As a straitlaced male, I consider my fashion sensibilities a little classic – As in the furthest I might go is abandon my Oxfords for Double Monk Straps but that’s about it. If forced to push myself sartorially, I might get experimental with suit separates and bright colours for either chinos or blazers (but never both at the same time) or loud shoes – But truth is, regardless of how experimental I get, it is unlikely I would go full on Gucci or full on Dolce & Gabbana.
Thus, how would anyone with similar fashion philosophies as myself be interested in men’s style approach something as sartorially divisive as Spring Summer 2018 menswear shows? Well, keeping an open mind and setting aside my own cynicism, I decided to sit down and take a run through the gamut of men’s fashion shows and decide for myself if there were men’s style lessons I could learn from the perspective of brands I already loved.
A Classic Gent’s (not so serious) Key Fashion Takeaways from Spring Summer 2018 Menswear Brands We Love
Fashion Takeaway 1: Don’t skip leg day
It’s true. Ask any hot blooded male and there’s definitely consensus on what women (or men for that matter) consider the sexiest part of the male physique – south of the face: the biceps, arms and chest are among the most popular (and most exercised) components of the body. BUT, there’s one other body part which ranked highly in terms of attractiveness – the butt.
“An hour at the gym is worth two at the tailor.” – The Monsieur
So why don’t we work the butt? Well, most of us skip leg day because leg workouts are hard. Squats, deadlifts and other leg exercises are physically demanding, and the soreness afterward can be beyond unpleasant. That said, as shorts come back into vogue according to these Spring Summer 2018 menswear trends, do you really want to look like you have a boy’s legs? No? Don’t skip leg day.
Fashion Takeaway 2: If you must look “street” like Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin (before he became a Kingsman agent), some brands do it better than others
I must confess, I am a closet sneaker head and as much as I love my Supreme, Stussy and Adidas, there reaches a point in every man’s life where he must look himself in the mirror and ask – Am I past the age where wearing an outfit like this makes me look like a wannabe teenager? My opinion? 25 years old, that’s the age where you start wearing grown-up clothes and stop riding on electric razor scooters. Razor scooters look a smidgen more ridiculous than those old penny-farthing bicycles and that’s saying a lot; heck, even Wall Street Journal admits that one can look a bit like a dork on a razor scooter but I digress.
Ah yes, my key fashion takeaway is this: if you must dress in streetwear, some brands do it better than others. Past a certain age, Stussy makes an adult look like a wannabe who doesn’t know how to dress. Also, at no point does streetwear ever become “classy”- I don’t care how hot Louis Vuitton x Supreme is, it’s cool not classy. That said, you could “class it up” by pairing singular loud garments with a supporting muted ensemble. Gary “Eggsy” Unwin avoids looking like a complete louche because even though he has on one of the loudest windbreakers imaginable, the rest of his outfit, from polo shirt to denims, is fairly sombre. Thus, if you must go loud, pick one garment, the rest of your ensemble should be quiet.
Fashion Takeaway 3: Black will always be in vogue
Well, black will always be an eternally fashionable colour for many reasons. First of all, it’s a slimming colour, and always makes one appear to be thinner because it doesn’t show the shadows made by the lumps and fat that one may have.
Most notable designers from Karl Lagerfeld to Tom Ford choose black because creative individuals prefer to use their creativity on their work rather than their wardrobes. Don’t take it from me, take it from these world renowned designers:
Gianni Versace: “Black is the quintessence of simplicity and elegance.”
Yves Saint Laurent: “Black symbolizes the liaison between art and fashion.”
Karl Lagerfeld: “Black is the colour that suits everybody. With black you are safe.”
“A wise friend once told me, ‘Don’t wear what fashion designers tell you to wear. Wear what they wear.” – Tina Fey
Black is neutral and easier to find other items of clothing to match with. You don’t have to worry about complementary colours and unlike technical colour blocking, all black is probably the only acceptable solid colour outfit – funereal but elegant, its versatility is what makes it the most anointed colour in fashion.
Fashion Takeaway 4: Best to know what sort of headgear is best suited for you
A man can wear many hats and look really stylish. From baseball cap or a broad-rimmed fedora (Hello Indiana Jones), the hat arguably either makes an unforgettable first impression or a regrettable anecdote for someone’s cocktail conversations. While I do prefer classic styles, a panama hat isn’t in my repertoire because I lack the requisite confidence to wear one and this is key.
A hat has to be worn confidently. Anything less and the hat wears you, you end up looking like your choice of headgear has chosen to take a ride on you, so if you must wear a hat, don’t be timid about it, rock it. Things to consider: pick a hat which suits you – rule of thumb, big hats look better on big heads. The reverse is true – small hats, smaller heads. Your hat is meant to frame your face and draw attention to your eyes, if your hat sends attention to your ears instead, might want to re-think it. Also, not all hat styles will be suitable for you. Very few people in the world can rock a crown, if you must, at least marry into royalty first.
Fashion Takeaway 5: Some brands can REALLY do athleisure, case in point Z Zegna
Zegna’s Alessandro Sartori is a godly designer. In 2003, he became Creative Director of the newly created “Z Zegna” at Ermenegildo Zegna. By 2011 he was appointed as artistic director at Berluti where he choreographed not just the style but lifestyle of Berluti by having cocktails in posh urban apartments with a gathering with friends for a bout of midnight shoe-polishing using Dom Pérignon as the shining agent – it got everyone talking about how seriously people were treating Berluti. Then, in early 2016, Sartori resigned and returned to Zegna.
At Zegna, Sartori oversees all product lines and with that oversight, he has managed to build upon the brand’s heritage and provenance and parlayed it into something undeniably authentic beyond the shallowness of the current “athleisure” trend. This is athleisure for men, no yoga pants or denim joggers can be found here, instead Zegna’s reputation for true Italian tailoring joins the company’s history with supporting reggattas in Portofino for the better part of 40 years. Currently, Z Zegna sponsors the high tech Maserati Multi70 and this capsule collection makes one feel mightily nautical, and most importantly, unabashedly masculine. This is athleisure for classic gents.
Fashion Takeaway 6: (Screw memorial day) Wear white any time you want
A white suit isn’t a business suit but it is dressy. No, you’re not going to channel Colonel Sanders and if you don’t pop your shirt collars out like a man hooked on That 70s Show re-runs, no one is going to mistake you for Mr. Saturday Night Fever either. Dress it down, dress it insouciantly – that is to say messy and wrinkled; and you’d effortless channel a literary (think Tom Wolfe or Mark Twain), intellectual demeanor. Wear it with a v-neck tee for drinks on the beach or wear the blazer with dark denims for dinner – the white suit is the ultimate informal suit for formal occasions.
Bonus Fashion Takeaway: How the heck do I pull off Kenzo Spring Summer 2018 menswear?
When you wear to wear something stronger, be it patterns, textures or colour. The key is understanding “content ratios” – sure, dark chocolate ice-cream topped with dark chocolate flakes and chocolate sprinkles with a chocolate wafer might sound appetising but a few bites and you’d be ready to give up. Some garments look great individually, others look like overkill in tandem. You can add a fashionable edge to your ensemble without going over the edge and committing fashion suicide. I leave two Kenzo Spring Summer 2018 menswear looks here for you side by side to decide which outfit works better.
Spring Summer 2018 Menswear: About the featured brands we love
Prada menswear SS18
Comics featured prominently for Prada menswear SS18 thankfully Miuccia Prada didn’t forget to incorporate lots of classic menswear staples – topcoats and trousers in a collection of herringbone, camel and birds’ eye fabrics.
“Everything was a little bit too naive, too simple, so we thought these heavy coats would be the right counterpart. That is just fashion—because we love it.” – Prada to Vogue
Insouciance demonstrated, Prada menswear SS18 was an exhibition of mixed garments topped with cardigan, coats and shirts – layering was a key trend as was popped collars but I think only men named Eric Cantona should be allowed to use that sartorial signature with any regularity.
Dior Homme SS18
Boys reigned at Dior Homme but there was a certain prep appeal in some of the looks. As a journalist, one can appreciate the poetic muse of 70 years of Dior and a youthful collection to head line it. That said, it’s hard to re-invent the black suit with white shirt that Dior championed so early on in menswear. Kris Van Assche re-interpreted ottoman suits with a curved-in body-line while a reinvented tailcoat with panels looked visually arresting. While it remains to be seen how far those short shorts will be adopted, it’s a necessary reminder to all fitness fanatics out there that leg day should never be skipped.
Dolce & Gabbana menswear SS18
Domenico and Stefano cast a crew of second-generation famous, including Dylan Brosnan, Brandon Lee, Tyler Clinton (yes, related to those Clintons), Myles O’Neal, Roberto Rossellini and Tuki Brando (yes, a descendant of Marlon); throw in a couple of Stallones and you got an alchemic concoction of social media winning – Save for scattered crowns, an understandable accessory given the playing card King motif, Dolce & Gabbana menswear is something I rarely find fault with. Slim fits, well-cut tailoring, daring experimentation with double-breasted cropped bomber jackets in black or olive; Dolce & Gabbana menswear is cocktail ready (thanks to judicious use of shawl collars and jacquard textures) – it’s fashion ready for classic gents looking to walk a little on the wild side.
Kenzo menswear SS18
Suit jackets with stacked pockets – a distinctive play on the old school ticket pocket of classic Savile Row suiting and a return to high-waist belted pants which conjure the Mad-Men era of the 70s with 50s baseball uniforms, you get a wide breadth of looks to experiment with without leaving the threshold of classic men’s style you’re utterly familiar with.
Versace menswear SS18
Donatella Versace re-interpreted Gianni’s iconic chalk-stripe suits and short suits without turning Versace menswear spring summer 2018 into a retrospective for the brand.