It wasn’t so long ago that men’s street style was pretty predictable. A hoodie here, some great suits at Pitti Uomo there, and maybe a few athletes or artists in the crowd. Now the scene outside men’s Fashion Week is just as compelling as ready-to-wear or couture, if not more so (you certainly see fewer Instagram stars in head-to-toe, probably-paid-for looks, though that could change). Not only were the streets more star-studded than ever—from NFL and NBA athletes to world-famous musicians—but this month in particular, there was a sense of harmony between what guys were wearing and what we saw on the runways. On both counts, suiting has gotten more relaxed and experimental; tunics and skirts were the week’s wild-card trend; and overall, guys are rethinking what it means to be masculine (or they’re just discarding that term altogether). They’re unafraid of color, they’re wearing jewelry, they’re showing some skin; Sarah Mower put it best in her distillation of the season: “Anything that circumnavigates, subverts, or outright opposes corporate white manhood is in. Men against the patriarchy. Designers against toxic manhood. Boys for joy. Everyone up in arms against fear.”
We’ve narrowed down the ways they’ve started doing that below, one chunky necklace and rainbow-striped sweater at a time. And for the women reading, know that these trends don’t just apply to men; for starters, the season’s big concepts about freedom and sensitivity are about as nonbinary as it gets, and when the Spring 2020 collections are in stores, you can bet on seeing lots of girls wearing them.
Subvert the Skirt
Think back just a few seasons, and the only guy wearing skirts at Fashion Week was probably Thom Browne. This month in Paris, Phil Oh photographed countless guys wearing them, from London designer Charles Jeffrey to NBA champion Serge Ibaka—someone who could change the culture’s perception of masculinity in a pretty major way. Given the extreme heat in Paris (temps were in the 90s), a skirt would certainly be a cooler choice than skinny trousers. For guys who aren’t quite ready to don a kilt, it’s worth noting that loose, wide-leg pants also made a comeback this month.
No Shirt, No Problem
At many of the season’s top runway shows—Rick Owens, JW Anderson, and Givenchy, to name a few—shirts suddenly became optional. Guys on the street were on the same wavelength, perhaps for practical reasons (i.e., that heat!) or maybe they anticipated the season’s freewheeling, gone-to-find-myself ’70s vibes. A few men layered their blazers over bare skin (à la Dries Van Noten), while others took a tip from Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent and wore silky shirts unbuttoned all the way to the navel.
Shorts Are Getting Shorter
It used to be that even on the most humid Paris day, you couldn’t get a men’s editor to show his knees. Now, shorts are acceptable at even the most luxe of fashion shows—and the guys who caught our attention didn’t just reveal their knees, but their upper thighs, too. Formerly something to be avoided at all costs, the short shorts we saw on the street were a playful, boyish counter to XL shirting and double-breasted blazers—often in the same material for a very un-corporate twist on the banker suit.
Men, Frost Yourselves!”
For women, jewelry has evolved from something you wear only for special occasions to everyday treasures that become part of your style. Guys are beginning to understand that now, too; this season they seemed to be fascinated with statement necklaces. Justin Boone wore his paint-splattered overalls with a tangle of chains; Colombian artist Maluma wore upwards of four diamond chokers (actual “frosting,” for those who understood the?How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days?reference above!); and we even saw a few dudes wearing strands of pearls.
Suits of Every Shade—Except for Black and Navy
Suiting in general is easing up, with most guys mixing their blazers with T-shirts—not button-downs—and swapping their loafers for sneakers or boots. Still, in a sea of black, navy, and brown suits, the tailoring that stood out most came in fresh colors. Several guys took Dries Van Noten’s Verner Panton–inspired jackets of Spring 2019 for a spin, while others clocked the pastel suiting at Louis Vuitton and Dior Men and wore shades of aquamarine and dusty lilac. There will be no shortage of options for women who want to wear a bold suit next spring, either; Hanne Gaby Odiele and Yoon both showed how it’s done.
Tie-Dye Takes Off
Tie-dye may have taken a back seat to paint splatters and acid wash on the runway, but the trend is just heating up on the street. We saw tie-dye on nearly every garment you can think of: Alton Mason wore neon-streaked jeans; Virgil Abloh opted for a dip-dyed leather shirt; and A$AP Rocky chose a swirling pastel knit. But the most compelling case may have been Dries Van Noten’s trippy T-shirts, seen on a few models leaving his show. Sure, a lot of the tie-dyed stuff out there could be just as easily DIY’d in your backyard, but Van Noten’s tees are so artful you’d be better off snagging one at Mr. Porter.
Graphic, Groovy, and Certainly Not Your Grandpa’s Sweaters
For men and women alike, sweaters have become a year-round necessity thanks to overzealous AC and global warming (but that’s a whole other story). So why wear a boring one? This season, guys traded their usual basic crews for hot pink turtlenecks, unraveling argyles, and rainbow-striped cardigans. If you still can’t get your head around a summer sweater, consider Dev Hynes’s Loewe knit:?It looked chunky, but actually had built-in breeze thanks to an open, loopy knit pattern.
The Utility Vest Is the New Fanny Pack
Who needs a bag when you’ve got enough pockets to stash your phone, invites, and a few granola bars? The fanny packs that have dominated menswear for years haven’t totally disappeared, but a lot of guys seem to prefer the hands-free ease of a utility vest or harness. They were trending in January, but it’s more of a surprise to see them layered on during a heat wave. Most guys opted for a plain T-shirt to beat the heat, but Russell Westbrook took it a step further by nixing a shirt altogether in a two-for-one trend moment.
Head-to-Toe White Is the Secret to Staying Cool
Most of us learned at a young age that dark clothing absorbs more sunlight and makes you feel warmer, whereas pale colors—or bright white—have the opposite effect. Whether or not science actually backs that up, we can’t argue with the ease and breeze of a head-to-toe white ensemble. It’s been women’s go-to summer look forever, and guys interpreted the trend in myriad ways this month: Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond wore a casual mix of track pants and an oversized T-shirt, while a few men at Pitti Uomo took a vaguely Mediterranean approach with rumpled linen button-downs and painted ivory jeans. Whether New Yorkers will get on board is another story; white jeans don’t exactly mix with subway platforms and park benches.