Two of the key trends in men’s fashion right now exist at completely opposite poles: First, there’s the rise of a softer, gentler kind of menswear, comprised of pastels, skirts, and even pearl jewelry. It’s in step with culture’s changing views on masculinity and the looks we’ve seen on the fall 2020 runways: At Dior Men, Kim Jones proposed a new era of couture for guys, while designers like Ludovic de Saint Sernin rarely consider gender at all when they design, whether they’re making blazers or silk underwear. Western moustache styles.
Running counter to all of that is the surprising obsession with all things Western: cowboy hats, serape coats, square-toe boots. Sometimes the look is perplexingly literal, but in other cases it’s more of a commentary on the rugged, “macho” traditions of the Wild West. What does all of this say more broadly about men’s style in 2020? Essentially, anything goes: lilac suits, fringed jackets, neutrals, neon, streetwear…we saw it all on the streets of London, Florence, Milan, and Paris. Here, we’ve distilled 475 of Gianluca Senese and Phil Oh’s photos to the seven most important trends of the month, many of which you can expect to see at the February women’s shows too.
Let the record show that Vogue’s Steff Yotka was writing about “softboy style” nearly two years ago, long before Timotheé Chalamet strapped on his crystal harness or Harry Styles wore a sheer blouse to the Met Gala. Back then, the trend was just picking up with blush-colored suits and jewel-toned velvets, but the takeaway was the same: Guys, it’s time to embrace your gentler side. In 2020, the trend has grown into a much bigger movement, with everyone from Dylan Sprouse to Italian rapper Ghali decked out in pastels and florals. The best look goes to Kindness musician Adam Bainbridge, who wore a shimmering Loewe pannier gown from spring 2020.
The past decade or so saw jewelry become an accessible, everyday essential for women, with delicate chains and signet rings replacing the special-occasion chandelier earrings and brooches of generations past. It was only a matter of time before guys caught on. Walk around the East Village and you’ll see boys in tiny hoops and stacked bracelets. On the streets of Europe, men took it a step further with the most classic of jewelry staples: pearls! Several chose jumbo earrings, layered strand necklaces, and swirling Y/Project pearl hoops, while others, like Quavo, went for megawatt diamonds, and Louis Philippe de Gagoue wore a gilded “crown.”
Spanish mustache style
There’s an entire subculture of menswear comprised of guys who collect vintage army surplus gear: field jackets, utility trousers, beat-up camouflage coats, etc. None are an unusual sight at the menswear shows, but this season we saw more olive drab than ever, from vintage garb to brand-new stuff by Sacai, where sliced-and-diced army jackets are a signature. Maybe it’s the look’s inherent genderlessness that’s making it feel fresh again; most of the vintage surplus you find is men’s to start with, but the label is beside the point when you’re shopping for old fatigues.
You can’t understand the trend for cowboy hats and blanket coats without looking to pop culture first. The “yeehaw agenda” took off last year, largely thanks to musicians like Lil Nas X and Kacey Musgraves, who are putting their own, very 2020 spin on the classic Western look. At this month’s men’s shows, we saw guys mix Stetson hats with neon puffers and commit to head-to-toe looks with serape prints, steel-toe boots, and, in some cases, handlebar mustaches. It isn’t a coincidence that the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico have become popular destinations for those of us seeking an escape into nature too. Wearing a suede fringed jacket or calming earth tones could help you channel those vibes wherever you are.
Is the era of the fanny pack finally over? This month, we were pleased to see guys ditch the Supreme staple in favor of “real” bags worn on the shoulder. There were cross-bodies from Dior Men and Fendi, layered Jacquemus mini-bags, nylon Prada shoulder bags, and even more unexpected clutches and kiss-lock frame bags. It makes sense that as menswear evolves beyond streetwear, bags would become more elegant and luxurious too.
You might recall that animal prints were a growing trend for men last year, but it still registers as a surprise to see men in leopard print—especially if it’s a fluffy, statement-making faux-fur coat. But now that Hedi Slimane has made leopard and snake prints into men’s staples at Celine, our guess is that it won’t take too long for your boyfriend to start borrowing your spotted scarf or to pick up a pair of zebra-striped Vans.
As we flipped through these street-style photos, we kept coming back to looks that didn’t really “fit” into any category. It reinforced the fact that hard-and-fast trends are fading as our focus shifts to personal style. In our opinion, the dudes with the most interesting personal style this season were Takashi Murakami, Stefano Pilati, Diplo, Pierpaolo Piccioli, and Dev Hynes.