Menswear waits for no one. So while we might still be able to see our breath indoors, it’s time to start looking ahead to see what’s set to be big once the temperatures pick back up. From technical tailoring to trousers that won’t lower your sperm count, this is your first look at the trends we expect to hit hard for spring/summer 2016.
Menswear has always been enamoured of utility. But while that’s usually manifest in military-inspired overcoats and camo prints, designers changed tack for SS16, looking to the dawn of aviation and early 20th century safaris for inspiration. At Dunhill, it was in the scorched earth-coloured brown wide brim fedora, open-necked shirt and lightweight scarf, while Belstaff went full throttle with a desert combat collection of field jackets, tanksuits and multi-pocketed gilets inspired by the Desert Rats, the British forces based in North Africa during WWII. Tanksuits, we know, aren’t for everyone, so if you’re giving this trend a whirl steer towards its more wearable aspects: khaki field jackets, chinos and bush shirts (short sleeves and two chest pockets) will all work well for an urban expedition.
The Cuban Collar
Now that most of us have confronted our once debilitating fears of short-sleeved shirts, designers are setting us new challenges. Enter the Cuban collar shirt – the open, almost notch lapel-like collared style our grandfathers probably couldn’t get enough of in the 1950s. There was a black version embroidered with pink palm trees at Dries Van Noten, while Patrick Grant’s take at E. Tautz ran the gamut from geometric prints to plain pale indigo. Almost all were boxy in their cut, dwarfing even meatier models’ biceps. If you’re bored silly of Oxford button-downs, a Cuban collar short-sleeved shirt is the ideal piece to shake things up. But you’ll want to be sure to keep the cut fitted (unless you’re an off-duty model) and the style itself low-key, so try plain, neutral designs for starters and wear neatly tucked into a slightly looser-leg trouser for the full 1950s effect.
If 2015 was the year athleisure took hold, 2016 is the year the trend steps it up, with some of the biggest names in luxury tailoring taking a more technical approach. At Brioni, creative director Brendan Mullane topped his two-piece suits with lightweight parkas in Japanese nylon, while Rodolfo Paglialunga’s sophomore collection for Jil Sander saw the sharp tailoring and outerwear the label’s known for rendered not in cotton or linen, but parachute nylon. Sweaty? Maybe. Sleek? Undoubtedly. Elsewhere, Miuccia Prada – not usually one to chime with current trends so much as set them – gave her nod to the increasingly sporty aesthetic of our everyday wear with a zip pocketed singlet and leather shorts. Get a headstart on the trend by prioritising performance fabrics on your shopping list. Nylon, lightweight cotton and Gore-Tex are the materials designers are using to move smarter pieces into the future. And always keep the high-low contrast in mind; the advantage of athleisure is that it’s now perfectly acceptable to team a suit with sneakers or an anorak with a shirt and tie.
Shades Of Green
As ever, military influences continue to march right alongside menswear, with shades of army green (from dark olive to light khaki) spotted at Canali and Calvin Klein Collection. But this season saw the colour spectrum widen further, with hues like bottle green at Burberry and jade at Brioni proving green is far and away SS16’s key colour. Arguably the easiest trend to dip your toe into, try showing your style chops by wearing head-to-toe green once spring hits. While all-over neutrals work best with subtle differences in colour and texture, you’ll want to clearly clash shades of green to strike the right balance – look to Hermès’ dark olive lightweight bomber and jade green trousers pairing to see how it’s done.
Jackets On Jackets
We tend to spend a lot of time extolling layering’s practical benefits. And while there’s no disputing them, layering’s also worth looking at for its stylistic potential. Take, for example, Casely-Hayford’s SS16 show, which featured a featherweight navy coat layered underneath a fire engine red blouson jacket, or Ermenegildo Zegna’s offering, which included a dusty pink notched lapel blazer layered over a checked double-breasted jacket. While it might all sound messy on paper, put together it’s the ideal way to clash colours, patterns or textures. Executing this one properly is about focussing on two things: fabric weights, and complementary cuts. Firstly, to stop yourself sweltering, choose lightweight layers made from cotton, linen or nylon. Secondly, rather than awkwardly jarring your layers, try a shorter, structured layer on inside, while keeping your exterior layer relaxed in form and slightly longer in length.
Menswear’s big loosening up continues. While we’ve been seeing wider-legged trousers for a couple of years now, SS16 was the first season we saw so many make sense. From Casely-Hayford’s front pleat styles to Dolce & Gabbana’s floral takes, relaxed trousers were offered up as the perfect way to ensure your legs stay aired during summer’s heat. And aren’t we all tired of squeezing ourselves into samey slim- and skinny-fits anyway? It’s the brave man who’d attempt some of SS16’s particularly capacious cuts (see Craig Green), but roomier styles with a just-right break are a cinch to wear with everything from tees to short-sleeved shirts and blazers. Put simply, aim for a pair that sit somewhere between allowing your legs to breathe and samurai levels of billowing fabric.
So, which of these spring/summer trends are you already stoked to try out? And which shouldn’t see the light of day? Let us know below.