Nowhere is the schism between the highs and the lows of fashion more evident than in menswear. Over a month of shows in London, Florence, Milan, and Paris, designers simultaneously offered garments on par with the haute-est of women’s couture (Maison Margiela) and a remake of the humble Hanes T-shirt (Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton). In between we witnessed the continuing influence of streetwear—which can be maximalist, as at Valentino; technical, as at Alyx; or cultish, as at Undercover—and the rise of, well, almost no clothing at all, led by Jonathan Anderson’s completely nude model in Loewe’s lookbook. Are clothes so last season? Not quite.
But you wouldn’t be wrong to notice a shift in the tenor of the season. In a time when the nature of masculinity is being questioned from all sides, menswear designers have struggled to posit an example that can be at once progressive and evocative, while still being financially viable and good for their business’s bottom line.
So when it came time to count up the trends that left a mark this men’s season, Vogue Runway honed in on the prints and graphics that are going to be undeniably hot at sales, a selection of silhouettes that have already taken over street style, and a handful of new ideas that have the potential to push the fashion conversation—and men’s ideas about dress—forward. All nine are presented below. Gentlemen, choose your team wisely, and may the best trend win!
Dad Jeans Are Here to Stay
Men’s Spring 2019 Trend: Dad Jeans
With denim trends having run the gamut from wildly embellished to barely there over the past two years, the simple dad jean has come out on top for Spring 2019. The medium- or light-wash jean with a straight leg or a slight boot cut also serves as a smart base for some of menswear’s more kooky shirts and jackets, as seen on the runways at Versace, Prada, and Off-White.
Skin Is In
Men’s Spring 2019 Trend: Skin Is In
As womenswear edges toward the covered up and modest, menswear is suddenly all about showing a little skin. At more than a few shows this season, models were sent out bare chested in just shorts or trousers; some covered in glitter or paint, as at Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen; while others were left to glisten in the sun, as at Jacquemus’s menswear debut. The boldest take came from Jonathan Anderson, who had one model in his Loewe lookbook pose completely nude but for a trumpet. Not afraid to toot his own horn, I suppose.
Couture Rises as the Anti-Streetwear
Men’s Spring 2019 Trend: Couture
If you’ve done your fashion history homework, you could trace the rise of streetwear and graphics back to Raf Simons’s early shows in the ’90s, which had a sort of pulled-from-pop-culture, anti-fashion spin. That makes Simons’s elevation of menswear as a couture craft all the more potent. This season the designer eschewed the buzz of instantly comprehensible graphics or silhouettes for a palette borrowed from Yves Saint Laurent. John Galliano, surely one of the couture masters of the 20th and 21st centuries, took his bias cut to Maison Margiela, while Kim Jones served up a smart take on the craft of menswear at Dior Homme.
Best to Get On That Tie-Dyed Drip Now
Men’s Spring 2019 Trend: Tie-Dye
No surprises here that tie-dye has made it to the mainstream. Rei Kawakubo gave the look her stamp of approval, sending out an indigo tie-dyed suit at Comme des Garçons Homme Plus, while colorful shiboris and swirls made appearances at Amiri, Ambush, and 3.1 Phillip Lim.
You Will Need More Pockets
MEN TREND SPRING 2019: Pockets
Storage space is at a premium in cities around the world—make up for it with a jacket, trousers, or harness with enough pockets to store your iPhone X, AirPods, wallet, passport, rose tonic spray, sunglasses, MetroCard, and about 15 other essentials you can’t leave home without. The Spring 2019 answer to the recently ubiquitous fanny pack? Yes, but it’s also a nod to Helmut Lang—back in the ’90s the designer pioneered multi-storage solutions built right into garments.
A Roomy, Short-Sleeved Button-Up Remains the Shirt to Beat
MENS TREND SPRING 2019: Short Sleeves
Last summer’s Hawaiian shirts have given way to a wild range of patterns in the classic Tommy Bahama silhouette. At Dries Van Noten, you can get one in Verner Panton’s iconic squiggle, while Fendi is sending out several in the house’s popular-again monogram. For the purists, try Valentino’s roomy camouflage with a tropical detail or MSGM’s coordinating Hawaiian sunset–print shirt-and-shorts combos.
Leather Daddies Are Back, Weather Be Damned
MENS TREND SPRING 2019: Leather Daddies
Yes, these are the Spring collections, though we can’t blame you for thinking otherwise considering the number of head-to-toe leather outfits on the runways. There are jumpsuits from Alexander McQueen, trench-and-trouser sets from Lanvin, and one red snake-print vest-and-pant ensemble from Versace that is strangely resplendent. All this bodes well for the Mr. T–meets–Peter Marino true believers out there, though we’d love it if Stella McCartney could offer a vegan option, too.
There’s Poetry in Slow Fashion
MENS TREND SPRING 2019: Slow Fashion
From Jacquemus, Loewe, and Ann Demeulemeester comes an aesthetic revival for the purity, craft, and romanticism of the countryside. Most visible in these brands’ Provençal straw hats and loose, flowing garments, the pastoral trend is an aesthetic and philosophical counterweight to fashion’s obsessions with speed, hype, and urgency. In Etro’s patchwork suit or Marni’s roomy separates, you’ll be inspired to unplug and get off the grid, even if just for an evening.
Graphic Knits Have Replaced Graphic Tees
MENS TRENDS SPRING 2019: Graphic Knits
Statement sweaters have taken on a cartoony spin, with Snoopy at Iceberg and Bart Simpson at Off-White. Consider it the latest in fashion messaging—if your slogan tee is feeling a little over, a sweater with Dorothy and co. on the yellow brick road can telegraph a message of hope and unity in these unsettling times.