Trends We Hope Die in 2014
January 2nd, 2014
With all this recapping of the past year and planning for what’s to come in 2014, we’ve been doing a lot of talking about the state of menswear and the effects (good and bad) that the internet has had on real guys’ style.
As usual, I have some things on my chest that I’d love to air out (2014 is the year that we don’t hold back) so I figured I’d start with a short list of “trends” that I hope die in 2014.
First, let’s start with a quick discussion about the cyclical nature of fashion and why trends exist in the first place. It all starts with a small group of influencers, let’s call them the “cool kids”. What makes them the “cool kids” is their unique combination of individuality (they have a strong sense of self), confidence (they’re not afraid to stand-out or be seen as “different”) and good taste (they genuinely have a feel for what’s attractive/intriguing/relevant to those around them).
So these “cool kids” (who in many cases are literally young kids in urban creative places like NYC that are being closely observed by trend spotters, designers, artists, etc) start to adopt a new style. They rock it hard, and they rock it well. Soon their new style is being copied. Friends are doing it. Friends of friends are doing it. Eventually corporations (like fashion houses and hollywood-driven media) catch on and before long lots of people are doing it.
The first problem is, the whole reason the style was “cool” in the first place is because it was different and unique. The more people do it, the less cool it becomes. It’s a perfect inverse relationship.
The second problem is, it’s like a giant game of copy cat telephone: as the message (or style, in this case) gets passed on and on and on, it isn’t fully understood and slowly gets morphed into something different. The 1,000th guy to hear the message (or adopt the style) has completely missed the context and subtleties that are necessary to understand why it was a good idea in the first place. Therefore he’s botching the concept and doing it all wrong.
At this point the “cool kids” are over it. Way too many people are doing it now and everybody’s got it all f-cked up. The style has completely lost its appeal, which was to showcase individuality and good taste. So, as is their nature, the “cool kids” re-invent themselves in a different direction – quite possibly the opposite direction of where they sent everyone in the first place.
This, in a nutshell, is why fashion is, and always will be, a cyclical industry and why we will never be able to completely avoid trends.
Moving on, here I put together a short list of recent men’s style trends that started small but have grown too large for their own good. If you can think of any other trends that should be on this death list, please join the conversation via the comments section! We’d love to hear from you.
So without further ado…Dear 2014, please bring us the end of:
Lapel Flowers (and all other lapels ornaments)
These things have been blossoming everywhere, including in the lapels of some very mediocre dressers. I was watching NBA hoops the other day and all five of the gentleman on the TNT halftime show were wearing lapel flowers. ALL FIVE. That includes Charles Barkley. The lapel flower has somehow become the “Look I’m Stylish!!” stamp for the guy who hasn’t studied the art of actually dressing well. Sure, if you’re a style superstar and the rest of your look is on point, it can sometimes be a nice addition. But 99% of the time it just looks corny, especially on a bad suit and/or in combination with a loud pocket square. Just avoid wearing fake flowers or any other kind of silly attention-grabbing ornament in your boutonniere hole (unless, of course, the occasion calls for an actual boutonniere).
Overly Stylized Athletes
I am absolutely thrilled that athletes have been embracing style and fashion. It’s two of my favorite things coming together, and it’s proven to be mutually beneficial for both industries. My problem is with the personal stylists who continually insist on forcing these big bodies into garments that they are not accustomed to, or that don’t fit with the image/personality of the player. The goal of personal styling is to enhance the character of the client, not to create a whole new character who is noticeably uncomfortable in his own skin (and getting openly laughed at as a certified “fashion victim”). These guys are professional athletes, they should look strong, masculine and confident. Too often they end up looking like professional guinea pigs for all the latest trends.
Colored Shoe Laces
These will instantly make your shoes look cheaper and you look cheesier.
Floral Dress Shirts
The right shirt (and there aren’t many) for the right casual outfit, sure. But you know it’s gone too far when guys start pairing colorful floral shirts with pinstripe suits and power ties for the office. 2014 is a time to man up.
Are we still doing this? Get off the bandwagon and stop the madness.
Colorful Reflective Lenses
In my opinion, these don’t flatter anybody. They draw attention in a startling way and are very distracting to your look as a whole. Not to mention; have you ever tried to have a conversation with a person who’s wearing these? Eek.
Worthless “Design Collaborations”
When two random people with mediocre tastes come together to “design” something the outcome is usually an equally mediocre product that nobody cares about. Last year I read about countless celebs, bloggers, rappers, etc. coming out with bullshit that nobody wants. It’s strictly a PR stunt that makes nobody any money and brings nobody any happiness. All it does is flood the market and confuse consumers. Designers are trained professionals, let’s not insult them.
Unless you’re hunting animals, or people.
The sockless trend has gotten a little crazy, too. If it’s hot and your wearing loafers or slip-ons, sure. I hardly wear socks between April-September. But if it’s cold enough for heavy winter fabrics and/or you’re wearing lace-up oxfords, it just looks affected.
I know, we’ve done the scruffy beard thing on Articles of Style plenty, but most of the time it’s groomed and kept (somewhat) under control. Beards have really caught on and I see so many guys now just letting it all go haywire. I understand it’s an act of rebellion but all I can think is “Damn, you would look so much better if you shaped that a little”.
Dressed-Up Cargo Pants
The cargo pant needs a break. There will always be a time and place for cargos, mainly casual occasions where you might logically need extra storage. But guys on the street keep wearing them with tailored jackets, dress shirts, ties and oxfords. The “cool factor” is wearing thin very quickly.
Trousers with no break (skimming the top of the shoe) is one thing, but this three to four inches of airtime around the ankle is a little silly. It makes your legs look short and throws off the entire proportion of your body.
Slim suits are fantastic. They can make a guy look years younger, and thousands richer. But the obsession with skinny suits has gone a little too far as well. If your suit is pulling and stretching while you’re in a resting state, than it’s not “tailored”, it’s tight. Nothing ruins the elegant appeal of a suit more than visual tightness. You’re better with a little room (minimal drape can look confident and casually nonchalant) than a painted-on garment that’s struggling to hold you together.
Menswear Internet Slang
Remember when GQ stood for “Gentlemen’s Quarterly”? At some point it (and most other tradition menswear publications) morphed into an immature blend of Hypebeast and F-ck Yea Menswear. It’s full of words like “swag”, “dope”, “steez” and trend-heavy product recommendations from the rap fueled streetwear industry. The funniest part is, when you meet the handful of young guys who write this stuff, they don’t wear the styles that they promote, nor do they even talk like that in real life! Unless it’s in a joking manner. Which begs the question, has menswear become a big joke? Are men not interested in dressing and acting like gentlemen anymore? Or reading thoughts and opinions from guys that they trust and respect? There seems to be a lack of resources for men to have an intelligent conversation about style and get inspired/encouraged by other real guys who walk the walk as much as they talk the talk.
Looking fwd to all your comments and an exciting year on Articles of Style.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
Yours in style,
Articles of Style