When it comes to fashion, the future will be arriving very shortly. Men’s style is undergoing huge changes right now, from wearable technology and next-gen fabrics to bold new directions on the runways and an overdue attempt to make fashion sustainable.
Against all that, what will you be wearing this year? Below, we’ve made our call on the trends, movements, designers and colours that will influence the way you, us and all men will dress.
Fashion Will Get The Millennium Bug
There’s an unofficial fashion rule which dictates when trends are allowed to make a comeback: the 20-year rule. If correct, we’ll all be dressing like it’s 1999 this year.
Right on schedule, Levi’s has reintroduced one of its classic lines: twisted denim. The brand’s Engineered Jeans first appeared in 1999, their twisted side seams wrapping around your legs and boggling the eyes of passersby. The new special edition includes a four-way stretch construction and 3D knitting technology for maximum comfort. Whether it’s nostalgia or something else, we’re getting them.
Elsewhere, there are unexpected signs of an emo reawakening. We’ve spotted big studded belts slipped quietly into SS19 collections, all-black techwear and make-up ranges for men. What else? Big, baggy cargo trousers are everywhere and leather blazers are staging a fight-back exactly 20 years after Brad Pitt wore the hell out of one in Fight Club. Can’t be a coincidence.
In Tailoring, Anything Goes
In recent years, people have been hasty in declaring the death of the suit; now, 2019 is here to prove the naysayers wrong. It’s true, of course, that very few of us need to suit up for work any more, but almost 100 years after the roaring twenties, designers still believe in tailoring’s unmatched ability to raise a man’s style game. We do too.
This year, labels are not just bringing back classic tailoring, they’re also respinning it, creating new silhouettes, interesting layering options and statement suits that shout louder than ever before. On the runways, we’ve seen designer holsters over dress shirts, baggy double-breasted styles, suits in corduroy, leathers and metal shades, plus every colour you can think of.
Perhaps the most intriguing of all though is Balenciaga. The mischievous luxury brand is again doing what nobody expected: going elegant with old-school pinstripes and well-fitting, neutral-coloured suits that any man would look good in.
Whites And Creams Will Brighten Up Your Summer
The runway offering at Virgil Abloh’s first show for Louis Vuitton at the SS19 Paris fashion week was like our post-modern abstract idea of what heaven might look like – aka, a lot of floaty tailoring in palatial cream and white.
Fellow high fashion purveyors Dior and Cerrutti followed suit, for what’s building up to be a big summer for the tonal shades. Fresh and eye-catching, the white dazzles under the light while the cream softens the look up making it look less harsh. It’s a delicate and elevating colour combo that will have you looking like royalty in the summer sun.
Louis Vuitton SS19
Graphic Prints Will Overtake Big Logos
What’s going to pop on Instagram is a big driving force in contemporary fashion. It was one of the main reasons we saw a return of the logomania that swept through the nineties. Nothing screams “Look at me, I can afford Gucci” than a tee that says exactly that.
Inevitably, the market has now become oversaturated and instead arty graphics have come into shake up those now less-than-fire ‘gram pics. Raf Simons took the lead, splashing beautiful and referential New Order covers over black tees as the individualistic graphic sets itself up to take over from the uniform logo. Elsewhere, we saw wild floral prints and Wizard of Oz motifs from Virgil Abloh. Just picture them all with a Clarendon filter. Fire mate, fire.
Extra Pockets, Holsters And Chest Packs Will Be Unavoidable
Do you ever do that thing where you’re hunting for your keys or cards and they’re always in the last pocket you check? If so, 2019 is going to be a nightmare. There’s more storage in this year’s garms than an entire Ikea warehouse. We’re talking pockets galore on combat trousers, military-style vests and outerwear. And on top of that, there’s even more in the shape of “wearable luggage” styles like holsters and chest packs.
Blame warcore-friendly brands like Alyx or Heron Preston and luxury houses like Louis Vuitton (again), which have all fallen hard for technical garments. Expect to do the same.
Sustainability Could Be A #MeToo Moment For Fashion
At the time of writing, the UK government’s Environmental Audit Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry. One of the main topics raised is whether brands should be made to offer further transparency in their manufacturing (and destroying).
The rising consumer interest on the subject has seemed to be forcing the hands of brands on this topic already though. Sportswear giants Adidas and Nike both have well-publicised initiatives to cut down their environmental impact and wastage. Far from a marketing gimmick, these promises are slowly becoming the expected norm in an industry facing up to its impact on the planet.
Anyone found lagging better catch up quick or feel the public outcry – remember the Burberry backlash last year, when the British heritage brand was found to have burnt £90 million worth of stock in the last five years? Tut tut.
Sci-Fi Fashion Will Take Your Style To The Future
This year’s surprise style icons? Han Solo, Flash Gordon and the replicants of Blade Runner. Fashion is getting futuristic enough with next-generation fabrics and wearable technology but this year, labels are also borrowing from the aesthetic of classic sci-fi.
Utility belts and transparent macs are popping up from designers across the board. But it’s Dior Men’s pre-fall 2019 collection that really shoots for the stars. Metallic pieces, iridescent suits and techno fabrics were key in a line inspired by Japanese hypermodernism.
You’ll Wear A V-Neck Jumper
The First Man press tour at the tail end of last year brought with it the long-awaited return of one of our greatest current style icons – Mr. Ryan Gosling. And the Hollywood A-lister brought along a splendid roll-call of slightly-kitsch, seventies-styled chunky V-neck sweaters with him.
They were in the same school as the snazzy numbers Donald Glover and resident man-about-London-town Richard Biedul had worn earlier in the year. Tucked under a suit it has a casual, almost debonair feel, making a tailoring miscreant out of the wearer – a new way to level up your suit game in 2019 without having to count the pennies waiting on a brand new one.
People Will Question Whether Their £800 Hoodie Is Worth The Money
In the good old days, you knew where you stood with high-priced clobber. It was eye-wateringly expensive, but it came with the promise of being artisanally crafted using the rarest materials known to man. Now we’re firmly in the age of hype luxe: which means you’re getting bog-standard clothes with no discernible merits to justify their laughable expense except a logo or two. Ironically enough, a lot of hype is just that: hype.
What goes up must come down though and 2019 could (and must) be the year that consumers cotton on to fashion’s great rip-off. We’re not the first to predict a backlash against this ‘premium mediocre’ trading – the idea of slapping your luxury logo on a mass-produced and relatively affordable item, then marking it up comically high.
A poly-blend hoodie from the latest ‘it’ brand has no business asking for a month’s rent up front, period.
Quentin Tarantino Will Make You Want To Dress Like It’s 1969
Menswear is used to pilfering from the past by decade, but rarely do things get so specific as they’re set to in 2019. Quentin Tarantino is dragging menswear right back to the summer of ‘69 with his latest movie, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
If the measly drip-fed images of frontmen Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio are anything to go by you’ll be reaching for the double denim, wearing your trousers wide-legged, heck, you might even find yourself attempting an orange leather blazer too.
Robots And AR Tech Will Be Your New Stylists
Cries of ‘the robots are coming for our jobs’ will grow louder in 2019, as stylists find themselves the latest casualty of artificial intelligence’s ongoing march. Forget smartphones and smart homes, you’re about to get well acquainted smart style.
Take the Regent Street Tommy Hilfiger store for example: its changing rooms have RFID (radio-frequency identification) which recognises which clothes you’ve picked up and makes styling suggestions via a smart mirror. We’ve seen the future and it’s ridiculously stylish.
Heritage Menswear Will Be Back
At some point roughly five years ago, the heritage trend became outright mania and quilted coats probably outnumbered humans. Retreat followed with shame bestowed upon anyone who backed this painfully overdone pastiche.
After being shunned for so long, 2019 feels ripe for a return. The menswear gods clearly think so too: Kent and Curwen’s AW19 showing referenced Peaky Blinders quite literally while Oliver Spencer’s AW19 delved into the British classics archive for inspiration. On top of that Barbour is celebrating its 125th birthday. Forget millennial-skewed sportswear, 2019’s all about rose-tinted specs.
Oliver Spencer AW19
You’ll Have To Dodge Some Dodgy Trends
Alongside pulse-quickening trends that we’re eager to get our grubby mitts on, there are plenty of booby traps to be swerved along the way. Anything that feels like it wouldn’t get its foot over the threshold of the pub (let alone pass the pub test) is strictly off limits.
A few of 2019’s lowpoints include: neon (unless you’re cycling), short shorts (we don’t care how hard you smashed leg day), top-to-toe leather (in fact, any lower-half leather) and all variations on the luxury mouth mask (it’s creepy, always, please stop).