2018 has been quite an interesting year for men’s fashion. From leather to checks, vertical stripes to pinstripes, we’ve seen trends that have moved us forward, but there’s also been quite a bit of nostalgia and style homage going on. Here’s five such trends – you decide if they’re fashion forward or a fashion bore.
While I’ve been a huge fan of these jackets for over a decade, I must say it’s nice to finally see them leave behind the mountain windbreaker or classic Burberry anorak stereotype. The 2018 version isn’t just weather-tough, but also comes in numerous colourful patterns, in shades from pastel to literally 50 shades of grey. Designers from Lanvin to Balenciaga are taking risks and have perhaps finally made this an outerwear trend that will last. I’ve always loved technical jackets because stylistically, they’re multi-functional. Dress it up over tailored trousers, shirt and tie, and some trainers, or dress it down with jeans, a knit and some Chelsea boots. Either way works, and you look just the part.
Ever since I sported my “I Leaf NY” cashmere Hickey Freeman sweater many years ago, I had been hoping high fashion would go beyond its own logo push and actually make a statement. It did, but rather than stick to sweaters, it’s evolved (or shall I say elevated) to the slopes. Jumpers have come a long way, and whether it’s a distinct pattern (love the Ralph Lauren ones) or a bold logo, they were the winter’s brightest new star. Since the jumper itself was the statement, it became the ideal travel partner, be it on a flight, on the road, or inside the comfort of one’s home. It’s a simple look and it works – and hopefully will stay.
I’ve always been a sucker for the all-white look, but unless you are rocking a kurta pajama, most times it just doesn’t work. This past summer, though, it was everywhere. Designers took notice that the colour of the season also matched up to the warmest summer on record. So a crisp white T-shirt with white linen shorts, paired with brown Fendi ‘Forever Fendi’ sandals – that’s a winning combination that would work on the Riviera or at any beachside wedding. The key with white has always been fabric. Thankfully, because white has evolved beyond uniform and a layered option, there is a far greater variety that elevates the look beyond one dimension. Secretly, I hope Indian designers begin to experiment even further, with ways to modernize the kurta pajama to become distinct separates that can be paired up with other styles.
Acceptable in the ’90s
I didn’t think I’d see the Prada bucket hat for maybe another few years in our otherwise recycled fashion world, but this fall, tracksuits and oversized sneaks were back. Thankfully, while the hat might not have aged as well, the style did get a modern reboot, and for the most part, we have the emergence of high-end streetwear to thank for that upgrade. Let’s just say that athleisure has come to the rescue. So instead of just side stripe track pants being an athletic comfort choice like in the ’90s, it has now become a staple trouser form as well. Be it Armani or Balmain, they made it classier, dressier and more acceptable. But there’s still a fine line and thus, making smart choices for how to dress it up or down is essential. A classy knit takes away any misconception that this isn’t for just a stroll around the block.
Vintage checks started with women last year, and became impossible to miss this year in men’s fashion; every imaginable pattern and colour for shirts, trousers, coats, blazers, scarves, hats – you name it. While it takes quite a personality to pull off a checked suit, the stark contrast of the pattern to the rest of the outfit made this a standout. Thankfully, with time, checks have gotten a new appreciation and design upgrades. Rather than just a conventional shirt, checked blazers and jackets have been all the rage. From Valentino to a newly emboldened Burberry, it seems like checks are no longer for a traditional look. They now actually create a distinct, modern look. In the end, I feel like the industry as a whole has found clever ways to reinvent some otherwise very benign trends. By infusing some classics with a bit of creativity, 2018 feels like the year where individuality mattered even more. Statements weren’t just political, but also personal. And for once, men actually could be comfortable in their own skin by looking back and also moving forward.