By their very nature, fashion trends come and go. But they can tell us a lot about the wider picture in the fashion industry at any given moment. It's useful to understand the ebb and flow of what works for brands and what connects with customers, as it can reveal more about the times we live in.
For example, does the logomania trend mean people have lost sight of good taste under late capitalism? Maybe. But the more you pay attention, the more easily you can predict what will pop up next.
With that in mind, here's a breakdown of the biggest fashion trends for men in 2019 so far.
We've known about the suit's big menswear comeback for a minute now. After years of designer streetwear, contemporary men's tailoring is noteworthy because it has never been so variable. The old formalwear rules appear to have been tossed aside, particularly the idea that suits need to be formal at all.
For Spring/Summer 2019, men's fashion trends have ticked toward something that looks smart but feels relaxed. Think Frank Ocean rocking up to the Met Gala in a suit with a Prada nylon gabardine anorak thrown over the top, or any of Tyler, the Creator's recent powder blue suits. If you're looking to cop, check the loose, flowing SS19 suits by Acne Studios in a lick of fluorescent orange below. And remember: for the ultimate SS19 vibe, kill the idea that a suit is uncomfortable.
Cargo pants, once a mainstay of insular neckbeards, have had an image makeover for 2019, ascending the ranks of men's style alongside hiking/trail-style sneakers and boots and outdoor wear brands such as Columbia.
For SS19, several brands have released versions of the comfortable and practical pants with standout details. First, there are the Gobchang pants by South Korean label 99%IS, adorned with multiple cords and favored by stylist Bloody Osiris (above). Sustainable, LVMH-nominated label PHIPPS has also offered up a more classic version of cargo pants, albeit made using sustainable methods and with beautiful tonal paneling (below).
Verner Panton prints
We've already written about how Dries Van Noten's use of Verner Panton prints is SS19's version of last summer's Prada half-and-half shirts, but here's the TL;DR:
The estate of influential Danish furniture designer Verner Panton allowed his work to be licensed for use on Dries Van Noten's latest collection, pushing both Panton, who died in 1998, and Van Noten to the apex of 2019 fashion trends, with the likes of Beyoncé (below) and Swae Lee rocking the collection.
Van Noten, with his brand's total lack of advertising and celebrity influencers, belongs to a diminishing guild of fashion designers whose work relies solely on the mastery of the craft. However, the success of this SS19 collaboration suggests the Belgian is moving from industry insider favorite to mainstream darling.
Neck wallets were all over the SS19 runways, with notable pieces from Fendi, Valentino, and Louis Vuitton. Neck wallets, also referred to as neck pouches, are a return to simple, functional design, and their flatness means the wallet rests against your body without disrupting a silhouette in the way, say, a chest rig might.
The neck wallet potentially signals a departure from the utilitarian design codes favored by the likes of 1017 ALYX 9SM in favor of a softer, more artisanal style. For example, there is the Le Gadjo straw necklace bag by Jacquemus, which is made of straw panels with white leather trim and a silver-tone logo plaque. Or there's a version by Hong Kong label Fingercroxx, which collaborated with Drifter on an affordable, colorful range of necklace-like accessories for SS19 (below).
We've highlighted some of our favorite neck wallets here.
Satin shirts, and a thirst for shiny, luxurious fabrics in general, are a wider comment about menswear finally making room for more glamorous looks, ones that prioritize beauty and handsomeness over ephemerality, clout, and outdated concepts of masculinity.
One label has made such objectively beautiful garments its signature: New York-based brand Sies Marjan offers its Sander satin long-sleeve shirts, named after creative director Sander Lak, in glassy hues of bubblegum, teal, toffee, salmon, and lipstick red. Ludovic de Saint Sernin, meanwhile, turned to resplendent fabrics for the tailoring in his SS19 collection (below), adding a shimmer to menswear's summer offerings.
Iridescence is when surfaces appear to change color with changes in light, like oil on water, and it's kind of everywhere at the moment. One of the key pieces from Virgil Abloh's inaugural Louis Vuitton show last summer, a translucent Keepall, set the mood for SS19 and it seems we're just getting started.
French streetwear label Wasted Paris just dropped a new range of iridescent items for SS19, including unisex tactical vests, bucket hats, and crop tops for women. Elsewhere, Sies Marjan has developed a reflective fabric (below) that appears to be a subtle purple/brown under regular light but transforms into a mind-blowing array of swirling iridescence under flash photography.
With new garms celebrated with the obligatory ’fit pic these days, something that really pops in pictures can be read as a sign of the times.
A pleat is the crease you sometimes see going down the front fold of pant legs, adding another dimension to the surface of the fabric. And in the case of Japanese designer Issey Miyake, pleats are taken to the next level, with countless thin pleats folded all around the legs of his Homme Plissé pants in black, green, or mustard.
Outside of sneakers, heeled shoes have been a trend in men's footwear in 2019. It began with a surge in popularity for the iconic split-toed Maison Margiela Tabi boot, which, although a staple of the brand since its inception in 1988, was only given a men's version a few seasons ago.
If you can't get on board with a split toe, there's a more classic Cuban heel by Swedish label Our Legacy (below), available in white and black.