Men’s clothing, besides a few nips and tucks, has remained more or less unchanged for nearly 200 years. We wore shirts, coats and trousers then as we do now and yet, the same articles of clothing stand distinctly apart from each other, even when viewed from one decade to the next.
Sometimes the shirts went full sleeves, and then it was half sleeves that were in vogue. The coats lost their tails and kept shrinking till they could shorten no more – and then started growing longer again. The lapels slimmed down and then fattened up. And trousers, they have done everything from being baggy to bell-bottomed to skinny-fit. But there is something more happening with trousers these days, something a bit more unusual – men seem to be getting more adventurous with them. Here are a few that have stood out for me.
Cuffs: They are back and noticeably wider. Being short, I may prefer to avoid them entirely, but tall fellas will be all for this look. Even non-cuffed trousers are taking on a retro look and getting much baggier. High-waist trousers are becoming noticeably popular. Jeans and gaberdines may stay low-slung for the younger lot, but the more mature formal-dressing crowd is definitely wearing them higher.
Colour blocking: This is a come-and-go trend except in Italy, where it is almost like the national costume. Italian men rock the whole ‘funky coloured trousers with formal overalls’ look surprisingly well, every single time.
Combinations have always been a semi-formal way to present oneself. But now, suit trousers are deviating from the jackets and changing the patterns ever so slightly. So it isn’t uncommon to find a suit where the coat is grey with black checks and the trouser is just the opposite, almost like a negative. Sounds a bit Vaudevillian, but there are patterns and colour combinations that work without taking away from the sincerity of the habits.
And now, for the final mind-twisting trend, this one involves donning a short skirt-like wrap around the trousers, often in the same colour and material as the trousers. So what others will see is a man with an above-the-knee length skirt and then an entirely covered set of legs in straight trousers. Think of it like a layered silhouette for men with a lovely fall and sway. Remember this, and if you accost one dressed so in public, don’t cast any aspersions on why the man is wearing a skirt. The look was most recently popularised by the funny and lighthearted series (Schitt’s Creek) by Daniel Levy, who is shown sporting the latest of ramp style in the show. See if you can take this extreme look off-piste.
The Jodhpur, the churidar-turned-riding pants-turned- men’s wear item, has been in fashion for some time now, but for some reason never really seem to set the ramp on fire. As I said, none of these trends are new, as they ebb and flow with the times. As long as you can find the spot between your comfort zone and contemporary fashion, you have graduated to choosing style over fashion, and that is truly priceless.