Fashion is a fickle business. Last year it was all about ‘see now, buy now’ – the fashion show format whereby you purchase pieces as soon as they hit the runway. This season, brands and retailers realised that exercise was a) too expensive, b) a logistical nightmare and c) judging by the lacklustre sales figures, completely pointless.
In amongst fashion’s constant ebb and flow, however, you can still find some safe bets. Trends that – no matter how broad the pool of designers showing or how disparate their visions – are sure to take root to some extent sooner or later.
To save you the trouble (and the sight-damaging sartorial horrors) of searching through #mensfashiontrends on Instagram, we’ve compiled a handy edit of the need-to-knows from the latest shows. These are the trends set to take hold in SS18.
The Big Shorts
Just as stovepipe-skinny cuts have been superseded by bigger, baggier trousers, so too has there been a shift in short cuts this season. Prada might still be making the case for sausage casing fits, but the overarching trend for SS18 looks set to be styles that are smartly cut, yet roomy enough not to squash your quads.
From Dries Van Noten’s tailored schoolboy vibes to Cottweiler’s pocket-replete sporty options, designers have at last answered prayers to offer up stylish shorts that won’t crush the crown jewels. Hallelujah.
It may be that only true #menswear addicts remember Italo Zucchelli, the minimalist designer who, at the helm of Calvin Klein Collection menswear from 2004-2016, broadened the remit of the all-American brand beyond pricey pants. If that’s the case, then consider SS18 collections from several designers a convenient refresher.
Known for his uniform approach to design, Zucchelli made monochrome dressing look modern, and this season’s top-to-toe one-colour looks – from Versace’s all-blue-errthang to Officine Generale’s whiteout – owe him a hat tip.
For best results, if you’re trying this one at home, wear slightly different tones and textures to bring the look to life.
Full Belted Jackets
Sure, Star Wars is better known for its special effects than its trend-setting costumes, but so strong is the force with the franchise’s latest successes that even fashion’s feeling it.
OK, so maybe it was the wraparound styles from recent Craig Green and Yeezy collections that served as a reference point, but we’re sticking to our ray guns on this one.
The Shirt Tuck
Recent years saw guys wearing shirts and tees like dresses in homage to hip-hop’s finest. But for spring/summer 2018 it’s good riddance longline and hello to a new, more nerdy way to wear tops.
Building on the early appearances made this season, next year’s hottest styling trick is officially the shirt tuck. No doubt partly inspired by the nascent nineties dad aesthetic championed by the so-awkward-it’s-cool brigade comprising Gosha Rubchinskiy, Demna Gvasalia et al, brands including Prada, Dries Van Noten and cult Berlin label GmbH left no shirt untucked this season.
To stand even a fighting chance of making this work requires four things: a reasonably svelte midriff; a pair of generously cut trousers (preferably darted or pleated at the top); a statement belt that’s not a massive logo, an eagle or an American flag; and enough confidence to pull the whole thing off without looking like a massive pillock. Good luck
As sources of inspiration go, a pack of Crayola crayons probably doesn’t rank right up there with 19th-century workwear, WWII army gear and other timeless menswear touchpoints.
That probably explains why it works so well when designers (notably Lou Dalton, Lucas Ossendrijver at Lanvin and JW Anderson at Loewe) transplant the colours of everyone’s favourite childhood tools to striped T-shirts and accessories.
Breton stripes and geometric shapes are – and always will be – valid choices for year-round wear, but expect a primary-hued punch to reign supreme next spring/summer.
Bucket Hats & Baseball Caps
Even if you’re not currently much of a headwear man, SS18 could be the season to stick your neck out and try topping off your looks with a hat that suits you.
Like backpacks and trainers, baseball caps have been refined beyond their casual beginnings to become a stylish accessory that doesn’t look out of place with a suit or tailored separates (see Fendi, Zegna). Meanwhile, Marmite-like bucket hats continued to make their presence felt, cropping up alongside Christopher Raeburn’s super-technical wear and Lanvin’s casual tailoring.
For something a little fresher, a sun cap (in the style of Astrid Andersen) will make for the perfect neck-protecting, statement-making accessory come next summer.
The demand for athleisure might be strong, but it’ll never uproot hard-as-nails wardrobe essentials. Take denim, for example: although recently declared an endangered fabric by alarmist rag trade journalists scrabbling for a headline, the SS18 collections show little sign of this stalwart material being put out to pasture.
Mid-blue denim – that 1970s-flavoured tone – is set to be the order of the day, cropping up in the shape of a pair of ‘Dad jeans’ at Julien David, slimmer (but similarly Dad-style) jeans at Balenciaga and in roomy, summer-ready denim separates at Craig Green.
To jump on this trend early, team with pieces in white and warm neutral hues for a timelessly stylish match.
They say it takes fashion 20 years to cannibalise itself. Of course there are exceptions – like Gucci’s recent 1970s-skewed revival under Alessandro Michele, which started in 2015 – but by and large, if it’s been two decades since a trend’s first outing then it’s fair game. Which is why for spring/summer 2018 designers are plundering prints and patterns from the late 1990s and early 2000s for inspiration.
For those old enough to remember this, er, not especially fruitful period in men’s fashion, worry not. Its revival – evident in the faintly Mortal Kombat dragon print of a Lanvin jacket or the Saved By The Bell-style prints of a Balenciaga shirt – isn’t as ugly as it sounds.