For the modern man, staying on trend can be difficult. CrossFit or pure calisthenics? Clean shave or chevron moustache? Join Snapchat or a social media detox somewhere in the depths of Cornwall? It’s all a bit knackering.
Men’s fashion, however, is still a territory that’s pretty easily mapped. Sure, in today’s digital age the process of predicting a neat set of seasonal trends might not be the cakewalk it once was, especially when a ‘gram from a grade-A influencer can make a micro-trend overnight. But by and large, men’s style is still ruled by trends, irrespective of whether they’re born on the pavement, a touchscreen or the pages of a magazine.
(Related: Where Do Trends Come From?)
To ensure you’re more on-point than past-it this season, we’ve riffled through runway shots to round up the top six menswear trends for SS17, from prints to key pieces.
You thought it was dead, didn’t you? Thought that pile of trampled-on T-shirts you saw in a bargain bin last week was a sure sign that we’d hit peak camo. But like the bomber jacket and smart-casual sneakers, camo isn’t budging.
Less a trend, more a seasonally updated staple, the military print remains something every man needs in his wardrobe; no doubt bolstered by the come-about of green as 2017’s colour of the year.
(Related: How To Wear 2017’s Biggest Colour Trend: Green)
Just take a look at the SS17 collections from brands and designers including Dsquared2, Givenchy and Valentino. Then add to that some more unlikely camo allies in the form of Italian tailoring label Bottega Veneta and florals-obsessed Belgian designer Dries Van Noten) and it’s clear this pattern’s got life in it yet.
Whether or not you’re on board with the slightly hamfisted comparisons drawn between Prada’s SS17 collection and the plight of Syrian refugees (the backpacks, each of which will probably retail for somewhere north of £1,000, were reportedly intended for “difficult times,” according to Miuccia), one thing we can all agree on is that Prada does make a mean parka.
“Parkas, you say? In summer? Won’t I sweat my balls off?” You won’t, actually, because these designs are much lighter than the chill-deflecting winter variants we’ve been seeing in recent seasons.
Also spotted at Versace, Lemaire and Lou Dalton, these warm-weather parkas are cut from breezily light manmade materials, often unlined and ideal if you’re looking for an alternative to a hoodie to top-off an athleisure look once the temperature starts hiking.
So maybe sweeping hakama-style wide-leg trousers haven’t caught on like fashion thought they would (funny that), but that’s not an excuse to keep trying to pass off your skinnies as groundbreakingly stylish.
(Related: From The Experts: Men’s Style Predictions For 2017)
No, to paraphrase Bob Dylan: the trousers they are a-changin’. Out go ankle-enveloping second-skin jeans, and in come cuts cropped just above the ankles in relaxed, but not baggy, fits. Christopher Kane had them. Maison Margiela had them. Heck, even Dolce & Gabbana (formerly the patron saints of the skinny suit) had them. Which means you need some, especially if you want to swerve sweaty mankles this spring/summer season.
Also, it’d be remiss of us not to mention that there is, among some of menswear’s more daring designers ( Balenciaga, Issey Miyake and Wooyoungmi to name but a few), a movement towards high-waisted trousers. But it’d also be remiss of us to suggest you actually wear them. Best swerve these for now unless you’re waif-ery thin, work in ‘the arts’ and/or an actual model.
For the first time since the 1980s, tailoring is letting loose. Gosha Rubchinskiy led the charge; at his debut Pitti Uomo show, the Russian designer supplemented his signature 1990s sportswear with a selection of broadly-cut navy suits, some of which – in their late 1980s Armani-ness – wouldn’t look out of place on a modern-day Patrick Bateman.
But it wasn’t just menswear’s current enfant terrible shaking up tailoring this season. The switch from skinny and slim suiting to something more unwieldy was widespread, with designers such as Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga and Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta also propping up the trend for a broader-shouldered silhouette.
Top tip: take your cue from the latter; Maier’s suits are loose enough to let you nod to the trend (not to mention let your body breathe come summer) but won’t also turn you into the ‘After’ half of a #TransformationTuesday Instagram.
(Related: The Basic Rules Of Suit Fit)
Time to start dressing like ice cream. From sky blue to soft tangerine, coral to lemon sherbet, pastels made a serious comeback at the SS17 shows. Better yet, names like Topman Design, Christopher Shannon and Cottweiler proved barely-there colours are every bit as versatile as an all-white or earth tone palette.
If the thought of wearing such shades is enough to turn you pastel white, buck up – because this season’s spectrum is markedly more masculine than in the recent past. It’s worth remembering, though, that while versatile, pastels don’t lend themselves to a head-to-toe approach in the same way as earth tones, nor every skin tone (sorry, fair-faced readers).
Think of these softer shades as accent colours, rather than the nuts and bolts of your look.
(Related: How To Wear 6 Of The Most Difficult Menswear Colours)
After seasons spent on an almost monastic minimalist bent, menswear is once again warming up to the idea that more just might be more. Following the flamboyant lead of Alessandro Michele’s amped-up work for Gucci, designers this season offered up menswear staples spliced with serious attitude – from bleach-splattered denim at Bally and Dsquared2 to embroidered cowboy shirts at Missoni.
Slogans – whether printed on T-shirts (like we saw in SS16) or embroidered on the back of a jacket – also cropped up, proving that, in a world where freedom of speech and movement seems increasingly at stake, keeping schtum isn’t stylish.
(Related: 8 Men’s Fashion Trends To Keep For 2017)
As with all statements, a little goes a long way. So tip your hat to the trend with one standout piece per look – whether that’s a jacket with contrast embroidery or embellished jeans – and you’ll look trend-conscious without going full arts-and-crafts class.
Cillian O’Connor is a freelance writer, editor and consultant, best known for his ability to sort the wheat from the chaff in the world’s of men’s style, grooming, lifestyle and design.
Once named the No. 1 Blogger by Vogue, Cillian also contributes to The Sunday Times, The Business of Fashion and Metro.