The Trends Every Man Should Know For Spring 2019
Be ahead of the curve with the nine style rules to live by this season
Fashion comes and goes, but style is for ever. That’s what they say, anyway. Ms Coco Chanel and Mr Yves Saint Laurent are among the influential designers to have been associated with this old aphorism, which contrasts the fleeting nature of fashion with its more constant companion, style. It’s got a nice ring to it, sure. But does it hold true?
In the eight years that have passed since MR PORTER sold its first ties, socks and button-down shirts, we’ve witnessed a small revolution in the way men dress, the way they shop and the way they treat themselves. Boundaries that were once sharply defined have blurred or vanished altogether. Sartorial rules that were once treated as gospel now seem quaint or downright wrong-headed. And, as more men have begun to take an interest in their appearance, the language we use to talk about style has in turn become broader and more inclusive.
If we’ve learned anything in this time, it’s that style, though timeless in some ways, is not set in stone. It is not some immutable concept defined by a single set of rules or a solitary perspective. It is far more fluid and open to interpretation than we previously thought. It doesn’t stand still like some ancient obelisk in the desert. It shifts with time like a sand dune in the wind. Style, in short, is not one-size-fits-all. And, as the fashion industry comes to terms with the fact that it must respond to the desires of an increasingly diverse market, the way we think about and consume trends is also changing.
Are there fewer dominant narratives in the current crop of seasonal collections, or just more ideas? Previous seasons have been defined by a single story: the rise of sportswear; the “ugly” sneaker; the introduction of technical hiking gear into the wardrobes of city-dwelling men. Yes, it’s true that season-defining trends such as these only tend to become apparent in hindsight, and we may yet see 2019’s “big thing” emerge to take centre stage. As we stand here on the cusp of a new season, though, it’s harder than ever to see how any one trend will go on to dominate in the coming months.
What we have instead is a sort of come-as-you-are, open-door policy on style: a party to which everyone’s invited. Do you love Nike, Balenciaga, Off-White and Fendi? Then this is for you. Perhaps you prefer Tom Ford, Prada, Berluti and Brunello Cucinelli? You’re welcome, too. Are you a trend chaser, a lover of luxe, a cosmopolitan man of the world? Or, are you not so easily pigeonholed? Whatever the case, step right this way. The message coming from the world of menswear right now is: whoever you are, please, get involved.
None of this constitutes style advice in any way, of course, and perhaps that’s the point. But if you are interested in a readers’ digest of the coming season’s trends, we’ve collected a few of the most compelling – as far as we’re concerned, anyway – and offered some guidance on how to work them into your wardrobe.
This season’s designer collections are full of soft, powdery pastel shades that are perfect for a sun-drenched summer. Coming off the back of a season that embraced colour in a big way, this trend could be interpreted as a step towards a greater level of accessibility. Pastels are a great way of injecting colour into your look in a way that doesn’t scream “look at me”, and as such they provide more restrained dressers with a chance to expand their own sartorial horizons.
THE TRENCH COAT
Trench coats are rarely out of our wardrobes for long, and this season sees them make a triumphant return. Always smart and practical, this iconic piece of menswear has been elevated to high luxury in the hands of designers such as Ermenegildo Zegna and Tom Ford. Elsewhere, fashion-forward designers such as Dries Van Noten have updated it for the modern day, replacing Mr Thomas Burberry’s original waterproof gabardine – invented all the way back in 1879 – with technical fabrics in a range of shimmering colours.
This season’s profusion of pleated shorts and trousers points to a more generous take on tailoring – pleats, of course, being a trick used by tailors to draw in excess fabric. The effect of pleating is two-fold, if you’ll pardon the pun. Firstly, it creates a fuller silhouette. Secondly, it lends a garment a little extra flexibility. For men who grew up on elastane-blend denim – and that’s most of us – there are fewer things that feel better than plunging your hands into the pockets of a pair of pleated trousers for the first time.
Flower power is alive and blooming in the hands of designers such as Mr Simon Porte Jacquemus, whose free-spirited debut menswear collection features sunflowers from his native Provence. Floral print is abundant elsewhere, too, cropping up on everything from bucket hats to denim. Only a few years ago, this sort of thing might have been considered rather effeminate. But masculinity, rather like style, is constantly shifting under our feet, and opinions like these now seem rather quaint. Flowers have now been liberated from any such connotations, leaving designers free to employ them like never before. You should follow suit.
Knitwear, you know, that thing you pile on during winter in increasing layers of thickness in order to avoid freezing? Well, it turns out you can wear it in summer, too. After sweating through the record-breaking British summer of 2018, you might think this utter madness, but hear us out. In lightweight yarns, oversized fits and loosely spun fabrics – as in the case of the knitwear from AMBUSH, the up-and-coming clothing brand from jewellery designer Ms Yoon Ahn – sweaters needn’t be quite so, uh, sweaty. These breezier cuts are wonderfully bohemian, to boot.
Rhude Oversized Camp-Collar Printed Voile Shirt Coming soon
Coming hot on the substantial heels of the much-discussed ugly sneaker comes the trail sneaker, another footwear trend driven by Balenciaga and its creative director, fashion’s disruptor-in-chief Mr Demna Gvasalia. The Track is a Frankenstein’s monster of a sneaker that’s part trail runners and part walking boots, with a few bits of Balenciaga’s own Triple S thrown in. Think of it as a natural extension of the wildly popular outdoor trend and the rise to prominence of brands such as Patagonia et al. If it’s not clear whether you’re leaving the house to go shopping or fell running, you’re doing it right.
A decidedly neon feel pervades this season’s collections, building on a trend that first reared its head in 2018. Made for Instagram? Without a doubt, but influencers aren’t the only ones with reason to cheer the rising popularity of reflective, Day-Glo and hi-vis fabrics in colours that are more typically found on safety jackets and lifebuoys. Employed with discretion, this is a far more accessible trend that might at first seem apparent, with a wide spectrum of applications, from neon suits at Versace to wallets by Comme des Garçons.
Is fashion’s love affair with functional outdoor gear more than just a fling? It certainly looks that way. High-tech fabrics remain very much on the agenda for 2019, and with this being spring, the focus right now is on their lightweight properties. Remember cagoules, those packable rainproof jackets that we used to wear to school on dreary days? They’re back, albeit in notably more dramatic form, courtesy of Dries Van Noten, Acne Studios and Valentino. What’s so attractive about them? They’re the perfect vehicle for bright colour and an easier way to get in on the neon trend (see above).
Belt bags, cross-body bags and dinky satchels are set to continue their meteoric rise to the top of the luggage world in 2019, and who can complain? Men have struggled for too long under the shadow of the “man bag”, stuffing their pockets to bursting point with wallets, phones, keys and the other burdens of modern life, ruining the lines of their trousers and making it uncomfortable to sit down. Now, all that is a thing of the past as the practical argument for smaller bags is simply too persuasive to ignore.