Stylish men make more conscious sartorial decisions; be it from season to season or year to new year. As men’s fashion becomes increasingly diverse – think sports-influenced suits and polished streetwear, it’s getting far easier to feel lost – especially without some active style planning.
With the dawning of 2016, it’s the perfect time to assess personal style changes or tweaks for the next 12 months. You see, style is about consolidating the parts of your wardrobe that make you your rakish self; while looking forward and being ahead (or on at least par) with the fashion pack. It’s a bit of a game, really. And, for most, it’s time to step it up.
Following our observation of fashionable men on the streets and the latest kit on the runway, these seven next-level men’s style updates are designed for the gent who wants more than a ‘normal’ wardrobe. Lift the style bar a little in 2016. Just be sure to mix these trending, seasonal pieces with some of the classics too.
#1 Pastel Pete
While Marsala (a wine-y, reddish brown) was declared the official colour for 2015 (pushed on by the Seventies vibes for the year), Rose Quartz and Serenity (yes, stay calm) are forecast to be the trendiest hues in 2016, according to colour experts Pantone. So what does this look like? Pastels.
Light pink and baby blue are set to add some much needed colour and softness to men’s wear. The two garden colours were seen blooming in Florence in June during Pitti Uomo 88: linen blazers, light cotton shirts, and suede shoes all receiving the pastel treatment.
Translating to the everyday gent in 2016, pastels should be worn with other mid-tones including greens, purples – opting for muted versions, as well as neutral staples such as brown, khaki or grey. Add in silver jewellery or a metal timepiece and you’re sartorially set for colour in 2016.
#2 Resort Cool
The holidays have just ended. And men’s wear is looking for a way to stay on an endless vacay. This means resort prints are a must-buy in 2016 – a shift from last year’s big Hawaiian florals. Look for nostalgic patterns such as 70s-inspired vertical stripes or 50s-esque dark floral prints. Typically short sleeve, the collar should sit open and flat – revere or Cuban style.
The styling is the major shake-up in 2016 with the shirts left untucked and open for a laidback, by-the-pool-bar look. Just add a white, slim fit tee as a layering piece underneath to break up the print with tailored shorts or buttoned-up with two buttons left open, teamed with some relaxed fit vintage wash denim.
#3 Denim Is (Even More) Chilled
If you’re intent on beating the denim tastemakers at their own trend game, think relaxed and worn-in for jeans. Distressed denim- sliced knees or light vintage fades – channel an aesthetic break from the spotless, dark selvedge denim of 2015. Denim is lighter in fabric weight too, with extra stretch for slim-fit types, on the back of commuter jeans riding in on the bike-it-to-work trend.
But most all, denim is slouchy and relaxed. Skinnies, though they still follow the contours of the thigh and leg, don’t cling like the stovepipes of the past. The best way to describe denim’s shape in 2016 is tailored and flowy; cropped in wider cuts (sometimes unhemmed) or tapered in at the knee with more room at top part of the leg – just like pants.
#4 Bold Bombers
The MA-1 bomber jacket was a high flyer in 2015. But the souvenir jacket has trickled down from the runways of SS16 and is set to be the thing to remember for 2016. Off eastern influence, the souvenir jacket retains the baseball cut of a bomber. But replaces the matte of nylon for satin or silk – packing an extra statement with embroidered details – often Korean or Japanese-inspired with cranes and tiger motifs.
To suits, and the suede bomber jacket – in a tailored fit – looks to rival the formal jacket – come casual Friday in the office. Suede’s natural tan or brown colour is a modern version of the camel topcoat which swept over men’s wear last year. And it doubles for a perfect winter jacket with chinos and sneakers on the weekend.
#5 Slouch Shoulder
From t-shirts to roll necks to top coats, shoulders and sleeves are defining the ‘slouchy’ direction men’s shoulders are taking in 2016. The raglan sleeve – made by leaving a diagonal seam from underarm to collarbone – has active apparel roots, giving the appearance of one full piece shoulder section to the collar. It’s relatively undefined, and is emphasised by a slightly oversized silhouette.
It goes against all tailoring etiquette. But, when wearing a raglan top coat, a strong shoulder suit jacket will inject definition into an otherwise relaxed shoulder, making it contemporarily smart as a work ensemble. Come the weekend though, embrace the natural slouch, teaming a raglan trench or mac coat with tapered jogger pants or jeans – based out with luxury sneakers or chunky soled lace-ups.
#6 You Got Sole
Taken from the mixing of outdoorwear with luxury fashion, some men’s dress shoes styles are turning chunky. Brogues are getting a lift with triple weft construction and crepe soles, while dapper derbies are gaining traction with chunky, grip soles (think hiking boots) in the new year. Chunky-soled footwear is not only practical (short guys rejoice) in winter, it also gives a rugged edge to even the most business-boring lace ups.
A few rules apply. Balance the chunky with trousers in a true-fit, not baggy like a kid in dad’s clothes. Nor should you bottoms be skinny jeans, for fear of looking like an emo (pin legs, big feet). Keep the upper part of the leather shoes smooth and clean, to balance the braun of the sole.
Finally, shop around for a pair of leather shoes with just the right amount of chunk for your lifestyle. But, don’t go too chunky – Disco Stu platforms aren’t returning in the new year. Or ever.
#7 Hip To Be A Square
With men rocking out with John Lennon-round lenses or the metal aviator teardrop sunglass model in 2015, eyewear frames are getting square with the softer shade shapes. A key silhouette for men is the square aviator model – a more rectangular version of the classic aviator – which cuts sharper of the brow and slice the side of the cheeks.
Still in a masculine metal wire frame, Thom Browne, Tom Ford and Ray Bans are pioneers of the squarer shape, switching up neon mirrored lenses with a tinted rose, blue or tan brown. But, before you invest in a square pair, assess the shape of your face. Certain sunglass silhouettes – despite their apparent trendiness – aren’t for every man.