With all the talk of timeless wardrobe classics, it can be tempting to just sidestep trends and focus on the basics – but where’s the fun in that?
To allow you to dabble in seasonal attire without looking like a street style maverick, we spoke to the editors, designers and stylists bringing these trends to the fore to find out how to wear them without coming across try-hard.
When even Prince Harry starts wearing sportswear in public, you know athleisure has become more than just a seasonal trend. That doesn’t mean SS17 doesn’t have its own flavour, though.
“There’s a general movement towards dressing in a more relaxed, refined way,” says Millie Rich, a stylist from men’s personal styling service Thread. This season, Rich suggests investing in “simple, Scandinavian styles that have an athletic bent to them.”
When a trend has co-signs from Zayn, Bieber and Gosling, it can’t be long until it trickles down to the remaining menfolk. But dabbling with bleached hair isn’t for the faint-hearted, according to L’Oreal Professionel’s UK colour spokesperson, Jack Howard.
“It might be bang on trend, but […] it’s incredibly high maintenance, and you will need to visit the salon every five to six weeks. Most people can go platinum, except natural redheads and those with [those with] really dark hair.”
Once the preserve of paintballing away days and nineties pop bands, camouflage has made a big comeback in recent seasons. Despite now being considered almost as perennial as the white T-shirt, it’s a print that requires careful consideration.
“The trick to avoiding the Territorial Army look is to wear accents of the print instead of an all-over assault, or opt for pieces that adapt the traditional motif in some way,” says The Telegraph’s Men’s Style Editor, Stephen Doig. “That way, even if your definition of ‘going over the parapet’ is jostling through your commute, you’ll be fighting fit, style-wise.”
Clarks dominated the school shoe scene and has now come full circle by teaming up with perhaps the biggest hypebeast of them all: Drake. Of course, the aim is to wear them without looking like, well, a hypebeast.
“Think of desert boots like brogues for summer. They’re in between casual and smart,” says stylist Freddie Kemp, who has worked with the likes of Mr Porter. “Eschew trends and go for a sand coloured pair, as they’ll go with everything and suede tends to look best in light, neutral colours.”
The high street has stepped up its tailoring game lately, with brands and retailers from River Island to Boohoo Man overhauling their offerings to include more fashion-forward styles alongside classic pieces. A lower price point means more room to experiment, so make this season the one to try a contemporary update.
“A man in an impeccable but deconstructed suit somehow has a slightly artistic air about him,” says Trussardi’s creative director Gaia Trussardi. “The key is to ensure it’s flattering rather than [just] loose fitting,” adds stylist and editor Tom Stubbs, who has dressed everyone from Luke Evans to Eddie Redmayne.
As for footwear? “Drop the brogue and go for a sleek, simple white sneaker,” says Stubbs.
Speaking of simple, white sneakers, they’re the style that menswear can’t get enough of. But keeping your kicks crisp white can be a challenge – not just because of dirt, but also because of the sun.
“Keep them out of direct sunlight to avoid them turning yellow and [the leather] cracking,” says ethical fashion expert Zoe Robinson from The Good Wardrobe. “The quickest way to give trainers a boost is to wash the laces – just pop them in a washing net with the rest of your whites.”
Although you’ll never go wrong with classic Wayfarer or Clubmaster sunglasses – isn’t it time we mixed things up a bit? As Dane Butler, founder of British eyewear brand Finlay & Co, points out, different sunglasses work with different looks.
“We’re noticing a real trend […] for building up a wardrobe of sunglasses, as opposed to [owning] one that you rely on every day. Go for a tortoiseshell acetate or reflective lens this season to tick the on-trend box without too much fuss.”
Hat’s All Folks
Step aside beanie, this season it’s all about the return of the cap. Having enjoyed a slow re-entry into men’s style (albeit one set back slightly by political statements) the baseball style is fully back in fashion for SS17.
While Hunger magazine’s online editor, Elliot Watson, is fond of wearing political slogans, he suggests updating the sportswear staple with premium fabrics. “Baseball caps in wool and cashmere feel luxurious and elegant.”
This season, to avoid overheating, look for versions in breathable materials that take pride of place in your warm-weather wardrobe, such as jersey, cotton, nylon, and linen blends.
In The Pink
Since its stint as Pantone’s Colour of the Year in 2016, pink has been bubbling under the surface as a street style trend – and SS17 is when it’s set to go mainstream.
“While it will never replace black or blue in the pantheon of ‘safe’ shades for men, living in the realm of orange, yellow and green, millennial pink […] is a keeper,” says The Guardian’s men’s style editor, Priya Elan. The shade he refers to is a more washed out version of bubblegum pink that pairs perfectly with neutral tones such as black, white and grey.
Jumpers for summer may sound like an oxymoron, but thin knits layer excellently and will work throughout the season. Thanks to both runway and street style trends, for SS17 it’s all about trading in cosy cashmere for something with more vitality.
“Statement sleeves and interesting necklines [have come back] into play,” says ASOS menswear editor Matt Glazebrook. “It’s time to overcome the impracticalities and get peacocking. Go for a neutral colour that features embroidery or patterns for a wearable take on the trend.”
It isn’t just jazzy jumpers that are adding some pizzazz to the knitwear department this season. As the grunge trend continues to gain pace, Cobain-style drapey hems and longer, knuckle-skimming sleeves are set to become go-tos.
“The shape of sweaters is looser, slouchier and grungier than ever this season,” says Giles Farnham, head of the River Island Style Studio. “For 2017, we’re seeing a lot of guys wearing grungier pieces in a gentler colour palette of California surf hues like mint and powder blue. But for something less ‘summer’ and more ‘street’, try it in washed out black shades instead.”
Loud & Proud Skate T-Shirt
Skatewear has hit the mainstream this season, in no small part thanks to the labels that demand huge queues and extortionate resale prices.
“While the admiration for the scene may have started thanks to the bigger brands, [there are] a number of small, independent brands,” says style writer Jake Woolf. “The more advanced (and less likely to be copied) move is to pick up tees from younger, less established brands. Layer under a suit or pair with some wide-leg jeans for instant credibility.”
Breton stripes are hailed every summer as a ‘must-have’, and this season is no exception. Nonetheless, the aim for SS17 is to wear the Marine accent differently, according to The Guardian’s Priya Elan.
“My favourite recent usage was on the red carpet under Egyptian blue suits, as worn by Mr Robot’s Rami Malek and Daniel Radcliffe, adding balance to a potentially overpowering look.” Just use it in place of a collared shirt for an effortlessly cool smart-casual outfit.
It wouldn’t be an SS17 trend list without referencing the nineties. This season we’re ditching Fresh Prince LA vibes and going for something sleeker.
“The trick is to keep looks clean,” says Style.com’s menswear editor, Rob Nowill. “Leave dodgy denim and questionable all-over prints. Instead, channel that era’s minimalist brands (think Calvin Klein and Jil Sander). Simple tailoring and sweatshirts in boxier cuts, nylon bags, and heavy-soled shoes are all worth reviving.”
Go big or go home, they say. And that’s exactly the case with just about everything this season. Shoulders, bags, shoes, jeans – they’re all going big for SS17. Just make sure it looks like it was done on purpose rather than you’re wearing hand-me-downs.
“The clothes to be seen in this season have taken an artistic turn with oversized fits and longline cuts,” says Selfridges.com’s editor-in-chief, Nicola Copping. “Pick something with texture to look both sartorial and curatorial – that way [you] can make an artistic statement simply by pulling on a sweater.”
Harry Styles is back, and so are patterned shirts – coincidence? Regardless of the 1D’ers devotion to botanical prints worn under a suit, there’s more than one way to rock this look.
“Patterned shirts are definitely something you should be wearing this season, but […] you can spin this in a variety of ways,” says menswear writer and editor Max Berlinger. “A little individuality won’t just be appreciated; it’s what’s going to set you apart from every other guy out there. Remember, style is personal, so you can take anything and make it right for you.”
While there are plenty of up-to-the-minute trends to jump on in the denim world, there will always be a place for high-quality, raw selvedge jeans.
“They may be more expensive […], but in the long run they’re more durable and will keep their shape and colour better,” says stylist Mark Anthony Bradley, who has built up a celebrity clientele that includes Daniel Craig and John Legend. “Just top them with a white T-shirt for an easy-to-wear summer outfit that’ll look good whatever the weather.”
Minimal white sneakers are a no-brainer summer shoe, but to avoid getting stuck in an (albeit handsome) style rut, look to some of 2017s other big trainer trends to build a solid rotation.
“You want kicks that are lightweight and durable, that’ll pair with socks or without, with shorts or with jeans and luckily, a lot of brands have come to this realisation,” says Jake Woolf.
“If you’re trading in your all-white shoe, this season look for something that’s not just classic, but that incorporates all the latest technologies. Lightweight, breathable uppers [are important] – make sure your sneakers can deal with warmer temperatures without stinking out your shoe cupboard.”
Wide-leg trousers have been on the periphery of fashion for the past few seasons and look great on models (yeah, models). For a more wearable take on looser fits, hit the middle ground between skinny and billowy.
“Opt for a straight yet slightly wider cut in a neutral shade of cream or beige this summer for a great sunny day look that doesn’t involve getting your legs out,” says Topman creative director Gordon Richardson. “They might sound boring, but they’ll work with pretty much anything you throw at them. For a retro-inspired look, go for a raglan sleeve T-shirt and high-tops.”
Prince’s style influence lives on after his passing, with purple becoming one of this season’s go-to shades.
“Fortune favours the bold so don’t be scared of colour,” says Rami Malek and Donald Glover’s go-to stylist, Ilaria Urbinati. “Purple can be a flattering shade and works with denim, black and grey. Just make sure you wear it with dark neutrals to keep it in check.”
Nautical T-shirts may be a staple, but for a fresh take on stripes this summer, go for something that’s more barcode than Breton.
“Stripes have always been a menswear staple, and their popularity stems from their versatility,” says Marks & Spencer head of menswear design James Doidge. “This season, go for a deckchair stripe in an interesting colour as a refreshing alternative.”
Like the rest of menswear, most checks have gone grunge this season. Most, but not all. The Italian-favoured windowpane pattern has made a comeback and can be put to work as a full two-piece, complementing suit separates, or on trousers worn with more casual pieces.
“It’s got slender, intersecting lines and a minimal colour scheme that manages to be both sleek and sartorial at the same time,” says style writer Liza Corsillo. “Even though it is a check to wear on tailoring, it won’t make you feel like a pipe-smoking huntsman.”
Yuppy Brown Suits
After years of taking a backseat to navy and grey in the tailoring department, designers have breathed new life into brown, and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the likes of Ryan Gosling and Tom Hiddleston.
“Brown suits are a cool alternative to the standard colours and one that works excellently for summer,” says Style.com’s Rob Nowill. “Providing you pick the right shade, it’ll make your eyes stand out as well as flatter your skin tone. Just go for a neat fit, or you may end up looking like an extra from Anchorman.”
Menswear is getting zesty for SS17. Along with green taking up the mantle as the colour of the year, designers have been tapping up the brightest colour on the block. “There was no doubt that yellow was going to be a big trend this season,” says London-based stylist Karen Mason. “It’s an underrated colour for men, but it’s great for warmer seasons and can be really flattering.”
Pick a shade based on your skin tone and then ease in with accessories such as a notebook or bag before committing to going head-to-to bold.