Blagging tickets for a show’s front row is no mean feat. Aping the looks of the guys who attend them, however, is much more manageable. Which is why we’re looking to menswear’s street style savants for inspiration on how to wear seven of AW16’s biggest trends. iPhone and Starbucks optional.
Longline is like the Brexit of menswear. Polarising, much-debated and not going away anytime soon. Which is – in this case at least – fortunate, as it’s a trend that offers a rare opportunity to rejig your silhouette without rocking the boat too much (you know, with a pair of Japanese hakama trousers or Balenciaga’s Lurch-esque menswear). It isn’t as hard as you might think, either. The trick is in blending longline garments with more classic pieces – whether that’s a flash of a patterned longline tee underneath a sweatshirt, or an otherwise simple outfit topped off with a jacket whose hems extend to your knees. It’s better to avoid thin, drapey fabrics here (regardless of your physique), unless you want to look like a cheap imitation of a Yeezy show.
Statement coats may seem the sole preserve of Pitti peacocks but, thanks to an increased offering – especially from heavyweights like Louis Vuitton and Dries Van Noten – they’re becoming a much more common sight with every passing season. Before you tap this trend, you need to decide on the degree of statement that suits you. Justin O’Shea [below, top right] might be comfortable with a part-snakeskin, part-psychedelic print, others less so. Which is why it might be worth considering wide-panelled checks, neutral patchworks and block primary colours that provide impact, but still chime with most wardrobe staples.
Denim Jacket Layering
Oxford shirts and knits might usually take centre stage when it comes to the great art of layering, but these days opting for a more Texan slant works too. The denim jacket, originally the uniform of American blue collar workers, has become a key layering piece for AW16. But instead of the Brokeback Mountain vibe we’ve grown accustomed to, we’re seeing a slightly more nuanced, tailored approach this season. Overcoats and denim jackets might seem at odds on paper, but a monochrome palette ties both pieces together. The look is also the perfect balance of smart and casual: the overcoat offering a structured, traditional silhouette while the denim jacket acts as a casual (but no less classic) anchor, allowing you to easily mix in pieces from both ends of the spectrum – shirts and ties or tees and leathers.
It was only a matter of time until the flamingo legs snapped. It’s official: super-skinny jeans are no longer essential. While straight and slim cuts will always be flattering, AW16 has seen men eschew spray-ons for a roomier alternative: the wide-leg trouser. Much like statement coats, the width depends on your own tastes – chimney stack trousers are undoubtedly on-trend, but are just as difficult to wear. If you’re starting out, opt for a slightly narrower choice and gradually get wider as your confidence builds. Due to the wider leg being your statement, there’s little need for vibrancy, print or volume elsewhere, so keep your surrounding pieces muted and your colour scheme balanced throughout.
An all-black look is more often than not on point, but there are other choices for head-to-toe tonal dressing. Neutrals, once best-known as the colours on the backs of soldiers on the battleground, are now championed across the board from Ralph Lauren to Astrid Andersen. And they’re just as easy to wear. First, decide on your core palette, then pick several shades that fit. Different tones add depth, but they must work in tandem – too different and you’ll risk awkward clashing, too similar and you’re more Lawrence of Arabia than Lanvin. Texture is an important consideration too. Flecked wools, marled yarns and materials like suede and leather increase the depth of your look, but also make it memorable (and let you easily dodge claims your outfit is dull).
Most men only carry their phone and wallet. But that didn’t stop a proliferation of pockets on every street corner this season. Like so many others, this surprisingly practical trend has its roots in the military. And although the average man has probably got little use for seven pockets on his jacket (unless he’s planning on peddling something he shouldn’t), menswear’s love affair with functionality is still going strong. Most pieces here are restricted to an earth tone palette, which is actually a bonus: muted shades are much easier to wear. The best outfit examples carry the military vibe throughout, with either cargo trousers or hardwearing denim below mixed with a field jacket or rugged overshirt above.
One of AW16’s most versatile trends, stripes can be paired with most wardrobe staples and there are styles to suit every body type. Perfect for slim guys, wide horizontal block stripes should sit on your upper body, with muted staples to accompany. Not only will it create the illusion of bulk up top, but it’s an easy way to punch-up your look with a statement if you’re not feeling left-field prints and/or bright colours. Stockier of build? Try pinstripes. A vertical pinstripe suits draw the eye up and down rather than side to side, which means you’ll appear longer and slimmer. Finish with the usual suspects: a crisp white shirt, brogues and a knitted tie for texture.