The cycles of high fashion can sometimes escape Singaporean men. Spring/Summer collections certainly make more sense to inhabitants of a perpetually hot and humid island; the most stylish of men, however, also keep an eye on Fall/Winter collections for inspiration. You may not need that fur car coat, but wearing some tiger stripes this season will make you look like a fashion insider. Sparing you the trouble of reviewing what appeared on the runways earlier this year, here’s a spiffy curation of ideas for the Fall menswear trends of 2018.
The lowdown: designers were partial to Nature as a source of inspiration. Gone also is the formality that often comes to mind in the cooler seasons. Fall 2018 is more relaxed, more comfortable – both in terms of form, style, and color. Not sloppy or wild, though: “sophisticated eccentricity”, as Bottega Veneta calls it, is quite the perfect encapsulation.
Trousers are fitted but not starchy, shoulders are shaped but not stiff. Colors are bright and prints are assertive, sometimes loud, but never cacophonous or blinding. Bottega Veneta cast tiger stripes against ochre and canary yellow on sharp button-downs and mock-corduroy pants, matched with sand tone and ripe orange leather jackets with tiger-striped shearling collars. The collection is awash with color, but olive green, cerulean, and cranberry red feature prominently, especially on pajama silk pants that flow like the bottoms of a coach tracksuit. Saint Laurent’s new “Jay” sneakers feature leather patchworks in rich shades of red and green, reminiscent of vintage Italian sporting goods, while backpacks in animal prints remain a staple.
On the other end of the spectrum is a moody Burberry, which added a dark military khaki and a mid-grey to its classic honey and black palette for their men’s Heritage Trench Coats, while slacking the shoulders on the Chelsea for a rounded look, and employing a tumbled “tropical Gabardine” on the relaxed-fit Westminster for greater comfort and fluidity. Following this more muted palette is Ermenegildo Zegna, though their collection is far from contemplative. Instead, it smacked of a modern man’s ski wardrobe; thick-soled shoes with straps, close but comfortably cut dress pants, coats and jackets of varying weights from business chic to high-altitude insulation.
Suiting, which is the only style of clothing appropriate to tropical Singapore, comes softly constructed, hanging long and casually off the shoulders with single buttons or strap closures for the jackets. Even with “XXX” as a recurring motif for individualism and self-expression, appearing variously as singular icons or sprawling abstract matrices, the colors chosen were harmonious; deep blues and mild purples, grey, and a rich persimmon orange.
Bold checks are also a big feature this season, appearing unsurprisingly inside Burberry’s trench coats, but also on everything from shirts and blazers to peacoats and shearling jackets by Bottega Veneta. The colors are tame, except a saturated purple-and-orange combination. Ermenegildo Zegna favored overall graph paper checking, which belied the woolly texture of skinny-cut mohair suits that seemed the perfect things to keep one stylishly warm in a Swiss mountaintop chalet.
Novelty in footwear continues to depend heavily on exaggeration – Ermenegildo Zegna outfitted its models with thick, somewhat ballooning soles that lay beneath all styles of classic footwear, whether it be zip-up Chelsea boots, hiking boots, or trainers. Other brands have kept to what they know; Saint Laurent with Italian-style thin-profile sneakers, lace-up vintage hi-tops, and signature heeled leather boots, and Bottega Veneta with driving shoes in funky, electric shades of seafoam green, mustard yellow, royal purple, and burnt orange.
So, how should you, in Singapore, take advantage of this season’s trends?
First of all, be bold with your colors – and it doesn’t mean picking only from the neon spectrum. Find inspiration from Nature, then amp up the shade. Your blues should be navy, your greens olive or hunter green, your reds saturated enough to stop traffic. For patterning, choose between checks and animal prints (particularly tiger stripes for a more masculine look). They can feature on any item of clothing, whether it be on a lightweight jacket, or for the more daring, all over your pants.
While a slim-fit suit may make you look smart, it’ll take more than that to look stylish this season. Lean towards a more relaxed fit – keep your trousers close-fitting, but let your top flow. The key to looking stylishly relaxed but not sloppy is this: there must always be a focal point. The shoulders could be fitting, while the rest of the shirt or jacket could be baggier. The sleeves could be close-cut, but the hem can be elongated. Similarly for bottoms: a tight fit from waist to knees, the rest flowing. Tuck your shirt in, sure, but consider going sans belt. Throw on a light, shirt-weight jacket with a billowing hem, and a pair of driving shoes.
Here’s another idea. Swap one piece of your outfit with something sporty and unexpected. Why not pair dark green dress pants with a pair of trainers with oversized soles? It looks cool nowadays, and it will make you taller too. It’ll also add a sense of individuality, a hint of quirkiness to your outfit. Remember – as with all seasons of fashion, but especially this season – it’s about asserting your identity, wearing what’s you, and not letting the clothes wear you.