While fashion weeks tend to be a reasonably reliable indicator of the upcoming trends, this time around, there were distinctly divergent styles on the same ramp. On one hand, fashion seemed to slip into relaxation mode on the catwalks at the menswear shows. While on the other there was a massive amount of envelope pushing (if slightly head scratching) new interesting concepts that designers tempted men with. Here are a few new items and ideas that you may never have considered before, but you could consider adding to your wardrobe in 2014.
Mixed prints were everywhere – in polka dots, leopard prints, tie-dyes, reptilian shades and stripes (also color blocking) – lending a perfectly mismatched look to almost every show. The two prints that stood out the most were floral and camouflage.
FLORAL: It’s time to flower up boys, the dominant motif for the next year is tropical floral and I don’t mean your run-of-the-mill aloha Hawaiian shirts. I would go as far as calling floral the print of the season. Head-to-toe florals were big at Alexander McQueen, Comme Des Garçons and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Borrowing from the girls’ trend box, a bouquet of florals is waiting to bloom in your wardrobe next spring from the likes of Jonathan Saunders, Topman Design, J.W. Anderson, Raf Simmons.
Although, if Gucci's full-on print suit is not your style, you can always inject some of the pattern into your wardrobe with your summer swim shorts, a shirt or by getting your hands on one of Prada’s stand-out Hawaiian holdalls.
CAMOUFLAGE: You all have that one (or more) pair of army-print shorts or cargo trousers, don’t you? Good call. Camouflage is a trend that fashion just can’t make up its mind about. It’s either blacklisted as the ultimate faux-pas, or it’s the flavour of the month, and this time it appears to be the latter. The print made an appearance on the Valentino, Ami, Belstaff and Mark McNairy ramps, besides being the most popular print worn by most male attendees at the fashion weeks. The beauty of this trend is that you can either dip your toe in with a smattering of the pattern on a backpack, hat or t-shirt or completely immerse yourself in print
SOFT SUIT: Say good-bye to the stiff power suit. Slim suits are giving way to boxier jackets. The new tailoring emphasizes fluid lines, softer fabrics, longer jackets, and looser pants. Fifties American influences were all over the catwalks with loose-cut trousers hitting high on the waist and collars worn out over jackets. The Indian body types must be elated by the fact that slim cut, narrow suits are giving way to more relaxed formal dressing. This mid-century modern dressing style for men will prove to be a blessing during wedding season.
GO LONG: Eastern influences were apparent at almost every show; the most prominent one being the well-tailored tunic. After season-on-season of slim-fit shirting, runway designers rebelled. Loose-fitting tunics cropped up across the catwalks in an amazing variety of styles, from the nineties-leaning streetwear-referencing oversize tee of Raf Simons to Christophe Lemaire's Indian kurta. Admittedly not for every guy's wardrobe, daring dressers can decide whether to opt for a cool Asian-inspired cover up, worn over close-cut tailoring with a hint of hem sticking out from under the jacket, paired with shorts or to just wear a FabIndia kurta.
LONG SHORTS: Precariously poised between runway and reality, was the long, large-volume Bermuda shorts that swept runways from London to Milan to Paris, in collections ranging from Alexander McQueen to Jil Sander to Comme des Garçons. This silhouette which isn't all that different from a pair of basketball shorts may just be the most comfortable silhouette for men next year. Take full advantage!
SPORTY CHIC: Sportswear in a high-fashion forum is just too good to not do; we saw it in abundance at most of the mens shows. It translates well into everyday dressing, and it won’t cost a fortune to look the part. In fact, the more real your jersey, the more successful your look (yes girlfriends, his football jersey is fashionable now). Baseball and football jerseys were a big look throughout the fashion weeks with many a label attempting a witty spin on it. So, all you football (baseball, cricket, biking and so on) fans rejoice. Throw on an old jersey or baseball shirt, pair it with something luxe and get the nonchalant easy-chic look. Or, if you want to take the high-fashion route, the New Year offers a more refined approach for active wear, with sporty lightweight layers, luxe reinterpretations of athletic uniforms and a fusion of different materials. Hit up Alexander Wang, Salvatore Ferragamo, Christopher Kane, Bally to tick off all your sporty boxes.
ANKLES IN FOCUS: In the past, the male ankle area has been frequently overlooked and hugely under-appreciated, but the winds of fashion are changing. People are realizing the ankle territory offers a whole new world of sartorial opportunity. The height of the sneaker, the choice of sock, the length to which the hem of the trouser leg is rolled up, and the countless combinations that these variables offer have the makings of a trend that may prove to be a to be a popular street style look and a huge hit at laidback brunches.
The Colour Code
TRUE BLUE: Pantone declared this the colour of 2014. From baby to Yves Klein to navy, it will be blue, blue, blue. All the shows, from Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton and Balmain to Christian Dior and Kenzo had colours that spanned the entire blue spectrum.
GO GREY: White will be ubiquitous, as always. Move over beige and khaki, make room for grey—the new neutral. Runways saw the colour in varying shades, from concrete at the darkest to cement at the lightest (a shade darker than white). The colour was also seen on suits, shorts, shirts, sweaters, everywhere. Be prepared to see a whole lot more of it on the street next year.
PREFERABLY PINK: Boys, you can wear anything, as long as it's pink. Pink has been a highly debated colour by men, especially in India. Next year, pink is taking over and how! Don’t be surprised when you see the sheer variety of shades for the new season. Whether you’re more partial to the pastels or the highlighter pink at Paul Smith, prep your wardrobe with at least one shade of pink for 2014. Even in terms of accessories, rose gold emerged as one of the strongest men’s watch trends at Baselworld.
CLUTCH AND GO: Maybe Joey was way before his time carrying around a man bag, but you could be bang on trend today, with the clutch bag (okay, call it a mini portfolio if that's what you prefer). It needn’t be restricted to women’s fashion, because everybody should have the luxury of carrying their daily necessities in a handle-less pouch. This look has to be carried off with aplomb or you’ll be left looking like you’re carrying your girlfriend’s bag.
Other accessories to stock up on are bright trainers (the brighter the better), mirrored lens sunglasses and caps worn backwards.
Women, beware! With all this "borrowing from the boys" style with the brogues and oversized shirts of the past seasons, 2014 menswear transcends gender lines by incorporating cuts, patterns, and colours into the pieces that you will definitely want to steal.