Everyone knows that trends come and go, that today’s must-have might end up being chucked in a bin come September, but like a rolling stone gathering last seasons moss, sometimes bad fashion spreads like an epidemic.
It’s said that men are less trend-led than women, that we move at a steadier pace. But some of the latest trends are beginning to get a little out of hand, and as a result menswear’s good name could be tarnished forever.
Here are the trends we’ve seen which are beginning to raise alarm already in 2014.
1 | The No-Exercise Trainers
There’s nothing wrong with the boom in stylish exercise gear, especially if they’re designed to improve your pigeon-toed run. But in much the same way we happily derided people wearing jogging bottoms to go food shopping, people wearing their super-knit optimized running gear when they plan on doing no exercise whatsoever is beginning to wear a little thin.
Frequenting bars, pubs or social events wearing your running trainers is a big no. It’s beyond smug. It communicates a basic commitment to fitness while also completely taking fitness out of context. Last Saturday afternoon I saw a couple, both resplendent in their spotless running trainers, drinking a bottle of red wine and quacking on about how they enjoy the super-foam cushioning and understated arch support.
In short: keep the running shoes for running.
2 | The Man Bun
The hairstyle normally reserved for samurai warriors and ballet dancers has made a quite an impact lately thanks to endorsements from Jared Leto, Joaquin Phoenix and Colin Farrell. It’s kind of messy, kind of androgynous and has a whiff of ‘not-even-trying’ about it – perfect for the man who hates to look over-preened or too try-hard.
But like any style that favours a disheveled, greasy aesthetic, part of the problem with the man bun is that if you get it right, you look like you just crawled out of a bin, but if you get it wrong, you also look like you just crawled out of a bin. Do you want to look like you just crawled out of a bin? No. So let’s all agree that if your hair is so long that you’re wrapping an elastic band around it and balancing it on top of your head, it’s time for a trim.
3 | The Classic Fit Shirt, AKA The UnFitted Shirt
Anyone with an ounce of sartorial smarts knows that fit is key. An expensive item of clothing isn’t going to look right if it’s not the right fit for your body, and buying on a budget is perfectly fine if you get the fit nailed down. But there’s an overlarge, boxy usurper trying to change all this. Oversized clothes – items that are designed to look looser and comfier – are beginning to pop up all over the place.
Broader shoulders, lacking that slight nip in the sides, whether they’re shirts, jumpers or t-shirts, they lend a kind of shruggy air to your look.Maybe it’s big brands trying to emulate the shabbiness of vintage stores and second-hand finds; there’s something distinctly indistinct about these bigger, roomier clothes – they’re not quite right, which is, apparently, the point. But ‘not caring about the finer things’ has replaced ‘caring about the finer things’, and there’s something deeply troubling about that.
4 | Kigus: Man’s Descent Into Toddlerdom
If you don’t know what a kigu is, then consider yourself better off for being uninformed, but for those thirsty for knowledge, the kigu is the close cousin of the onesie, a product that seemingly rose from the discussion ‘I wonder if we can successfully market romper suits to adults?’
Where they differ, though, is that the kigu is an animal-themed onesie; think protruding ears, a tail, wings, horns, anything that takes it from all in one loungewear to something offering a profound, depressing insight into the psyche of fully grown adults. Worn indoors, with the curtains drawn, you might be able to get away with it. And the solidarity in looking ridiculous together means this kind of clothing is fine if you’re going on a stag do or plan on being one of those colourful looking types come festival season. For everything else, put some damn clothes on.
(Full disclosure: this writer is in possession of a dinosaur onesie which suited the needs of a fancy dress party in 2012. It has been locked in a suitcase since)
5 | Really, Really Short Shorts
One day, not long ago, men started to realise that having shorts that skimmed the ankle bone was perhaps making the essential summer item something of an oxymoron. After that, shorts started looking neater and more tailored and, as a result, so did the men squeezing their thighs into them.
But fashion likes to go to extremes, and this year shorts are riding so far north of the knee it’s beginning to make us feel a little uncomfortable. There’s barely been a week of sunshine in 2014 so far but the amount of men happy to flash their pale, hair-flecked pins is reaching saturation point. If in doubt, try to go for a short that falls just above your kneecap. And if your balls feel a little breezy, you’ve gone too far.