Like grimacing through rain-soaked barbecues and festivals, Breton stripes are a summer institution. But since they’ve also been hijacked by everyone from school-run mums to cocky club promoters, you could hardly call them groundbreaking.
The solution: turn them 90 degrees. The vertical stripe is officially menswear’s new go-to pattern. Seen on everything from bombers to field jackets at the global fashion weeks, there’s no denying that it was one seriously stripey season. In real life, you’re aiming for Armie Hammer’s effortless Call My By Your Name wardrobe – but take it too far and you’re one half of Bananas In Pyjamas.
Picture this: it’s the nineties, jeans are the ‘smart’ option, and there are more side-stripe trackies walking the streets than people. Now rub your eyes, because hey, it’s 2018 and the side-stripe revival is real.
The proof that side-stripe trousers are no longer unacceptable for grown-ups was the fact that luxury designers went absolutely mad for them this season. There were skinny versions at Balmain, Prada showed them coordinating tops, while Valentino went straight-up retro sportswear. Basically, if you haven’t got lines down your legs for SS18, you’re not doing menswear right.
Side-stripe trousers have come at a pretty good time, with ‘athleisure’ in danger of becoming about as much fun as marathon training. Get a pair of stripes on your pins though and you’ll find the trend can go another mile or two.
The key to making side stripes work without looking like Sporty Spice is balance. Yes, you can wear trainers with them, but you’ll need to add a smart knit or a slim-fit shirt to stop the ‘I socialise at bus stops’ vibes.
The winds of change have blown for SS18 and what’s deemed hot property in men’s outerwear has done a complete 180. Yes, that silky-soft suede bomber you bought last year is still unbelievably attractive, but if you really want to flex your menswear muscle then a technical jacket (read: anorak or windbreaker) is your safest bet.
Before you groan, we’re not talking dishwater dull mountain trekking gear. The technical jackets you’re about to see land in the shops have kept their weather-fighting superpowers but are now designed in a way which won’t send you to sleep. They come colour-blocked, in pastels or dark and moody shades. The fact that a big chunk of them would look out of place on a ramble is proof of just how much of a menswear makeover technical jackets have undergone.
Menswear likes extremes. So, just when it looked like circulation-restricting spray-on jeans were never going to die, SS18 gifted us with leg-friendly dad denim. Think loose fit, light wash, unfussy and straight up and down. Like a more stylish, dialled-down version of the normcore trend, dad denim unites baby boomers and millennials through a love of unfussy comfort (just don’t mention the housing market).
Irony addicts Vetements almost single-handedly kicked off the whole dad denim revival, and we couldn’t be happier. It’s comfortable, doesn’t make you look like you’re trying too hard and gives legs everywhere the breathing space they’ve been so desperately craving for the past decade or so. Plus, Simon Cowell has been vindicated: he knew all along that going loose on the legs would eventually cycle back around.