Overused menswear saying #248: “Fashions fade, style is eternal”. While Yves Saint Laurent had a point (no well-edited wardrobe is complete without the classics), there’s nothing wrong with snapping up a few hot pieces that mark you out as a man with his finger on the pulse.
Fortunately, AW17 is not short of them, and some may even have the legs to go the distance for seasons to come (all the more reason to invest). To illustrate, with the help of some of the industry’s most qualified men, here are eight style moves to convince you that ‘trend’ isn’t such a dirty word after all.
For most guys, the autumn/winter months are prime time for retreating into a world of dark neutral tones. And we get it; who wants to wrestle with making a bright yellow jumper work as well as the central heating controls?
But doing so doesn’t have to mean turning the saturation of your wardrobe up to max. Instead, try darker shades of typically summer tones, like moss green. It still counts as a colour, but is not offensively bright and is oh so easy to wear.
How To Wear
“I think men underestimate how well darker greens work in an outfit,” says stylist Nas Abraham, who has worked with the likes of Mr Porter, Hugo Boss and Barbour. “It breaks up dreary black, navy and grey and adds a touch of daringness.”
While olive is common for streetwear (think bombers, cargo trousers and military shirts) moss green has a smarter appeal, especially when paired with black. “Choose this hue for merino sweaters, tailoring or outerwear and pair with your usual dark staples,” adds Abraham.
If looking good is all about how you feel, then it makes sense that this is the season when designers get in touch with their feelings. (Disclaimer: we’re talking about materials, you can put away the tissues.)
Alongside eternally appealing shearling and the party season staple of velvet, tactile winter fabrics such as herringbone and (more surprisingly) corduroy are here to make AW17 feel just as good to touch as it does to look at.
How To Wear
“With this trend, it’s a case of in for a penny in for a pound,” says male model Richard Biedul. “A corduroy suit [looks best with] a fuller silhouette and a slight rise on the trouser (and a healthy two inch turn up).
“If that sounds too Starsky and Hutch for you, try working one or two textured items into your outfit and go for a subtle colour palette such as navy or green.”
The last time winter whites were a ‘thing’, East 17 messed everything up, and few have dared to tread the same sartorial path since. Designers this season, however, have forgotten this epic fail and are ready to give the palest shades another try.
Think cream, off-white, stone and, erm, white (obviously), and you’re on the right track. Sure, this may not be a trend to try while tucking into a plate of bolognese, but if menswear’s most stylish can overlook dubious practicality, then so can we.
How To Wear
Mastering winter whites is as much to do with texture as colour according to Alex Field, head of menswear design at Reiss. “In summer you want light, sharp and crisp optic whites, but winter whites should be made from warm and soft-handle fabrics.
“Think cashmere crew and roll necks, soft moleskin or corduroy trousers and brushed or boiled overcoats. Winter whites will ideally give freshness and add life to otherwise dark outfits.”
Good news for anyone who can remember the 1990s from the first time around: the best bits from the decade are well and truly back. The bad news? Those decades are now considered ‘nostalgia’ territory – a brutal reality check for anyone born around that time.
Proof that some trends can last for more than one season; frosted tips and bootcut jeans have been left in the past (phew), while the laid-back sportswear movement that has been bubbling under the surface has been dragged fully into 2017. Which means you can look good, feel comfortable and break into a sprint at a moment’s notice. This is menswear that multitasks.
How To Wear
“We’ve seen an ever-increasing revival in nineties festival and streetwear in recent seasons,” says Topman creative director Gordon Richardson. “Guys aren’t afraid to wear matching co-ord tracksuits in bright prints or cross-body bumbags, and reproduction retro sneakers have become a wardrobe staple.”
Whether you go head-to-toe tracksuit or simply nod to nostalgia with some gum-sole kicks, always look to balance more casual pieces out with smarter items like an overcoat or roll neck.
The unwritten rule of fashion has it that every trend will eventually be followed by its opposite. As such, after years of men relying on the stripped-back Scandi look to guide their wardrobe, things are finally getting a bit chaotic again.
To join the early-adopters of menswear’s new-found confidence, make a statement with your top half (trust us, it’s way less risky than patterned trousers). Leading the way this season is knitwear with ironically unsubtle logos and patterns more experimental than your average science lab.
How To Wear
“The key with statement anything is making sure that the statement gets heard,” says Tom Banham from men’s personal shopping service Thread. “If you anchor a loud piece with quiet, neutral staples then you can turn down its volume and still make an impression.”
Before you go all gung-ho with your statement-making, be sure to consider fabric as well as print. “Choose prints or graphics in a texture that mutes them a little. In cold weather especially, a pattern on wool or knitted cotton feels less in-your-face than the same thing on satin. There’s a fine line between making yourself heard and being obnoxious.”
In keeping with AW17’s tendency to swerve anything remotely boring, colour is cropping up in the very last place you’d expect: on tailoring. Of course, we’re not suggesting you dress like a walking post box for your next job interview (leave that to Jared Leto). Instead, simply open your eyes to the world of tailoring beyond grey, navy and black.
Consider taupe, powder blue, teal and camel. It’s the easiest way to stand out in a sea of samey suits and can make transitioning to the after-hours markedly easier.
How To Wear
“The reason colour in tailoring has become so popular is all part of a wider rebellion against ‘dressing norms’ for men,” explains Giles Farnham, head of the River Island Style Studio, who adds that mastering this colourful rebellion is simply a matter of picking the right shades for your complexion.
“Rich, autumnal hues work well for any skin tone; try teaming a deep emerald green or burgundy suit with a slim fitting roll neck or crew neck T-shirt. Colour works well with texture, too. This season’s corduroy looks great in rust or blue or, for a more formal look, try a knitted tie matched to the colour of your suit with a crisp white shirt.”
After years of second-skin menswear, every expert worth his salt was banging on about the rise of oversized fits and yet it never quite seemed to catch on. Until now. This summer, Love Island and its male contestants’ love of alarmingly tight denim finally killed off any morsel of credibility the super-skinny look had left.
Waiting in the wings is a cooler cast of oversized menswear pieces, which are way more forgiving on those who are closer to dad bod than Greek god. Relaxed-leg trousers, knitwear with inflated proportions, cocoon-like coats; when it comes to shape and volume this season, more is most definitely more.
How To Wear
“If you want to buy into bigger proportions but are unsure if you suit the look, opt for sober colours and wear on a day your confidence is riding high,” suggests celebrity stylist Phill Tarling, who has dressed the likes of Tom Hardy.
As for what oversized gear should be on your shopping list, Tarling advises starting with outerwear. “You can waterproof your autumn/winter wardrobe by investing in a longer rain mac. You may look like a Scandinavian fisherman on the morning commute, but you’ll be on-trend and keep dry even on extremely drizzly days.”
Printed Silk Shirts
Three words no stylish man in his right mind should ever utter: ‘going out shirt’. Thankfully, this season’s designers have made tasteful work out of one of menswear’s most divisive items. The more shocking fact is that the best examples are printed and made from silk.
On paper, it all sounds a bit Hugh Hefner in his PJs, but with the right styling tricks the printed silk shirt will become your best friend once party season hits.
How To Wear
“If wearing a printed silk shirt is a little out of your comfort zone, make sure everything else that you wear is neutral so it can be the standout piece,” advises Sarah Gilfillan, founder of men’s styling consultancy Sartoria Lab.
However, the more seasoned print enthusiast shouldn’t be afraid to go maximalist. “If you’re more of an eclectic dresser, mix a patterned silk shirt with other patterns – tie the look together with similar base colours and vary the print size of each piece.”