Whether you follow fashion religiously or just value looking decently put-together when you leave the house, there’s a lot to appreciate in 2020’s men’s wear collections. For starters, there’s a huge range of new brands to discover, crafting everything from high-fashion streetwear to sustainable outerwear. Also, the current fashion moment allows for a ton of styles to be stylishly combined, meaning everything from vintage army surplus jackets to preppy sportswear can have a place in the fashionable man’s wardrobe. Here are a few key pieces and styles to consider.
You can think of this trend less as a callback to tie-dye’s original heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, and more as a reference to its second act in the the grungy 1990s. While you can expect to see pretty much every type of clothing and accessory given the tie-dye treatment this season, it’s advisable to start with casual accent pieces like a sweatshirt or a bucket hat and work your way in from there.
2. Tropical Prints
Nothing says spring and summer like the return of bold, colourful prints. Cuban-collared shirts (those with notched lapels and no top button) and Hawaiian shirts have been in and out of fashion regularly for much of the last 50 years, but they’re definitely enjoying a comeback right now. For a contemporary look, steer clear of synthetic fabrics and opt for one in a light, breathable cotton.
3. Looser-fitting suits
While the Mad Men era of 1960s-inspired American suiting was an important reference for much of the 2010s, a new fit is inevitable for the new decade. Now, watch for looser-fitting, boxier suit jackets paired within similarly roomy (and occasionally pleated!) trousers that recall early 1980s Armani. Just because the look is more relaxed, however, doesn’t mean it’s any less precise. As with any other style of suiting, tailoring makes all the difference here, and having a suit altered to fit your body is the best way to ensure a polished look.
4. Cross-body bags
The so-called “man bag” or “murse” has been waiting in the wings for decades, constantly threatening to offer men a stylish way to carry their phones, keys, and other necessities of daily life. Could 2020 be the year it finally hits the mainstream? A close cousin to the fanny pack, which has become a streetwear staple in recent years, the cross-body bag offers a bit more room, and is designed to be worn over the shoulder, not around your waist. Find one in nylon for a sporty, streetwear-inspired look, or opt for black leather for something more office-appropriate.
5. Rugby shirts
Just like the polo shirt and the boat shoe before it, this versatile preppy staple has been adopted by the world of fashion in recent years. Key to the rugby shirt’s appeal is its sturdy cotton fabric, which makes it a great spring mid-layer, while a wide array of colour combinations means pretty much anyone can find a version they like.
6. Statement sneakers
The age of the sneaker is now in full swing, with pretty much every footwear and clothing brand on the planet getting in on the action with new designs for the season. For the fashion-forward man, big chunky “ugly” sneakers from high-fashion brands are a definite statement. For the more casual guy, an iconic 20th century tennis or basketball shoe, whether in classic black and white or a new more colourful version, is a vital part of the summer wardrobe.
Save the flip-flops for the locker room and find a nice pair of slides to wear poolside this summer. A lot of streetwear and high-fashion brands are doing interesting colours and logo treatments with the classic moulded rubber slide, but there are also some great options in leather for a more sophisticated look.
While this trend doesn’t relate to any specific style of clothing, there’s no denying that sustainable practices are trending hard in every area of fashion right now. From denim that uses less water, to fabrics made from wood pulp or recycled fishing nets, to fully recyclable sneakers, brands at every level are addressing the problems that make fashion one of the world’s most polluting industries. This is great news for people who love clothes, but even better for the planet.
Jeremy Freed is a freelance writer and editor based in Toronto. His writing about fashion, travel, food and design appears in Sharp, Harry and re:Porter magazines, among many others.