With the London, Milan and Paris Fall/Winter 2014 Fashion Weeks behind us, we look toward what looks to be an exciting year in fashion. A big change seems to be in the air, with men’s style constantly pushing new boundaries and refusing to settle into traditional gender-style stereotypes. With nowhere left to go but outside of the box, designers are creating a new wave of menswear that is brushing on haute couture territory, as seen in the collections of Thom Browne and J.W. Anderson. Silhouettes are changing, as are the key players in the game, with a slew of emerging designers making headlines against the usual suspects. The future of men’s fashion is looking brighter than ever and the top five trends from Fall/Winter 2014 reflect just a small taste of what’s to come.
1. Relaxed trousers
After years of slim pant silhouettes dominating the scene, men the world over have finally decided to stand up and reclaim comfort over style, and incidentally, both in one fell swoop. Streetwear saw its own relaxing of shapes in recent times, when jogging pants entered our consciousness and became an acceptable form of style in our lives. Now, it’s fine tailoring’s turn to loosen those seams and let it all hang out. Seen across most collections at the Fall/Winter 2014 shows, relaxed trousers were easily the most unanimous trend of the season. Dressed up with a suit or worn casually with a sweatshirt, this is a big one to watch out for in 2014.
2. Drop shoulders
Perhaps by mimicking the more voluminous shapes seen in trousers, shoulders were also dropped and slouched. Shoulder seams moved southwards in a casual manner, with some even ending up at the elbows. Seen on jackets, coats and sweatshirts, lowered shoulders added to the new modern silhouette which is all about volume and an overabundance of fabric. Drop shoulders also help to give a false sense of an impeccably ripped upper body, so if it saves us going to the gym we’re all for it.
Repeat after me: turtleneck is not a dirty word. The saving grace of cold necks everywhere, the turtleneck has had a bad reputation since it was last seen on Seinfeld reruns. Who knew an extra flap of fabric could be so versatile? Keep the look casual in light shades, dress it up in dark colors with a sharp suit jacket on top, or if you’re game, go for all-out wearable art à la J.W. Anderson. So this year, protect ya neck and get with the turtleneck trend. Props go out to Steve Jobs for leading the way on this one – a true visionary if there ever was one.
4. Oversized lapels
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, big is BIG in 2014. As well as maximizing pants and shoulders, lapels got the oversize treatment as well. Wearing big lapels is akin to carrying a cane or top hat – it’s a sign of a true dapper gent and it demands respect. The bigger the lapels, the bigger the man – or so the saying goes. It also makes wearing a scarf somewhat redundant and multi-functioning items are always a plus in our books.
5. Head and face gear
Men’s fashion has slowly been moving into more experimental territory, with designers no longer content at just churning out variations of the basics – shirts, pants and outerwear. Headwear in the form of traditional caps and hats has long been favored by men everywhere, but this season saw a slew of brands incorporating both head and face gear in some truly innovative ways. Riccardo Tisci covered models’ heads with netting at Givenchy – a literal translation of his basketball-inspired collection, while COMME des GARÇONS‘ muse was in the form of Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
However it’s time we discussed the real elephant in the room – quite literally seen at Thom Browne, whose collection blurred the lines of ready-to-wear and haute couture. Fond of priceless Maison Martin Margiela masks himself, Kanye West also included head and face gear in the second installment of his collaboration with French label A.P.C.
The message here isn’t to just throw a mop on your mug for extra street cred, rather it’s all about the bigger picture – that menswear is constantly evolving and currently shows no sign of slowing down or staying inside the box. Amen to that.