BY BEN DINSDALE

 

Fashion Week can seem a little weird. Watching models go down the runway in an outfit that only Rihanna, ASAP, or David Bowie could pull off can make them seem unapproachable to most, but there are two main things that I keep in mind that make flipping through a magazine featuring Parisian runways a little more understandable.

The first is that the outfits and designs are not necessarily meant to be literal. They are art; an expression of the designer’s abilities, emotions, and understanding of trends. Sure, Rihanna will wear what appears to be the most ridiculous outfit from the entire week and somehow slay, but for the rest of us, the looks don’t have to become your go-to Monday morning choice.

The second, and key feature if you are looking at a fashion week as inspiration for what kinds of clothes you’ll be buying, is that fashion weeks demonstrate trends. They set what is going to be “in” for that season, and if the outfits the designers create are a 10 out of 10 on the trend scale, they can help you pick out items that make you feel comfortable around a 5.

With that in mind, a lot of guys aren’t going to look through those magazines. So, what will they miss? What do you need to know about men’s fashion for this summer? Well, there are some awesome trends that are going to take over patios and boardwalks this summer, while the darkest days in men’s fashion are simultaneously rearing their tacky, ill-fitting heads. Because of this, I’m going to follow a red, yellow, and green light system. If a trend is green, go for it. Rock it. It’s going to be the staple of our summer look and you’ll probably be able to pull it off. If it’s yellow, maybe grab something off the shelf, but take some time and make sure you’re outfit really looks good. If it’s red, burn it.

Tropical Print Shirts: Green Light

From left to right: Zara, Blogger Image, Simons

Ok, so maybe it’s because I’ve been watching too much Queer Eye and Tan has drilled his way into my head, but I am 100% on board for this look. The great thing about this style is that you can tailor it to your personal aesthetic. If you tend to hold back more, grab something a with a less flashy pattern and a simple navy or black base and you’ll look ready to be sitting on a sunlit patio. If you are more out there in your style, go crazy.

Short Suits: Red Light

From left to right: Ali Express, J Crew, Pinterest

I don’t necessarily hate this style. I think in some cases it can look good (e.g. Pharrell), but generally this look is hard to pull off, and if you’re buying a new suit, you should focus on matching your jacket to the pants first. You could take away from this trend that throwing a blazer over a dress shirt and a nice pair of shorts isn’t a bad approach if you’re attending a more casual outdoor event this summer, but unless you live on a yacht, I would stick with the standard suit combination.

Tonal Outfits: Yellow Light

From left to right: Urban Outfitters, BestSeller, Pinterest

I’m a big fan of this look but it has to be done well. If you throw on a pair of shorts and a shirt that are the exact same colour, it may not work. Best way to kill this look is to add a sweater that is slightly darker or lighter than the base of the outfit. The key is to get a little separation between the matching colours.

Super Oversized Suits and Pants: Red Light

From left to right: GQ, Huffington Post, Pinterest

JUST NO. Pick your favourite good-looking male celebrity who is now in there 40s or 50s. Google what they look like in one of these suits. Guess what? It does not look good. Please, don’t look like you said how much fabric can I put on before I begin to literally swim in my jacket? No. For me. Please. Just don’t.

Vertical Stripes: Green Light

From left to right: Pinterest, KCCE, Pinterest

Vertical stripes are a great way to subtly stand out in a crowd. They’re not going to immediately jump out like a tropical print will, but they’re a fun look that will change things up a bit and let everyone know that you follow the trends and know what you’re doing.

Looser Fitting Jeans: Yellow Light

From left to right: River Island, Just Jeans, Pinterest

I want to clarify we are not going back to the early 2000s JT look. That, like oversized suits, should be forced to die, but more of a straight leg look from hip to heel and can be really nice. It’s more relaxed and looks great if your style tends to go that way.

Side-Stripe Pants: Green Light

From left to right: Koovs, DHGate, ScotchCreekFarm

My personal style is not athleisure, but if that’s your look, a jogger, or pair of track pants with a side stripe is a great addition. It adds pop, allows you more opportunities to coordinate the colours of your shirts or shoes with the stripe, and keeps you fresh. This trend has also caught on in jeans (finally catching on from trends in women’s style), so don’t be afraid of denim that has a different wash or splash of colour down the side.

As always, the key with any look is to feel confident in what you’re wearing. Find something from this season’s trends that stands out to you, and rock you best patio look this summer.

 

Make sure to check back on a bi-weekly basis for more of Ben’s fashion advice.