Menswear might move at a fraction of womenswear’s breakneck pace – its seasonal shifts more subtle than seismic – but that’s not to say each season doesn’t birth new trends. New modes of dressing. New ideas.
Like all ideas, some of these trends are commendable, and some, well, some are crap. Which is why we’ve compiled a list of trends to skip if you don’t want your style to suffer. Thank us later. When you’re returning that puce-coloured embroidered silk suit.
Skip: (Unacceptably) Short Shorts
There are limits to athleisure. While sweatshirts, sweatpants and trainers may be tolerable, nay stylish, junk-exposing 1980s gym shorts most definitely aren’t. That didn’t, however, stop Topman Design from trying to make them happen, showing a series of neutral and neon styles cut so short we feared Dick Owens 2.0.
Fix: Mid-Thigh Shorts
To air your legs without indecent exposure, opt for shorts with a little more surface area. A mid-thigh chino or tailored pair looks neater than a longer, baggier style but still stops short of baring all. Which is – I think we’re all agreed – best for everyone involved.
Men’s Shorts – Fashion & Style Outfit Inspiration Lookbook
Skip: Full-On Floral
Call it the Gucci effect: ever since creative director Alessandro Michele took the helm of the Italian label, menswear across the board has become enamoured of the designer’s lavish head-to-toe florals.
Which are, it should be said, fine to wear if you’re an off-duty mafia don looking for something to set off the stuccoed walls of your Tuscan palazzo. Less so if your name’s Derek and you’re looking for something to throw on to meet your mates camped out in the beer garden.
Fix: A Floral Focal Point
Punchy and poles apart from the austerity of athleisure, floral patterns are the point of difference your warm-weather wardrobe needs.
But go easy. Limit your foliage to one piece – a tee, jacket or a pair of trousers – and make it the focal point of your outfit to avoid looking like a V&A exhibition gone walkabout.
Floral Print Clothing – Men’s Fashion & Style Outfit Inspiration Lookbook
As liberating a prospect as genderless fashion is, we’re not sure we’re ready for this one. We weren’t when Marc Jacobs did it. Nor when Vin Diesel unleashed one at the 2003 MTV Europe Music Awards. And we’re not buying Givenchy’s SS16 angle either.
Maybe it’s the sight of all that hair. Or the hardened musculature against the softness of a skirt’s drape. Whatever it is, it’s the stuff of nightmares.
Fix: Relaxed Trousers
At least part of the reason industry-leading designers are pushing skirts must be a reaction against the restrictive discomfort of pipe cleaner trousers. Which we (and our respective manhoods) are totally on board with.
But instead of robbing your girlfriend’s wardrobe, we’d suggest alleviating the skinny issue with a pair of roomier trousers or chinos instead. Branch out into straight- and relaxed-leg styles this season and let your pins breathe.
Men’s Relaxed Leg Trousers and Chinos – Men’s Fashion & Style Outfit Inspiration Lookbook
Skip: Lace Shirts
Once an easy way for men to announce their financial prowess, wearing lace today just makes you look like Liberace – despite what luxury labels Burberry and Gucci would have you believe.
Yes, lace shirts might be part of a movement encouraging us to re-think what it means to be masculine, but that’s not really the point. The point is you have to get your t*ts out. And unless you’ve been eating nothing but chicken breast since last summer, you’ll be doing everyone a big favour by giving this one a wide berth.
Fix: Knitted Polos
Add some textural interest to your top half with a knitted polo in a trim fit. Versatile and irrepressibly preppy, one of these will offer a point of difference without going overboard.
Knitted Polo Shirts Men’s Fashion & Style Outfit Inspiration Lookbook
Skip: Frankly Batshit Bags
We know not everything that’s sent down the runway is intended for the assembly line. Which is why, when we first locked eyes on pieces like J.W. Anderson’s metal charm bags and KTZ’s oversized medical bags, we smiled knowingly to ourselves (“Those designers, so crafty!”) and thought nothing more of them, content in the belief they’d never see the light of day (or a shop floor).
Turns out – in the case of former at least – we were wrong. You can pick up a J.W. Anderson metal charm bag on the designer’s website for a modest £535.
Can you carry anything in it? No. Is it a metal frame with tools and trinkets dangling from it? Yes. Are our minds blown? Fully.
Fix: Functional Bags
Totes. Backpacks. Barrel bags. All of these are viable options for spring, summer and any other season. What’s more, they’ll a) carry things, and b) aren’t so big they’d take out a pensioner with one misjudged step at a pedestrian crossing.
If you haven’t already got your hands on one, then remember these two golden rules:
Buy a style that fits with your lifestyle – a leather tote is timeless, but it won’t be for life if you spend yours living in longline tees, tapered sweatpants and sleek trainers.
Colour is key – black, brown and grey are versatile and therefore will work with most of your wardrobe. Bags in punchy colours or loud prints are best left as reserves.
(Related: How to buy a bag that works anywhere)
Skip: Unorthodox Accessories
Menswear designers take inspiration from myriad sources, from art to cinema to architecture to, er, pick-up artists? The recent surge in lie-peddling PUAs’ popularity has had, it seems, some very real knock-on effects, with designers offering some prime peacocking material for the season ahead.
At Dunhill, for example, regular-sized boutonnières apparently rated paltry on the peacocking scale. In their place? Pins that looked like they’d been treated to a few months’ worth of Miracle-Gro.
Elsewhere, at Junya Watanabe, African beads, bones and fetish objects were the finishing touches. Which, if popping bottles of Dom hasn’t managed to do it, will definitely get you noticed at your Mayfair members’ club of choice.
Fix: Classic Accessories
The fact that wearing accessories – jewellery, watches and hats, in particular – is in many ways a statement in and of itself means you should generally steer subtle in your tastes.
This season, a decent minimal watch, a leather cuff or a couple of steel rings is all you need to get noticed. For the right reasons.