As summer slams its door shut in our faces and brings about coldness and darkness once again, the implications for all matters sartorial is one of the few things to find solace in.
Layering addicts will, of course, get their annual fix of fabric, while for the rest of us there’s a buffet of new trends to get stuck into that spans way beyond the stingier package that summer dressing stumps up.
With the help of some of the industry’s most eagle-eyed professionals, we’ve rounded up the autumn-winter trends that are sticking their heads above the parapet to become the talked about moves in menswear.
Few can resist it when fashion and function conspire to make pieces that both look and feel great. That’s precisely why technical apparel has its robustly practical claws dug deep into men’s wardrobes this season. In practice, this means plenty of non-naff anoraks (seriously, it’s possible), heavy-duty hiking boots, and bags that wisely take a hands-free approach.
“For AW18 we’ve seen a smarter take on the usual outdoor casual trend, with high-end brands such as Louis Vuitton, Etudes and White Mountaineering having all touched on hiking chic this season,” says ASOS head of menswear design, James Lawrence. “The chunky trainer is of course still present, but it’s worn with wide-leg formal trousers in checks and stripes.”
To bring hiking gear down off the mountain in a more subtle way, look to key materials when you’re rambling through rails. “Technical outerwear has been revitalised through the use of coated wools, and technical trims are even making cargo trousers relevant again,” adds Lawrence. Carrying a water bottle on a carabiner clip isn’t strictly necessary, though.
The Return of Nineties Sportswear
The nineties are back so often that it’s possible to argue we’ve been living in a permanent state of nostalgia since the decade ended. But for this season, the era of Pokémon and Crystal Pepsi isn’t just ‘referenced’, it’s finally morphed into something that feels genuinely fresh.
“Brands we’d all forgotten about for years have suddenly sprung back onto the catwalks and are being closely followed by the high street,” says Sarah Gilfillan, owner of men’s personal style consultancy Sartoria Lab. “Retro sportswear is popping up everywhere – Champion is opening stores, Topman is stocking Diadora and Kappa, Urban Outfitters has Fila and Ellesse. It’s unavoidable.”
The aim isn’t to appear as though you haven’t updated your wardrobe in 20 years, so modernise the look with touches that deliberately clash. “My favourite way to update nineties classics is to go oversized and wear them with tailoring,” says Gilfillan. “For example, a sweatshirt with cropped, slim-cut tailored trousers and dad trainers; a hoodie worn underneath an overcoat, or a zip track jacket with pleated trousers.”
The Rise of The Scumbro
Fashion’s portmanteau factory dribbled out its latest hybrid during summer: ‘scumbro’, a moniker born out of a need to describe the dress sense of Justin Bieber, Pete Davidson and Jonah Hill.
In a nutshell, scumbro is autumn-winter’s most unkempt new style tribe. “Think of scumbro as the opposite of dad dressing,” says Lawrence. “It’s an adult dressing like he’s a young skater kid with cash. It’s mixing labels such as Balenciaga with Supreme and Palace, and accessorising with outdoor brands like Patagonia.”
Trying to grasp the science of scumbro is like trying to nail jelly to a wall, mainly because there isn’t any. “Over the years we’ve seen fashion styling becoming more eclectic and with no sense of logic,” adds Lawrence. Which is code for – chuck a few things together (including but not limited to tie-dye, sliders, oversized sportswear and designer tees), name-check a few hot brands and remember, the more thoughtless your outfit looks, the closer you probably are to the scumbro deities.
Shades Of Brown
If last year’s 70s trend sounded unappealing on paper, then the idea of a trend that revolves completely around the decade’s shade du jour probably seems like more of the same, only stripped of all that kitsch fun. Though, defying all expectations, this season’s brown isn’t dull as dishwater, it’s a strikingly sophisticated alternative to staple hues.
“Brown may not be as sexy as navy or grey, but it’s a neutral tone that offers up a much broader spectrum that ranges from coffee and camel through to tan, chestnut and mahogany,” says Matchesfashion.com senior style editor Chris Hobbs.
The colour’s dodgy past needn’t count against it either. In fact, brown can turn its hand to contemporary cool and needn’t smack of prawn cocktails or pornstar moustache styles. This season look for overcoats or corduroy jackets, brown tailoring or caramel knitwear. “To pull brown off, I’d style some checked [brown] trousers with a cream sweater and trainers,” adds Hobbs.
Classic tailoring has been under siege for some time now, with sportswear aggressively changing the field of play in menswear. That’s not to say the suit is six feet under, mind. For AW18, all eyes are on the Italians for their sprezzatura stylings.
Whereas the traditional Anglo-American approach to tailoring is a stickler for rules, order and method, the Neapolitan take on suits is less stuffy, relying on experimentation and a dollop of good luck. “Not only does the word roll off the tongue wonderfully, it also helps to focus the mind,” says model and designer Richard Biedul. “Sprezzatura means many things to many people, but to most it is the art of studied carelessness: taking all the care in the world to perfect something that is, well, imperfect.”
To channel your inner Pitti peacock, say goodbye matchy-matchy pocket squares and ties, and hello to more chilled out companions. “To master this art, invest in suit separates, relaxed Oxford shirts, an assortment of silk neck scarves and voluminous overcoats. You want layer upon layer of loose-fitting fabric, never perfectly adorned but always perfectly considered,” says Biedul. Capiche?