point to tie a look together. Perfect when worn with tailored swim shorts for a light lunch at a beachside restaurant.
Vivid colours aren’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you should stick religiously to a monochrome palette.
Pastel shades are always a great, seasonally-appropriate option for adding a touch of interest to an outfit. And this year pink is the colour you should be opting for. They say it takes a real man to wear pink and while we’re not totally convinced by that statement, it does certainly take a style-savvy one. Try a pink Oxford button-down shirt or sweatshirt for an easy, entry-level addition that will go with everything in your existing wardrobe.
Historically speaking, wearing sandals hasn’t always been the best way for a man to bolster his street cred. In fact, they’ve basically always been categorically uncool. No more, because as we transition into the next decade a new breed of sandal is working hard to claw back open-toed footwear’s tattered reputation.
Chunky, street-friendly sandals of the sort championed by Suicoke and Visvim saw a dramatic surge in popularity over the past 12 months and it’s a trend that’s only set to grow going forward. If you’re going to try it, though, make sure to pair with looser cuts and relaxed pieces – it’s all in the name of balance.
Banishing Bare Ankles
It’s difficult to tell what a decade will be remembered for trend-wise without the benefit of a little hindsight. Still, if we were betting types we’d put our money on the 2010s going down in history as an age of exposed ankles.
Everyone had the bottoms of their legs on display over the course of the last 10 years. Manufacturers of no-show socks were doing a roaring trade, but as the decade draws to a close, we’ve been seeing a shift back towards proper socks. If you’re going to make one adjustment to your summer wardrobe, invest in some good-quality tube socks.
It’s difficult to imagine a colour better suited to the autumnal months than brown. Perhaps because there isn’t one. Several designers featured the colour heavily in their fall/winter collections, including Louis Vuitton, Ermenegildo Zegna and Britain’s very own Oliver Spencer, who used browns, along with burn oranges and khaki shades to create a series of autumn-appropriate looks with the colour at their core.
It’s not just smart footwear that’s had a winter-friendly update, manufacturers of sneakers have been on the case too. Gore-Tex has been rampant in menswear over the course of the last year thanks to fashion’s enduring obsession with outdoor gear but more recently it’s begun to trickle further south.
With everyone from Nike to Adidas releasing some sort of Gore-Tex trainer, this year looks set to be the one in which waterproof sneakers really take hold. Anything that keeps our feet dry on the morning commute is OK by us.
Due to its good looks, ruggedness and timeless appeal, leather will continue to be a trend winter after winter. A quality bomber jacket made from the stuff will probably be one of the soundest style investments you’re ever likely to make. It won’t come cheap, but it will last a lifetime. If you haven’t already added one to your collection, this coming winter is the time to do it. And if you really want to stay on trend, why not go for a model with a belted waist?
The rise of technical outerwear in the fashion world has been one of the overarching trends of the last few seasons and will continue well into the new year. This winter, tricked-out parkas will be ruling the big-coat game and now’s the perfect time to pick one up.
Global names in the world of outerwear like Canada Goose, Woolrich and The North Face will continue to be a solid investment, but also look out for smaller names like Crescent Down Works and Adsum, as well as fully-fledged outdoor brands like Arc’teryx.
It doesn’t seem like long ago that cargo trousers were the absolute pinnacle of uncool. The more pockets a pair of pants had, the less trendy they became. Yet this year that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Pockets are seeing a monumental return to form. Purveyors of premium casualwear like Brunello Cucinelli and Barena have made cargos cool again and to be honest, we’re really enjoying the extra storage. Look out for multi-pocketed outerwear from some of the biggest names in the game, too. Pockets are back, and this time they’re here to stay.
It’s the type of thing you’re likely to have admired being worn by men on films and television and thought looked great (with the possible exception of Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses). Chances are, though, you’ve never plucked up the courage to try it for yourself. Well the timing couldn’t be better because shearling coats and jackets are tipped to be big news again in autumn and winter. It’s in keeping with the current preference for workwear-inspired pieces and will carry you through the colder months in style.
Commando-Soled Chelsea Boots
The Chelsea boot has always been one of the most elegant, sleek and low-profile boot options around. While that’s all well and good in fair weather, as soon as we’re met with a bit of ice and heavy rainfall they cease to be practical.
Enter: the commando-soled Chelsea boot. Thick, rugged soles have been cropping up all over men’s footwear but nowhere do they make more sense than here. Finally, this classic silhouette is fully equipped to deal with the cold. Not to mention the added chunkiness opens up your wardrobe options – allowing you to play with looser fits and heavy layering.
Rolled out by heavy hitters including Moncler, Prada, Marni and Versace, quilted jackets are back for FW20. Only this time they’re bigger and brighter than ever before (which is saying something). We have to say, we still prefer more muted tones such as black or navy, which will offer longevity.
It’s not just that quilted jackets are trending hard, they’re also one of the warmest and most practical options when it comes to selecting a winter coat. So, where once you had to suffer in the name of fashion, this year you can revel in it and stay cosy instead.
Windowpane, madras and tartan are the checks of choice for the colder months. Think bold, bright and even worn together. Checks were everywhere at the recent menswear shows and will be a big deal during the colder months. But if you don’t fancy emulating some of the more daring looks, you could always just incorporate the pattern via flannel shirts, checked suiting or a printed overcoat.
Whether it was oversized suiting or wide-leg trousers, pinstripes were everywhere at the menswear shows. It’s a welcome return for one of the coolest patterns in tailoring. If business casual is well, too casual, opt for fine quality pinstriped suit. Single breasted is a classic option but to go for the full look, try a double-breasted jacket with peak lapels because tailoring has just gone full circle.
Whether you’re scaling the north face of K2 or simply wandering through the city in the November rain, a pair of hiking boots will see you right. Heritage brands like Fracap, Diemme and Danner have been instrumental in bringing the traditional leather hiking boot into the fashion spotlight. Now the style is gaining such momentum that Ralph Lauren even kitted the US Winter Olympic team out with a pair each for the opening ceremony.