When it comes to menswear trends, there are ‘swerves’: deviations from the norm that mark you out as a man capable of overtaking in the fashion fast lane. Then there are those that you should swerve altogether if you don’t want to resemble a car crash.
That’s not to say you can’t put pedal to the metal on the latest must-have pieces, especially if you want to avoid being accused of getting stuck in first gear. But some looks are so out there they require insurance.
Besides, it’s always preferable to skip as in ‘avoid’ rather than ‘regretfully bin’. So with the above caveat, FashionBeans is here to indicate which of the current spring/summer trends you can safely pull off, and which the fashion police will likely pull you over for.
It’s hard to believe we even have to write that berets are a trend, much less that you should skip them, but c’est la mode. If you’re Skepta or Che Guevara then perhaps you can pull off the activist-chic headgear without inadvertently channelling Frank Spencer or inviting the inevitable onion-selling, baguette-toting jibes. Otherwise? We’re sceptical.
What To Wear Instead: Bucket Hats
With the nineties resurgence in full swing, consider adding yet another re-entry to your trend bucket list. “With many and varied endorsements ranging from Louis Vuitton to Justin Beiber, bucket hats have been promoted from Britpop throwback to high-fashion accessory,” says stylist Giles Farnham from the River Island Style Studio.
Bucket hats are also practical, particularly during festival season, shielding the back of your neck as well as your face from the sun – or more likely rain while you watch the back-together bands.
Block Primary Colours
A chromatically impactful look is one of those that works much better on the catwalk or Instagram than it does IRL. (Which feels like most trends nowadays, but maybe that’s just us.) Your primary directive in the case of combining block colours in a Lego palette is: avoid, unless you’re presenting an early morning children’s TV show, that is.
What To Wear Instead: Washed-out Colours
“This is one of my favourite trends this season,” says Mr Porter style director Olie Arnold, who advocates it for dressed-down summery looks. “But it’s not the easiest to wear as it’s very dependent on your skin tone. If you have a darker complexion, then it’ll most likely complement your colouring perfectly. If not, then it may wash you out.”
If on the paler side, do yourself a solid by counterbalancing a laundered piece with a contrasting shade from the same colour family: “For example, a washed-out grey summer blazer will work wonderfully with a navy T-shirt,” adds Arnold.
Along with ugly trainers and stonewashed jeans, normcore/dadcore has resurrected tailoring that’s oversized and boxier than a regular human trying on Anthony Joshua’s suit jacket. In reality, you’ll be laughed at even if you’re not the titular star of Seinfeld, which we strongly suspect constituted the vast majority of Balenciaga’s mood board this spring/summer.
What To Wear Instead: Fifties Shirts
Camp collar, Cuban collar, floral, full-on Hawaiian: whatever you call them, they’re everywhere. “Fifties shirts have become ubiquitous thanks to luxury heavyweights championing the trend, plus the high street offering an infinite variety,” says Farnham. “That and they’re just so damn wearable.”
The breezy fabric, prints and neckline make them a bridge between smart and casual. “Dressing up? Tuck one into chinos with an unstructured blazer and suede penny loafers. Dressing down? Wear it over a white T-shirt with denim shorts and high-tops.” Happy days.
When it comes to eyewear for the warmer months, designers appear to have caught the turn-of-the-millennium bug, with smaller frames and squarer lenses, and references ranging from Britpop to The Matrix. Even Kanye himself has decreed, via an e-mail to Kim with “millions” of reference images, that tiny sunglasses will be huge. But don’t get blinded by the hype.
What To Wear Instead: Seventies Sunglasses
Look further back, and not in anger. “The era of statement sunglasses is having a revival – again,” says Arnold. “While normally there are clear rules around what frames you should wear based on your face shape, the oversized aesthetic suits most people.”
Except for shrinking violets, that is. “You need barrel loads of confidence to rock a set,” adds Arnold. “And as with all looks that reference a bygone period, make sure you don’t look like you’re in fancy dress by keeping some of your outfit contemporary.”
Remember that whole thing about trends working better on the catwalk and Instagram than in real life? If you’re not standing on a beach, arms outstretched, in a music video, then all-white-errthang is beyond the pale, not to mention impractical. You’re just asking for grass stains, or worse.
What To Wear Instead: Tonal Colours
But not white, obviously. “The first rule of tonal is to stick to colours you know,” says Farnham. And that’s not what you can recite from the far corners of a paint chart. “If you only ever wear navy, grey and black, striding into the office in head-to-toe magenta will feel a little unnatural, and it will come across that way too.”
The second rule for a top-notch tonal look is to vary your textures. “Mix up a monochromatic ensemble with different fabrics to draw the eye,” adds Farnham. “For example, a clean, minimal navy sweatshirt teamed with navy trousers in a corduroy or flocked fabric.”