Form-hugging fits had been on their way out for a while but 2020 was the year that really finished them off. From baggy denim to Chandler Bing-approved oversized tailoring, loose cuts crept from the fringes of fashion and into mainstream menswear, marking a sartorial shift that looks set to continue long into the next decade.
It was a breath of fresh air for both our wardrobes and our testicles, as spray-on legwear disappeared almost entirely – replaced instead by straight-leg, relaxed and wide-leg fits – and boxy ’90s-inspired outerwear reigned supreme.
How To Wear It
When you’ve spent the last year pouring yourself into slim- and skinny-fit everything, the idea of wearing something that doesn’t cling desperately to your calves can be a daunting prospect. The key to nailing it lies in knowing how to create a clean, cohesive silhouette from head to toe.
In most areas of menswear, contrast is a good thing, but not here. Wearing a pair of tight-fitting trousers and a baggy jacket for example will look unbalanced and disproportionate. The trick is to pair similar cuts to create a look that flows from head to toe. If your legwear is relaxed, whatever’s on your upper half should be, too.
For several years, the overarching trend in men’s footwear fashion has been marked by a move away from minimalism and simplicity, and towards OTT styling and bulkiness. The rise of maximalism has been most evident in the sneaker world, but 2020 saw it take hold of our boots and brogues, too.
The commando sole is formal footwear’s answer to chunky sneaker madness. It’s bold and bulky, and has a way of completely altering the overall look of a shoe. Everything from classic Chelsea boots to dressy Derbies received the thick-tread treatment over the course of the last year, and with those rugged soles offering increased traction in wintery conditions, this is one of those rare trends that’s as practical as it is stylish.
How To Wear It
The best way to rock commando soles depends largely on the type of footwear they’re attached to. A commando-soled Chelsea or Derby boot, for example, is best paired with sturdy cold-weather pieces, giving anything too fitted a wide berth. Think regular-fit raw denim, a thick twill overshirt and a chore coat.
The classic Derby shoe is another silhouette that works well with a thicker sole, but the low-top design makes it a little more versatile, meaning it could even be worn with tailoring for less formal occasions. Just steer clear of skinny fits as the chunkiness created by the rugged sole can be a little jarring in contrast.
The Great Outdoors
It’s tricky to say what an era will be remembered for trend-wise without the benefit of hindsight, but if we were going to put money on it, we’d say that 2020 will go down as the year that function went fashion. Pockets were plentiful, the biggest names in fashion were playing with technical fabrics, and your bird-watching uncle’s street cred was at an all-time high.
This wasn’t just any old trend, though, it was one that actually made our lives easier. Because, let’s face it, a Gore-Tex hardshell is always going to hold up better in the rain than a wool peacoat. This considered, we’ll definitely be continuing to wear our outdoor-inspired garb into the new year and we’d suggest you do the same.
How To Wear It
As was evidenced perfectly by the short-lived nu-rave trend of the mid 2000s, it’s never a good idea to deck yourself out head to toe in a trend unless you want your Facebook memories to get really awkward in a couple of years’ time. Instead, pick up a few key pieces and use them to update your current wardrobe. The obvious choices where outdoor gear is concerned would be a technical jacket, a fleece and some mountain-friendly footwear.
Use layering to create depth and keep legwear relaxed for balance. Accessories shouldn’t be neglected either; think thick textured socks, an appropriate timepiece, suitably outdoorsy luggage and a beanie to tie it all together.