We shouldn’t really say this, but fashion trends can be a waste of energy. For every welcome gear change in our wardrobes, there are other trends that are fleeting and unflattering, unsustainable for both the wallet and the planet.
Others, of course, are certifiably crazy. In most cases, the trends to skip are those at the sharp end of menswear: the most extreme looks, fresh off the catwalk. Capital-F fashion rarely looks as good on the street as on the runway, and even more wearable trends don’t suit everyone.
To be clear: we’re a style site, we’re not anti-trend. If you have the skill and confidence to integrate the most directional menswear into your look, good for you. But most men can’t do the western thing without looking like a line dancer. Or warcore without looking like they’re going paintballing.
And this season, most of us are best-advised to pass on the seven trends below. Our editors have highlighted the most challenging, most voguish, most… Actually, let’s just say what we mean: these are the worst trends for spring and summer, along with what you should wear instead.
Tailoring worn bare chested may just be the most oxymoronic trend out there. The suit (which prides itself on its reverence for tradition and ability to cover the whole body) is being worn sans shirt, leaving more flesh on show than is either decent or practical.
This isn’t hyperbole either. Dior, Hermes, Etro, Ermenegildo Zegna and Dries Van Noten all showed suits without shirts for SS19 while Childish Gambino turned out to be the brave soul opting to wear the look IRL. In fairness, he just about pulled it off, but the rest of the male population of planet earth don’t have the luxury of being Childish Gambino, so the louche essence of this trend needs serious reappraisal to make it more wearable.
– Luke Sampson, associate editor
What To Wear Instead
Essentially, the bare chested suit is just an extreme way to subtract the stuffiness from tailoring. You can do that with a simple crew-neck T-shirt. Or, to channel this spirit of this trend without inviting derision or an over-exposed top half by aiming for a halfway house. Try a Cuban collar shirt or an open collar polo shirt which will show a small amount of skin and de-formalise the suit without taking things too far.
Listening to Pink Floyd, speaking to imaginary people, licking things – there are certain activities in life that are best enjoyed on drugs. Wearing tie-dye is another. Not that we endorse illegal substances. The point is that when you look at pieces like the Cuban collar shirt, pleated trousers and corduroy, it’s easy to romanticise the style of past decades, but in this case, psychedelic swirls belong in, and only in, the Summer Of Love.
Sure, scumbro — with the backing of Saint Laurent and Burberry — may have made the case for totally rad patterns to return. But other than on the backs of Jonah Hill, Pete Davidson or Justin Bieber (and even then) is this part of the hippy movement one we really want to dig up from the fields of Woodstock? To paraphrase the late First Lady Nancy Regan, “When it comes to tie-dye, just say no.”
– Luke Todd, deputy editor
What To Wear Instead
There are a few things the Age of Aquarius got right: chiefly cannabis oil, yoga and wide-leg trousers. Admittedly, they were on to something with bold patterns, too. You only need to leaf (not that kind) through recent seasons short sleeve printed shirts to see that. However, rather than staging a Grateful Dead tribute in your wardrobe, we’d be Dead Grateful if you kept it to Hawaiian, floral and stripe designs.
Few trends bring out the curmudgeon in me like luxury brands asking £600 for a pair of sneakers deliberately made to look like they’ve seen five years’ hard wear. Gucci, Golden Goose and Balenciaga have all done it in recent years and the trend seems to be peaking this summer. The defence is that they’re ironically paying homage to style tribes – grunge, skatewear – that wear their sneakers into the ground. Critics, on the other hand, accuse them of fetishizing poverty.
Wherever you sit on the argument, the aesthetic looks like this: brand new trainers that come out of the box with ‘dirty’ marks on them, torn stitching and, in one or two cases, what looks like tape holding the upper to the midsole. If you’re into irony-drenched fashion statements, fine. But I can get the same look with a battered pair of Chuck Taylors that cost me £40 eight years ago.
– Ian Taylor, editor-in-chief
What To Wear Instead
Aside from your own knackered sneakers, look for styles that wear in well and look even better when they’ve been around the block a few times. Retro running shoes or skate styles are perfect: think muted colours that will age well and suede panels that still look good when they’ve been roughed up.
The runway has long been a window into the more exaggerated aspects of menswear, and it doesn’t get more ‘out there’ than some of the criminally short shorts that have run down recent ways. Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton have all been touting styles that sit high on your thighs and, well, if you’ve got the bronzed, toned, hairless limbs of a Victoria’s Secret model, all the power to you.
Unfortunately, most male legs are hairy fiends and are hardly the most alluring features in our arsenal of body parts. Also, short shorts might look debonair on the beach but can make for rather inappropriate and unfortunate office wear. Do you want Judith from HR knocking on your office door again?
– Richard Jones, staff writer
What To Wear Instead
Seven inches and over is the short industry standard but these crotch skimmers have been creeping well below five. Keeping it close to seven will give the illusion of a shorter cut, without the risk of any style, and *ahem* other slips. For taller gentleman just use the middle of your thighs as a general yardstick. Anything grazing or dropping below your knees is far too lengthy and can shorten your appearance. Oh, and one last thing – don’t skip leg day.
We often bang on about how you should invest in a wardrobe of wearable, versatile colours (navy, greys and neutrals). So it jars with us slightly that one of the biggest trends of SS19 is neon. That’s right, the fluorescent shades that once lit up rave dancefloors in the ‘90s are now in fashion.
Virgil Abloh’s fabled first collection for Louis Vuitton featured it in the form of wearable luggage, gloves, vests and more subtly, shoe laces. Versace went big on neon with cross body bags, trainers and even a bright green suit. This is all well and good, but the trouble with neon is that it just looks novelty and frankly, cheap.
– Charlie Thomas, senior editor