Fashions fade, Yves Saint Laurent is eternally quotable. As a discerning and independently minded man, you don’t need us to tell you that true style is personal and not stitched together from a Pinterest board of this season’s collections like a sartorial Frankenstein’s monster.
But there’s still that small, magpie part of you that craves shiny newness, and the external validation of being seen to have your constantly scrolling thumb jammed on the pulse of hashtag menswear. Deep down, we all want to be liked.
With the content of catwalks and stores refreshing almost as fast as a news feed, it’s not always easy to know which trends to nod to and which ones to pretend you haven’t seen by looking down at your phone until they’ve safely passed by (hashtag awkward).
And all the time, FOMO is gnawing away at the back of your mind. Before you know it, you’re leaping on the boilersuit bandwagon with all the careful deliberation of a kamikaze lemming and getting blocked by real and fake friends alike.
Fear (Of Missing Out) not: FashionBeans is on hand to give you a helpful thumbs up and down. This is your (literally) fail-safe guide to spring/summer 2017.
Don’t Wear This: Boxy Suits
Gosha Rubchinskiy put the cat among the unstructured-blazered peacocks at this season’s Pitti Uomo by showing more shoulder pads than an NFL locker room. Under the wing of provocateur and Vetements head designer Demna Gvasalia meanwhile, Balenciaga widened the load such that the models practically had to turn sideways to fit through doors.
The eighties are calling (on a massive brick phone) and they want their power suits back.
Do Wear This: Relaxed Suits
These rigid straitjackets bring to mind Patrick Bateman returning some videotapes when what you should be doing is Netflix-and-chilling.
The genius of Giorgio Armani – the OG of oversized tailoring – was that he spliced suits with the relaxed DNA of a cardigan, and both he and Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta prove that it’s still a smart move. A (slightly) looser, more casual suit also lends itself to T-shirt and trainers in a very contemporary way.
Don’t Wear This: High-Waisted Trousers
Rising strides have been pushed – or rather, pulled – right up for SS17 by the likes of Issey Miyake and Balenciaga. As trends go, they’re not completely ridiculous, and have historical precedence, but they’re not exactly a cinch to pull off either.
There’s a very fine (waist)line between fashionable and fogey; get it wrong and the effect is less Fred Astaire, more Stannah stairlift. A tight, navel-level belt can easily gramps your style.
Do Wear This: (Slightly) Wide, Cropped Trousers
Cut yourself some not-too-slacks. Despite the industry’s best efforts over the past few seasons, baggy trousers are still considered Madness by most men, who feel more comfortable in slim or skinny cuts.
So designers have regrouped and come back with a new shape that’s unstuffy, but not sail-like, and finishes above the mankle to show off the extra breathing room (and mankle). And, crucially, you don’t need to tuck in your T-shirt.
Don’t Wear This: Head-To-Toe Pastels
Sky blue, tangerine, lemon: the SS17 palette is softer than melted gelato. Dusty pink was particularly prevalent at the men’s shows and even used for suits by Gucci and Topman Design in a way that seemed to deliberately invite inevitable – and unfavourable – Miami Vice comparisons.
But there’s no escaping the fact that in head-to-toe pastel, and outside of a Milan catwalk or the Florida Keys, you will more than likely look like a right sherbert.
Do Wear This: Pastel
This attitude might be as backward-thinking as using Miami Vice for a cultural reference, but pastels don’t exactly scream masculinity. So with ice cream colours, as with Ben & Jerry’s, try to restrict yourself to one scoop.
Instead of tailoring or preppy button-downs, toughen them up in workwear denim jackets or sporty T-shirts and hoodies, or by pairing them with some militaristic olive green or totally manly jeans (N.B. not white).
Don’t Wear This: Boilersuits & Overalls
For SS17, it’s all for one and all-in-ones for all. Boilersuits have been teetering on the brink of bona fide trend for a couple of years now, with only the most adventurous types daring to take the plunge. Manchild-sized overalls, on the other hand, have sprung up thanks to the craze for all things skateboarding and the endorsement of Chance The Rapper.
It can only be a matter of time before Vetements collaborates with OshKosh B’Gosh.
Do Wear This: Work Trousers
Or “pants”, as readers across the pond would refer to a pair of classic Dickies. You can team them with a hoodie and Vans without overdoing the overgrown skater boy vibe, roll them up to achieve that all-important slightly wide, cropped silhouette and still enjoy your ironic slacker appropriation of blue-collar uniform with greatly reduced risk of looking like a, well, dick. Speaking of which, going to the toilet will be a lot less work.
Don’t Wear This: Embellishment
Your shopping list just got a lot more maximalist thanks to Gucci and never knowingly understated Canadian brand DSquared2. Pimped-out souvenir jackets have spilt out into the rest of the wardrobe, slogans are making for some serious statement pieces, while denim is being bleached more than hair.
We’re one tattoo print away from an unironic Ed Hardy comeback – at which point, the trend-ulum will almost certainly swing back to basic.
Do Wear This: Unembellishment
Normcore: you know the score. Embellishment is just so try-hard. At the risk of coming across more like a grandad than someone wearing high-waisted trousers, you’re never going to regret investing in plain staples.
If you really want to be adorned, stick on some removable pin badges. Sometimes it almost feels like the fashion industry wants you to throw away all your clothes and buy new ones every season. Wait a second…