Does anyone else find it funny that we live in a world where we carry around portable computers each day that lets us instantly connect with one another and have answered any question that has an answer in existence yet we still us a groundhog as the determining factor for how soon spring will arrive in the North-East United States? Thankfully, we don’t leave spring and summer fashion to the groundhogs even if it may appear at time that may be better off doing so.
The spring/summer menswear trends of 2016 will bring us to a place of nostalgia of seasons past but with a spin that is so 2016. This season, we are grace with edgy and exciting new ideas for our own wardrobes and of course drifting us in wonder of the question I often ask myself each season, “who the F@#K is going to wear that?” So without further ado, let’s take a look at the style we will be wise to snatch up and what piece we’ll see ion the clearance rack all the way to next winter and a few pieces that your wife or girlfriend may want to borrow for herself……now I’ve got your attention!
Bombs Away…. Jacket
Left to Right: Lois Vuitton, Burberry Prorsum, Todd Synder
Although Spring and summer fashion is always presented about 6 months before the seasons begins, I like to provide a refresher for the period in which we are actually going to start buying this stuff. With the weather beginning to warm up, now is the time to start researching for that light spring jacket, and this season reintroduces the time honored bomber jacket.
Since its birth in to the world of style in the 1950’s, the bomber jacket has experienced a long and lasting timeline throughout the eras. My first experience with the revival of this acclaimed jacket was when it entered the world of hip hop fashion in the mid 2000’s. We all have that phase in our past when we harnessed a style that we want to burn all evidence of and high school was that time for me. Amidst all of the style fails and the trend chasing, the bomber jacket that I had was by far the only item I can recall as a hit while everything else was transplanted to my local salvation army where people in need likely walked right past my style flops keeping their dignity intact.
As a casual go-to in the world of men’s outerwear, bomber jackets are a great choice for those early spring days when the weather is just starting to warm up but you still need a light layer to ward off the whipping spring breeze and rain showers.
Bowling Just Got Cooler, No Really!
Left to Right: Umit Benan, Louis Vuitton, Michael Bastian
The 1950’s makes its mark yet again this season with the return of the bowling shirt. The powers that be in the world of fashion have featured these shirts in over-sized cuts most often with tailored pants but I think the look will be more refined if the shirt was also tailored with special attention placed on the sleeves.
A slim silhouette matched with sleeves that are tapered to fit closely around the arm will bring this mid-century look to a modern space and avoid that dad-like, Charlie Sheen Look.
This throwback from the era of doo-wop has been brought back to us with a vengeance by way of a host of different textures, material, colors and patterns providing enough options to live your entire spring and summer in nothing but bowling shirts free of boredom. Well, not actually “nothing” but you get the drift.
White on White
Left to Right: Neil Barrett, Tommy Hilfiger, Daks
White pants are a warm weather classic and timeless piece that every-man should have at his disposal and this season dares the men of style to move upward from white pants to white everything. To break up the monochromic nature of an all-white look, add dimension by playing with textures. Pair a white pair of white chinos with a chunky knitted white sweater and a pair of fresh white shoes or a pair of classic converses.
If you want a bit of contrast, try introducing a new color in pale hues for a slight contrast that compliments the white rather than competing. A great example is the grey and white look in the far left above from Neil Barrett. The pale grey and white pattern jacket keeps the white on white theme but introduces a visual intrigue with the bold pattern and new color but the icy grey is in the same cool color genre so that it doesn’t take away from the white pants or sneakers… and how cool is the metal on the toes of those kicks?!
White pants hold a style stance of their own so you can build a look just off of these snowy trousers. If you want to go for a time-honored American look, pair your white pants with a navy-blue and white striped sweater and a pair of loafers in black or dark brown similar to the middle picture above from the Tommy Hilfiger show at New York’s first Men’s Fashion Week. For a more edgy touch, piece a pair of white jeans or chinos with a black turtle-neck and black Chelsea boots to channel your inner bad-ass!
Enough Pants for Two
Left to Right: Giorgio Armani, Topman, Christopher Shannon
Here is the part of the season where the fashion elevates to a high level of avant-garde.
One trend that is returning from the fall of 2015 is the baggy pants; so if you like the feeling of air creeping up your thighs as the legs of your pants flap in the wind like sails, this is the season for you.
Brands like Giorgio Armani, Topman and Christopher Shannon have all featured the flowy trousers look as I’m calling it with pants legs that are even wider than past seasons giving the 1990’s baggy trend a run for its money.
This look is far from what we would call an everyday look so if you are hopping on the baggy pants bandwagon, I would suggest you not try and go for the “as seen on the runway” approach and translate this look on a more subtle ground. Symmetry is key so if you’re going to go for a slightly loose cut of pants, make sure whatever your wearing on your top half is tailored or fitted to perfection so that would don’t look the way you did as a kid playing in daddy’s closet.
I have to assume that this trend is one of those situations as most are where the designers don’t actually expect us to wear the garments as shown on the runway but I still think that the slim or tailored look is the new timeless cut and the most sophisticated silhouette to approach; so I’ll stick to the classics yet again so that when this becomes passé yet again I won’t have to make a trip to my tailor.
Getting in Touch with your Feminine Side
If you have been paying attention at all to today’s pop-culture, you may have notice that we are experiencing a few shifts in the gender roles in fashion. Star studded men like Kanye West, Marc Jacobs and Jaden Smith have all taken in trip to the ladies department by way of the man skirt.
Designers aren’t trying to sell dudes on makeup and stilettos YET but they are daring men to introduce a frilly touch to their style by way of the most lady-like fabric of all, lace.
Unlike the androgynous looks presented in last season’s menswear shows, this year’s take is way more subtly as the focus seem to be on the top half of the bottom rather than a full blown androgyny. Designers such as Burberry mixed lacey tops into classic menswear look to create a marriage between feminine and masculine without crossing the lines too heavily over to the feminine side. These looks were executed by paring them with finely cut suits and layer-able pieces to make the lace a bit more discreet. It seems to me these fashion houses are still trying to sell us on this look but realized last season that you can’t easily throw an blouse at the typical male and expect him to say “yeah, OK, I guess I could wear that.”
Although the market of men that are proudly sporting a gender-bending style is still a pretty small niche market but designers and fashion professionals are expecting this market to grow but in a baby steps manner. That would explain why this trend is way more tuned down than it was in the spring with looks largely made up of secretary blouses across a stream of different shows that also coincided with the 1970’s trend also happening.
It’s hard to say for sure if the average male will begin a liberate closet filed with blouses and man skirts but one thing seems to be for sure and that is the fact that the world of menswear is changing and become way more diverse than the suit and tie that has reigned supreme. Style is all about self-expression which I appreciate so I say if you are going to walk out of the house with one of this seasons lace top, you better make damn sure the rest of the outfit is on point but hey, if you have the gonads to gender bend than it safe to say that you will rock that blouse like nobody’s business!