With a seemingly never-ending drip of new-ins and new-outs, it can be hard on both your wallet and your wardrobe to constantly play catch-up with the latest menswear collections.
Luckily, this season sees some of 2017’s biggest trends spill over into 2018. So as well as breaking down what you should be holding on to in order to nail the key looks, we caught up with some of the industry’s top insiders to get the styling tips that’ll maximise the wears of last year’s investments.
For the past few seasons, looser cuts and more relaxed shapes – whether that’s on coats, hoodies or, indeed, trousers – have been working their way from the runways to the mainstream. The more louche way of dressing, which started to be picked up by brands and retailers in 2016, is likely to peak over the next 12 months.
Although the look has been a slow-burner (and no doubt we’ll all get skinny jean withdrawals now and again), if you snapped up a more roomy fit last year, we have good news – wide-leg trousers have serious staying power.
How To Wear
“The easiest entry into the world of wider fits is with denim. No need to go full Slim Shady though, a straight leg is a good first step. Try a rugged dark selvedge or black jean with a chunky turn-up and brogue boots.
“For a smarter look, it’s wise to wear something with weight like a wool-mix. This will gather nicely on your shoe rather than just looking like you’ve got your dad’s trousers on.”
Giles Farnham, River Island Style Studio chief
If there was one piece we couldn’t move for last year, it was the Cuban collar shirt. Such was the influence of Mr Montana that open necklines ran the gamut from high street to high end. And rightly so – the cut can look extremely sleek, and we’re happy to report it’s here to stay.
Hawaiian prints might have calmed down, but if you’re in possession of a muted botanical print or plain Cuban collar shirt, keep hold of it. This year, combine yours with a leather jacket and some slim-fit jeans for a rock ’n’ roll update of an old-school classic.
How To Wear
“Cuban collars will be here to stay for a few summers because they’re practical. The best of these shirts come in cotton or linen, making them light and airy on a hot day – and flattering. I’ll often recommend these collars to guys with narrow shoulders because it makes them look broader.”
Millie Rich, Thread stylist
Unless you’ve been living under a soundproof rock (and/or failing to keep up with FashionBeans), you will already know that sportswear has been one of the biggest risers in menswear over the past couple of years.
Last year’s retro take on athleisure saw brands like Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger and Fila revisit the nineties, and despite the new year, this decade is sticking around. In short: anything that looks like it’s from The Royal Tenenbaums is for the keep pile.
How To Wear
“Key pieces include matching two-piece tracksuits, zip-up nylon jumpers and drawstring trousers in luxury fabrics with careful attention to detail. Top this look off with a vintage leather bomber for the ultimate sartorial statement.”
Olie Arnold, Mr Porter style director
The seventies have been staying alive in menswear in one form or another for years, but that didn’t stop the era from staging an outright onslaught on our wardrobes in 2017.
Fortunately, instead of disco hair and platform shoes, what we got was roll necks, corduroy, patterned knitwear, silk shirts and wide lapels. All of which, even nearly half a century on, are yet to have their heyday.
How To Wear
“As far as I’m concerned, the 1970s never went out of style; roll necks have been a staple of my wardrobe for years. A fine- to medium-gauge version works well as a contrast to a heavily patterned/textured suit, or if you’re off-duty try wearing with some high-waisted trousers to fully commit to the 1970s look.”
Richard Biedul, male model and influencer
Much like checks, it’s hard to remember a time when stripes weren’t in favour. Offering an alternative to the classic Breton design, last year’s motifs went colourful and chunky.
Any investment in deckchair prints is about to pay dividends. Vertical stripes were once again all over the runways at the recent London Fashion Week Men’s, applied to everything from T-shirts to tailoring.
How To Wear
“Stripes have always been a menswear staple, particularly over the last few seasons. Their popularity stems from their versatility; they really can work for any style, bold or subtle. A classic crew neck T-shirt works under a casual blazer, or for a bolder look try a multi-coloured stripe.”
James Doidge, Marks & Spencer head of menswear design
If 2017 was the year designers got in touch with their feelings, get ready for a totes emosh 2018. Joining existing winter wardrobe stalwarts (think shearling, wool and flannel) and perennial party season staples like velvet, touchy-feely garments such as suede bombers, corduroy trousers and puckered summer jackets have become essentials in their own right.
And as with anything worthy of the title ‘essential’, these aren’t flash-in-the-pan pieces so are worth holding on to. For summer, jackets will continue to be given a good-enough-to-touch edge with embroidery holding the fort until cool AF corduroy reappears on shirts and suits in the winter months.
How To Wear
“Tactile fabrics are a simple way up to update your wardrobe in a trend-led way without stepping too far out of your comfort zone. For spring, bomber jackets freshened up in luxurious suede, and lightweight jacquard Harrington jackets are key carryovers, as are fluffy mohairs, cosy corduroys and textured wools for winter. All of these layering pieces can be worn smart or casual and will make your usual outfits feel new.”
Graeme Moran, Drapers head of content: fashion and features
The navy suit. Stylish, yes. A wardrobe cornerstone, most definitely. But exciting? Not necessarily. For this reason – and because menswear itself has become increasingly ballsy – a sartorial reshuffle has been bubbling away under the surface for the past 12 months. Your tailoring now comes in technicolour.
Before you rightly point out that blue is a colour, look to skilled suit-wearers like Harry Styles and Mark Ronson to provide primary examples of suits in teal, burgundy and even pink. It’s a look that started to gain traction at the end of 2017 but the payoff for early adopters will come this year.
How To Wear
“Adding lighter colours into your wardrobe is a great way to update your look for the new season. For spring, I’ll be wearing mostly tonal outfits – for example, wearing a whole outfit of blue or green shades, adding lighter tones for a spring feel. I saw this look a lot at the shows in June, and I know it’ll be one of the most worn trends for the season.”
Oliver Cheshire, model and face of Autograph at Marks & Spencer
Despite much of what’s in our wardrobe spawning from either the military, sport or workwear, function and fashion were, for a long time, mutually exclusive. Attempting to right that wrong, designers and brands have worked hard in recent seasons to produce pieces equally as suited to the front line as the front row.
The result has been an increase in performance fabrics across everything from accessories to tailoring and a focus on utilitarian details like bellows pockets and heat-welded seams. Whether outerwear or footwear, if it put the work in during 2017, it’s not about to clock off.
How To Wear
“With athleisure and fitness gear now a staple part of everyday wardrobes, guys are paying more attention to what pieces do rather than just how they look. One way to show you have your finger on the pulse is to pair a multi pocket jacket with tonal trousers and a simple crew neck T-shirt.”
George Nicholson, The Idle Man deputy editor