Streetwear is booming. From Stüssy to Supreme, Off-White to A Bathing Ape, brands whose clothes take their cue from the sidewalks are front and centre in a fashion industry where traditional show formats are falling out of favour.
Which is all the more reason to pay as much mind to what’s going on outside show venues, as within them. Sure, what designers send down the runway merits your attention, but as long as it’s buyers, editors and A-list Instagrammers that make trends stick, then front row and street style looks are as much an indication of what we’ll be wearing next season as what’s lining the racks backstage.
To that end, we sent our steel-elbowed photographers to London, Pitti, Milan and Paris to sidestep the peacocks and pinpoint the very best of autumn/winter 2019. This is everything you need to know.
If you’ve upgraded from a hip-grazing jacket to an overcoat, you’re in the right territory for winter outerwear. The problem, however, is that so has everyone else. It’s time to move things on and get some checks on your back. We’re not suggesting you get a woefully regrettable tattoo, a check coat will do the trick.
The street style at outside the AW19 shows demonstrated the versatility of such statement outerwear perfectly. There were new takes on heritage with blown up checks, tonal checks, graphics checks, checks on bombers and checks ad infinitum. In fact, it was our favourite type of box ticking exercise.
Colour Pop Layers
Unlike summer, when any fool brandishing a pair of BBQ tongs thinks it’s his divine right to wear a printed shirt, autumn and winter are often considered less open to experimentation. The street style crowd are attempting to overturn this school of thought with the help of some strategically placed pops of colour.
We love an all-black look as much as the next man, but in these dire times, muted shades are crying out for a larger than life companion. Throw a primary-hued hoodie under your coat or make your top layer the star attraction. Basically just lighten up, man.
Having grown bored of baring their foreheads, men’s style aficionados are now attempting the unthinkable: fringes that look mightily similar to the results achieved with a bowl and a pair of scissors. Even stranger, it’s a chop that’s doing men’s hair a world of good.
The blunt fringe 2.0 is nothing if not practical. It doesn’t require you to fruitlessly battle gravity, and it kind of just sits on your face without asking for any active investment. Selfless. All it requires is a textured chop, a ruffle of the fingers and away you go.
To anticipate the doubters: no, green isn’t just a menswear constant masquerading as a trend. Where before burgundy was broadly assumed to be the king of winter colour, if the men of the fashion capitals are anything to go by, it’s green that’s most seen.
The beauty of this hue is that it’s as versatile as can be. Jewel tone green tailoring? Do it. A rich green wool coat? A wise move. Want to play it classic? Chuck on a field jacket or military jacket like the men of the shows.
Light Wash Denim
Light wash denim used to be cool, but things changed and it became a washed up shadow of its former self, cowed into silence by the black skinny jean. No more. For AW19, team menswear has rubber stamped light wash denim’s application to return to the fold; adopted by the suiting and streetwear crowds with equal enthusiasm.
Sure, this reappraisal may not be reinventing the wheel, but when taken in a loose or straight fit, you’ll do enough to distance yourself from those weekend warriors in sausage skin dark denim without actually doing that much at all.
Since donning his infamous giant scarf, Lenny Kravitz – once a man of unimpeachable cool – has been mercilessly dragged by the internet. Outside the AW19 shows, the saying ‘first they laugh then they follow’ couldn’t have rung truer, with oversized scarves galumphing around en masse.
To clarify, they were attached to human menswear fans, but what all the scarves shared was an inclination to be larger than strictly necessary. Admittedly, the best examples weren’t Kravitz-levels of insanity; they were oversized and worn with an otherwise pared-back outfit to keep things on the right side of experimental.
As if as part of some unspoken agreement, the autumn/winter months signal to men everywhere that it’s time to exclusively don black, navy and grey. Tonal neutrals provide a savvy remedy for narcoleptic dressing.
By liberally layering shades of white, cream, stone, camel and beige, the men outside the shows injected some much-needed uplift to a dark and dingy season. It makes perfect sense, too. Most men already own a camel coat, so it’s simply a case of adding a light jumper in putty or stone, some sand tailored trousers and white high-top Converse then boom, you’re doing tonal neutrals.
The denim jacket – worn over a sweatshirt and under a trench at Pitti, or over a roll neck and under a wool flight jacket in London – defended its title as menswear’s go-to layering piece,
As impractical as that might sound, most of the menswear cognoscenti stopped short of a full-on mankle flash, choosing instead to team their cut-short trews with colour-pop socks and statement footwear.
in the masses of men whose looks were grounded in earth tones – those typically Yeezy shades of beige, khaki, copper, ochre and sand whose strength, like grey or navy, is rooted in their easy-to-wear nature.