Made famous by Kanye West, urban chic-sters and luxury rock ‘n’ rollers, longline has become a huge trend for men as a comfortable, elegant look.
It’s officially made its mark on the street with b-baller New Yorkers, non-laddish Londoners and the bien stylé dudes in Paris. And more fash-ed up celebrities such as Russell Westbrook and Lenny Kravitz are going long.
Whether the anti-fit style is your thing or not, longline is here to stay this season and pleading ignorance – to the long, is just plain wrong. Clicking through the slide show for this season’s main longline brands, will help, before we get deep down to business.
Breaking It Down
The longline trend – despite its relaxed, slouchy look – has some rules. Think minimal. That is, keep the colours neutral (black, white, navy, grey, green, brown and so on). Monochrome hues look chic, as do blocking the colours, with minimal prints.
Longline is all about layering and elongating the top half of your body. For the short guy, keep the cut of longline slim so the length doesn’t swallow you. And it experiments with active fabrics like nylon, satins and neoprene, as well as cooler linens and cotton. Void of colour, the texture and contrast is where longline goes deep. Read on for the key longline pieces.
A t-shirt is the most common fashion item a gentlemen owns. Wearing one now, right? For the longline trend, there exists a few varieties. The first is the ‘skater’; recognised for its loose, free-flowing fit. Great for motion and the active gent, the shirt sometime comes sleeveless. ‘Boxed’ is more sculpted and structured and ideal for layering; while ‘oversized’ is the go-to classic – wide and square so it falls loosely over a pair skinny bottoms.
Now choose your bottoms. Cropped slim chinos under a cotton blazer creates a more smarter look with sockless Derbies, while skinny jeans, a leather biker and neon sneakers offer a more rockstar-urban appeal.
The longline knit comes in two varieties: the cardigan and the sweater. The typical gauge and fabric varieties apply for longline; though fine gauge knits tend to work better, going with the lightness of the silhouette. Both should be unstructured and loose for a more relaxed vibe.
The cardigan should be worn open (to avoid looking like a woollen frock), with the sleeves lean and and the fit across the shoulders and chest relatively fitted. The length shouldn’t surpass mid-thigh either. And wear it over slim-fit denim and a relaxed fit scoop-neck tee to accentuate the openness.
The sweater needs to stay round neck (nothing ‘V’-ed) and cuffed wrists give the sweater some more shape in the longline style. Wear over classic skinnys for a street wear vibe or chinos more a reimagined smart casual look. All under layers should be light to eliminate any bulkiness for the knit.
The longline button shirt comes in two styles: granddad or mandarin collar and the typical collared shirt. These are great for working a tailored piece into a street look, especially for a casual night time outfit. Keep the shoulders and arms fitted as the torso has that little bit of extra room – not boxed, however.
The length should hit no longer than half way down the thigh (the longer the more risqué), and you should never tuck the longline style in, as it’s designed to all hang out. And the shirt looks best with the buttons fastened all the way up, neck included. Never, wear a tie.
For summer, pair the shirt in light cotton chinos or linen trousers in a cropped, Japanese-fit; while for winter doesn’t feel as chilly with layers: add a top coat and dark denim in a slim fit to match the weather’s broodiness.
The most common form of longline outerwear is the bomber jacket. While the length can vary, from just past the waist to almost knee-length, the bomber should be approached in the same as a normal bomber. Contrast sleeves in leather or denim are a huge trend, adding a varsity jock aesthetic.
It’s great for layering over tees, button-ups and jumpers, pairing it with cool sneakers. And its length means the bomber can replace the mac or trench for a modern take on the classic top coat. Just don’t wear this baby the office.
Click through the slide show for this season’s main longline brands.
The legend Hedi Slimane looks to longline tees and grunge tartan prints this season for Saint Laurent.