With the fashion world’s relentless habit of ushering in new phases just as it unceremoniously dumps others, keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in menswear can be a time-consuming pursuit at the best of times. Fortunately, that’s exactly what we’re here for.
It’s not getting easier to discern between a passing fad and a trend that’s more likely to gain traction, so we’re going to talk through some of the trends that recent fashion shows have adhered to in recent months as an indicator of what 2021 will bring. A combination of innovation and our ever-shifting sartorial tastes mean that these are just some of the trends you can expect to see both on the catwalk and the high street this year.
Humanity’s rugged relationship with the high seas has often been a source of sartorial inspiration. You only need to think of chunky turtleneck sweaters and flowing peacoats for evidence of that, as recently styled by Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse.
But nautical chic is inching further into the spotlight with the increasing ubiquity of Breton tops, fisherman beanies, and dockers’ overalls. Nautical-inspired notes also appeared at a number of spring/summer 2021 fashion shows, such as Gucci’s anchor-covered sweaters, Dolce & Gabbana’s exaggerated Breton tops, and Casablanca’s sailor sweaters.
While our relationship with the sea has arguably informed our fashion for centuries, the nautical trend is a subset of high fashion’s developing flirtation with the great outdoors in general over the past few years. Fashion houses have recently shifted their focus from the trail, through partnerships with the North Face and Arc’teryx, and taken a more maritime view for this year.
Pastel and neon
However, fashion houses seem to have disregarded this, making a play for pastels and neon. When it comes to colours, we and houses including Gucci and Zegna, like to keep an eye on what the Pantone Color Institute has declared its colour of the year. This year, it’s actually gone for two colours – Illuminating Yellow, and Ultimate Gray.
Such hues are no problem for those fashion giants. These two opted for a bright candyfloss hue to their two-piece pastel suits, which will work perfectly for spring and summer, while Prada promises preppy separates for a perfect working from home aesthetic.
Meanwhile, designers such as Dior, Issey Miyake and Hermès have been inspired rather than flummoxed by how tricky it is to pull off neon, making the bold but ultimately successful decision to team fluorescence with more muted colours at Paris. It’s extremely easy to get neon wrong, but extra impressive to get it right – which is what a lot of designers seem to have done.
Bermuda shorts are a subset of a general shift away from form-hugging attire, towards breezier, more billowy fare. We’re seeing it with suits that hearken back to the oversized style of the 80s and 90s, and we’re also set to see it on the beach, courtesy of Zegna, Casablanca and Dolce & Gabbana among others.
The trick seems to be getting a pair in a soft colour tone that finishes just enough the knee, and pair it with a strong set of footwear, such as white running sneakers and tube socks. Alternatively, opt for a tailored style that you can pair with either casual or smarter pieces comfortably.