SS21 menswear: New age of self-expression

Thanks to these strange times, the old style rules are out and boundaries are blurred. We’ve been wearing tracksuits for the 9–5, bringing out tailoring for virtual celebrations and wearing our usual going-out-to-the-bar outfits for our going-out-to-get-some-milk trips. And yet, it has also given us time to reflect on our tastes and question: what dowe really want to wear when all bets are off? Who are the brands we truly identify with, and why? And with spring just around the corner, how do we want to emerge back into the world?

Freed up from trends and the usual fashion rules, self-discovery is key. With that in mind, Daniel Sannwald’s surreal photographs capture the many sides of your character you can explore this spring and beyond. A distillation of true, individual style.

FIND NEW FASHION FRONTIERS

Many of us have, understandably, lost all momentum when it comes to getting dressed. But perhaps that makes for the perfect opportunity to discover something new and explore a braver side of ourselves. For starters, donning bold colour is an easy win to boost your mood – JW Anderson, Bottega Veneta and Marni have that in spades this season, brightening up any rainy day. Delving deeper, earth-conscious designers such as Bethany Williams, who champions upcycling, and community-orientated brands like Labrum London, whose collections showcase untold stories of West Africa, make for design with a strong message – a (stylish) way to express yourself and your values, without saying a word.

MIX AND (MIS)MATCH

Have you found yourself wearing some, shall we say, unorthodox outfits over the past year? Thought so – but we bet a few have opened doors to clothing combinations you may not previously have considered. A designer who’s forever freeing up room for new ideas, Virgil Abloh said of his latest Off-White collection, “I thought of this muse, sort of half businessman, half youthful teenager – and how they can crash together.” Channel that childhood playfulness and newfound experimental side of yourself. How about a hiking vest with a collared jacket? Wellies with tailored trousers? Clashing prints? Patchwork denim? Why not!

RECONSIDER THE CLASSICS

Trench coats. Ties. Adidas’s Tristripe. All mainstays in men’s wardrobes for as long as we can remember. How can we shake things up a bit? Alexander McQueen’s answer is a spliced, reversible version of a belted trench – part of a collection created during lockdown that drew on archive styles and deadstock fabrics for inspiration. Ties – as much neglected as the office water cooler right now – showed up as belts at Versace and in shirt fabrics at Craig Green. Grace Wales Bonner, meanwhile, said of her collaboration with adidas Originals, “I was interested in elevating the familiar, and bringing an eveningwear and tailored sensibility to this essential collection.” Across these designers’ collections, the evolution of traditional menswear ‘uniforms’ grants you free rein – when you find what works for you, go for it.

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