Introduction

“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable we have to change it every six months”

Yes, that’s right, I’m starting an article off with an Oscar Wilde quote. It could be because I’ve just finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and now consider myself a wealth of knowledge on the man. It could be because I googled ‘fashion quotes’ and it was the first one I saw without scrolling down. I hate scrolling down. Or maybe, just maybe, it could be because I’m a cultured, educated person who can pull interesting quotes about fashion out of his dome like that.

No, you’re right – I totally googled it.

Regardless of all this, the real reason I opened up with this particular Wilde quote is because it’s true. Now that 2012 is well and truly behind us, it’s time to start thinking about the year, and seasons, ahead. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. As soon as it nears February, all I can think about is spring/summer and what I’m going to be picking up this time around (Madras blazer, people).

However, as 2012 was such a great year for menswear, and men’s fashion as a whole, I think it would a shame to just throw away everything that we learnt, just to make way for the new. There are some pieces that we all decided to get involved with last year that really deserve to be in our rotation all year round.

So, before you start drawing up lists and taking photos for your eBay account, here’s a rundown of the key pieces of 2012 that you should really look to keep rocking this New Year.

1. The Three-Piece Suit

It was only a matter of time before Savile Row had it’s time in the spotlight. With Americana old news and Italian style starting to wane, the moment was ripe for the oldest of fashion houses to step forward. And nothing summed up British elegance better than the three-piece.

Every guy looks great in one, thanks to its ability to tuck in at all the right places, and it allows you to remain sharp once the jacket comes off. For those that like to utilise their suits as separates, it’s also a great investment piece, because there are seven different ways you can wear it.

With such classic style and versatility, why would you want to stop wearing it?

Men's Three-Piece Suit Lookbook

Sarar AW12Reiss AW12Cacharel AW12H&M Modern Classic AW11Topman Made In England AW11He By Mango AW12
  • Topman Three Piece Russo SuitTopman Three Piece Russo Suit
  • Asos Skinny Fit Suit In Black PolywoolAsos Skinny Fit Suit In Black Polywool
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit In HoundstoothAsos Slim Fit Suit In Houndstooth
  • Reiss Riley Two Button Single Breasted Suit GreyReiss Riley Two Button Single Breasted Suit Grey
  • Burton Burgundy Slim Fit Suit With WaistcoatBurton Burgundy Slim Fit Suit With Waistcoat
  • Burton Montague Burton Taupe Slim Fit Heritage SuitBurton Montague Burton Taupe Slim Fit Heritage Suit
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit In NavyAsos Slim Fit Suit In Navy
  • Topman Black Textured Tux Three Piece SuitTopman Black Textured Tux Three Piece Suit
  • Topman Navy Russo Three Piece SuitTopman Navy Russo Three Piece Suit
2. The Brown Suit

There’s an argument to be made that this tailoring trend was gathering momentum in 2011, but 2012 was when the brown suit really hit its stride. Whether it was the perfect summer office suit in linen/cotton, or a windowpane check tweed blazer for the winter, brown was being worn everywhere (and worn well) in 2012.

The advantages of brown tailoring? It’s flattering against any skin tone and can be paired with pretty much every colour you already own – especially blue, and I know how much you guys out there love blue.

In 2013, keep your eyes peeled for bold tones such as tobacco or caramel, which can add an extra pinch of attitude to a look without becoming brash or garish.

Men's Brown Suit Lookbook

Zara Man 2010Barneys AW12Basso SS11Reiss SS13Zara June 2010The Kooples AW12
  • Reiss Pinot B Two Button Cotton Mixer Jacket TaupeReiss Pinot B Two Button Cotton Mixer Jacket Taupe
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit In Pow CheckAsos Slim Fit Suit In Pow Check
  • Reiss Malt Textured Suit Mid BrownReiss Malt Textured Suit Mid Brown
  • Burton Brown Herringbone Slim Fit SuitBurton Brown Herringbone Slim Fit Suit
3. The Smart Indigo Chambray Shirt

Oh man, I love this shirt so much.

I’ve always been a fan of chambray shirts for my casual weekend looks, but as soon as I picked up one in a formal cut from Suit Supply, it blew my mind. Due to it being stripped of any unnecessary embellishment/detailing and given a semi-spread collar, it became my secret weapon when paired with a suit.

It looks good with any tie style and can breathe new life and depth into your navy suit. Seriously, I’m not ready to let this one go.

For a more detailed look at the trend, check out Ben Jones’ article on the Gentrification of Denim.

Men's Indigo Chambray Dress Shirt Lookbook

HE BY MANGO NOVEMBER 2012RAMSEY SS12LBM 1911 SS13AllSaints AW12HE BY MANGO SEPTEMBER 2012HE BY MANGO AW12
  • He By Mango Slim-fit ShirtHe By Mango Slim-fit Shirt
  • Selected Chambray ShirtSelected Chambray Shirt
  • Asos Smart Shirt In ChambrayAsos Smart Shirt In Chambray
  • Heritage Chambray ShirtHeritage Chambray Shirt
  • Reiss Zackery Long Sleeve Denim Look Shirt BlueReiss Zackery Long Sleeve Denim Look Shirt Blue
  • French Connection Sergei ShirtFrench Connection Sergei Shirt
4. The Double-Breasted Cut

This time last year, I was inundated with questions from men asking if double-breasted was going to make a comeback for 2012. And you know what I responded with? “Seriously mate, it never went away”. Or at least in my mind it didn’t.

If you take menswear seriously – and I like to think that if you’re a FashionBeans reader then you do – a double-breasted jacket is essential when it comes to those occasions you need to communicate masculinity and power.

Do yourself a favour, and never let it go out of style again.

Men's Double-Breasted Lookbook

LBM 1911 SS13HE BY MANGO NOVEMBER 2012BARNEYS AW12BARNEYS AW12BELSTAFF PRE AW13TODD SNYDER AW12
  • Topman Navy Hopsack Double Breasted Suit JacketTopman Navy Hopsack Double Breasted Suit Jacket
  • Asos Slim Fit Double Breasted BlazerAsos Slim Fit Double Breasted Blazer
  • Universal Works Lantel Tweed Manor JacketUniversal Works Lantel Tweed Manor Jacket
  • Universal Works Grey Herringbone Manor JacketUniversal Works Grey Herringbone Manor Jacket
  • Paul Smith – Ps 1312-169 Grey JacketPaul Smith - Ps 1312-169 Grey Jacket
  • Luxury Sartorial Pure Wool Double Breasted BlazerLuxury Sartorial Pure Wool Double Breasted Blazer
  • Alexander Mcqueen Slim-fit Cotton And Wool-blend BlazerAlexander Mcqueen Slim-fit Cotton And Wool-blend Blazer
  • Uniqlo Men Trench CoatUniqlo Men Trench Coat
  • Reiss Hummingbird Double Breasted Wool Peacoat NavyReiss Hummingbird Double Breasted Wool Peacoat Navy
5. Camouflage Print & Double Monk Straps

What everyone considered to be two fleeting trends have really decided to stick around. They were both prominent in some form over the last couple of years, but 2012 was when they broke into mainstream fashion’s consciousness.

Camo print saw a resurgence because it was the perfect pattern to pair everything you already wore – the new ‘neutral’. Double monk straps because they could be worn to any occasion, be it casual or formal, and still look appropriate, stylish and classic.

With new variations, twists and takes on these modern classics already being released, 2013 looks set to become an even bigger year for them.

5a. Camouflage Print

Men's Camouflage Print Lookbook

Comodo Square AW12New Look SS13Zara Man September 2012AllSaints AW12River Island SS13New Look SS13
  • Marc By Marc Jacobs Clement Camouflage-print Cotton T-shirtMarc By Marc Jacobs Clement Camouflage-print Cotton T-shirt
  • Passarella Death Squad X Boxfresh Grey Camo Slim Corree ShirtPassarella Death Squad X Boxfresh Grey Camo Slim Corree Shirt
  • Allsaints Nelson Crew JumperAllsaints Nelson Crew Jumper
  • Carhartt Mission Long-sleeved Camo OvershirtCarhartt Mission Long-sleeved Camo Overshirt
  • 10 Deep T-shirt Printed Camo10 Deep T-shirt Printed Camo
  • Topman Camouflage Printed ShortsTopman Camouflage Printed Shorts
  • Topman Camouflage Skinny ChinosTopman Camouflage Skinny Chinos
  • Asos Camo Pocket SquareAsos Camo Pocket Square
  • Asos Desert Boots In Camo PrintAsos Desert Boots In Camo Print
5b. Double Monk Straps

Men's Double Monkstraps Lookbook

REISS SS12ZARA MAN AW12ALLSAINTS AW12street stylegeorge cortinaalessandro squarzi
  • Allsaints Conduct ShoeAllsaints Conduct Shoe
  • Grenson Ellery Brown Monk BroguesGrenson Ellery Brown Monk Brogues
  • Asos Monk Shoes With Leather SoleAsos Monk Shoes With Leather Sole
  • John Lobb William Leather Monk-strap ShoesJohn Lobb William Leather Monk-strap Shoes
  • Oliver Spencer Osa233bw Monk Black ShoesOliver Spencer Osa233bw Monk Black Shoes
  • Boss Black Carlots Monk ShoesBoss Black Carlots Monk Shoes
  • Alexander Mcqueen Monk-strap Loafers 148922Alexander Mcqueen Monk-strap Loafers 148922
  • John Lobb William Leather Monk-strap ShoesJohn Lobb William Leather Monk-strap Shoes
  • Grenson Double Monk ShoesGrenson Double Monk Shoes
Conclusion

So there you have it, a few of the key pieces from 2012 that you should definitely keep rocking throughout 2013. If you happened to miss out on a few of these items, don’t worry, look to invest in them whilst keeping a watchful eye on what’s coming up.

Maybe try a double-breasted navy blazer made from linen or whipcord? Or why not pair an indigo chambray shirt with this summer’s go-to light grey suit? It’s all about the contrast after all.

Let me know what you think in the comments section below. What were your favourite pieces of 2012? And what are you definitely bringing over?

Matt Allinson