Fall's fashion month was...interesting to say the least. Not only was the annual series of shows completely upended by COVID-19, designers were forced to figure out new ways to present their collections in a time of great uncertainty, while also lacking the typical structure that usually determines when, how and where a fashion presentation will be executed. Despite the upheaval, most major menswear brands managed to produce full collections for the Spring 2021 season and, surprisingly, many of them featured vibrant, exciting looks that were stark contrasts to the grim reality of the world's current state.
Our fashion editor, Aaron Campbell, dissected the Spring 2021 menswear collections; here are six standout trends to incorporate into your wardrobe next spring.
Suiting Takes 2020
For most of the second half of the last decade, streetwear dominated menswear runways. However, the tides have changed and Spring 2021 has cemented the return of tailored looks to the forefront of men’s fashion. While suits were a mainstay at most fashion presentations this season, most did not come in the traditional form from years past. In fact, it was clear that they were designed with a strikingly modern feel, reflecting the many societal shifts that have defined 2020. In tune with the fact that, due to the pandemic, many of their customers currently work from home and have limited opportunities to dress formally, many designers offered unstructured, relaxed takes on the classic menswear staple. Shorts also replaced the standard trouser in many of the season's suit looks, allowing opportunities to wear tailored pieces informally during daytime or outdoor events.
A trend that crossed-over from previous seasons is the man-bag. However, at this point I am not sure if we should continue to refer to man-bags as a trend, but rather as staples of menswear accessories, particularly as more and more brands produce unique versions of the once uncommon menswear item, and more and more men begin to incorporate them into their day-to-day wardrobes. Man-bags this season came in many different forms, from classic oversized duffels to utilitarian satchels. Crossbody bags also made a huge statement on runways, allowing men hands-free versions of the current “it” accessory.
One of the more interesting trends of Spring 2021 involved what can be described as proportion play. Designers took a lot of creative leeway this season, mixing pieces of contrasting size together in the same looks. A key component of some of these outfits was what could be described as the shirt-dress for men, button-down shirts, or tunics with lengths past the knee. They were mixed with blazers stopping right below the waist area, an unconventional pairing as blazers are usually designed to fall below the waist where shirts usually stop or are tucked-in. We also saw oversized tops such as parkas and different styles of jackets mixed with slimmer bottoms such as considerably short shorts during the presentations.
Every fashion month, one color (or color family) tends to be anointed the color of the season, and this season that color was undoubtedly PINK. Typically associated with womenswear, the unabashed use of pink in menswear shows speaks to the fluid nature of today’s fashion trends, as well as the evolution of menswear beyond stereotypically masculine forms of expression. While many shades were featured throughout the season, the shades that stood out were undoubtedly on the bolder side of the color family. Hot pink and raspberry tones made strong statements and came in the form of suits, sweaters, trousers, and outwear that will definitely be must-haves for spring and summer.
I feel like we talk about this every season, but monochromatic looks show no sign of going out of style any time soon and continue to be a chic, go-to palette for menswear designers. Aside from pinks, many monochromatic looks came in the form of whites and creams, as well as various shades of blue. The key to making this trend more interesting is to play with different textures. as well as proportions (as discussed above), throughout the outfit.
Prints on Prints
Prints are often a feature of spring fashion, but this time around designers went beyond adding a floral tie to a standard, navy suit. This season menswear presentation featured classic florals, colorful plaids, bold checks, and monograms galore, and thankfully outfits did not have a one print maximum and prints weren't relegated to just minor accessories. In fact models for a plethora of brands were covered in loud patterns from head-to-toe (or thigh in some cases). Many designers were also fearless in how they mixed prints, and unconventional pairings such as floral short sleeve shirts over monogrammed long-sleeve shirts, or a plaid jacket over wide-striped pants gave classic patterns more of an edge.