The current season sees fashion returning to its pre-pandemic state. Trendy styles are, once again, the staple of wardrobes. Such is the scenario looking at the Autumn/Winter 2021 collections.
Menswear is not any different. The aesthetic for guys have also returned to what it was before lockdowns changed the way we socialise.
Tailoring is the star of runways. Well-constructed clothes are seen as exciting additions that can offer a debonair quality to dressing up. Streetwear, still a dominant force, is back to being party favourites.
Accessories are also bigger, louder and wackier than ever. The way a look is styled is pretty standardised across brands – with excessive layering and clashing prints being the go-to.
Remember how, about three years ago, it was all about the idea of going big or go home?
Fashion labels are now embracing bold designs to avoid being forgotten, as shopper rush out of lockdowns to find their next new outfit.
The recently released 2020 Annual Report by the Council Of Fashion Designers Of America (CFDA) reflected on a year where Covid-19 ravaged the industry, but also expressed optimism for a world opening up again.
New York Fashion Week took place last month with in-person shows. While the event only recommended the use of face masks, all guests and participants had to be vaccinated.
“With hopes of moving past the pandemic, CFDA is looking forward to a fashion week that will be stronger and better than ever,” said Tom Ford, who is the association’s chairman.
CFDA CEO Steven Kolb added: “If there was one positive to come out of 2020, it was a reminder of just how strong and resilient the fashion community is.”
Beyond the conventional
As if to make up for all the lost glamour during the past year or so, fashion designers are upping the style ante with excessively eclectic creations.
Just consider the sweaters spotted on runways. They come in all kinds of colours and patterns – as if to offer sort of a pick-me-up in times of gloom. Materials used to fashion these statement pieces range from mohair to cashmere.
“I like this idea of taking feminine codes and re-cutting them out of menswear fabric,” said Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson, in a video walkthrough of his Autumn/Winter 2021 designs.
“So taking the camel wool, and forcing it into a draped structure to show kind of this idea of a double-face or a cashmere that feels kind of sensual.”
Colours are also brighter this season. Men are expected to do away with sombre grey, tan or black. Instead, red is the star of the season along with shades like lime green or bubblegum pink.
Prints are bolder. If you like your clothes being the centre of attention, then this season is your time to really shine. And not just the usual plaids or checks too – factor some bright florals into your look.
Geometric, artsy motifs were also abundant on the runways. A little kitschy, but if done correctly, they afford that soft bohemian vibe big fashion houses have been gunning for in the the past few seasons.
You could also associate it to a more grunge Parisian style. Very much as though the beatnik look of the 1950s and 60s is making a comeback.
Suits and more suits
Streetwear is definitely solidifying its grip on the industry. More and more menswear heads of fashion houses have been recruited from the streetwear scene. Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh or Kim Jones of Dior, for example.
Yet, the quintessential suit is not going anywhere. It has been changed, then changed again countless times over the past decade or so. From sleek to casual, and now, they appear as slightly avant-garde.
Dolce & Gabbana unveiled a collection inspired by the generations growing up on social media.
The label’s rather unusual suits were seen as a patchwork of classic sartorial cloths. There was even a tailored jacket constructed with zips.
“I’m not a part of it because I’m 58; I’m not 25. I just look on from the outside,” Stefano Gabbana told Vogue, about how this digitalised aesthetic is not his personal style.
“But Domenico (Dolce) and I are very curious about it. The new always comes from the young. Our job is to pay attention to them.”
If you are not going to construct a suit in a more casual manner, what about wearing it as such?
Prada styled two-piece suits as though they are made for a stroll on the streets. The sleeves were pulled up above the elbows. The fabric though is as traditional as it can be: a classic pinstripe.
Perhaps, only Tom Ford kept to the elements of traditional suiting with structured, well-fitted designs.
“Who doesn’t want to be a badass?” the label’s Autumn/Winter 2021 notes read. “Especially after being trapped at home for a year.”
When it comes to accessorising, it is a beautiful mix of fashion genres.
Borrowing from streetwear, designers included baseball caps into their collections. Not just that, these must come with logos in the front – putting a stamp on the idea of iconography in fashion.
The bucket hat was the star of the past season, but the humble cap is now a must-have. Just adding a cap to your outfit, even if you are wearing a suit, will add swagger to your style credence.
Wellington boots, the sort of footwear you will see worn by those who work in a market here in Malaysia, is a star accessory. Some have been redesigned though, with lace-up elements or military shafts.
These pay tribute to the more hipster or indie scene. In the past, wellington boots have been worn by the hip crowds at music festivals such as Coachella or Glastonbury.
Now they are on the runways. Or, at least, runways that are made to look like the great outdoors. MSGM even styled them with knee-high, brightly-coloured socks for that extra trendy effect.
“The flavour is underground, the attitude is 1990s,”MSGM’s description of the collection noted. “2021. These are fast, unpredictable times.”
For bags, it seems that men are now required to carry tiny designs. The types that can probably fit just a mobile phone. A reminder though – never call them purses!
It is an irrefutable ode to the dandies – flamboyant men who know to not shun items just because they are not mainstream (yet).
And no, with bags this minute, you are not supposed to carry them in your hand. Hang them around your neck instead. Or hung nonchalantly crossbody, mimicking the idea of a pouch bag instead.