Fashion Trend for Men Spring/Summer 2012

Time and time again while covering the men’s components of Milan and Paris fashion weeks we touched on it: that dominant, relaxed aesthetic that men who are tired of the crotch hugging, thigh squishing feel of the overt skinny cut have to look forwards to amongst autumn / fall 2011 fashions. And beyond. Men’s fashion simply doesn’t move so fast that one can peg these forthcoming emergence of relaxed tailoring to a sole season, nor even a year, and while we already know we’ll see it amongst spring 2012′s fashions it’s highly likely that we’ll also see this interpretation of men’s fashion feature amongst throughout all of 2012. A relaxed fit for men is, of course, nothing new. Loose layering, drop crotches and (avert your gaze) baggy jeans have been with us for some time now. But a line has to be drawn in the sand. The relaxed cuts of past years are distinctly different from the relaxed tailoring we’re about the encounter. One could rightly argue that this new men’s trends evolves from the old, but they are certainly not one in the same.

Seamless shoulders


A seamless shoulder coat from Raf Simons

Note that the elbow seam is an extreme version of the deep shoulder seam discussed below. If the name isn’t obvious enough; the seamless shoulder lacks a stitch line at the point where the shoulder rolls to become the arm. As such, it’s not too dissimilar in its crafting from a kimono sleeve, where the sleeve and the body of the clothing are one in the same, though this men’s interpretation is far more tapered. In part it’s a look heralded in by the return of the sack suit and we spied it in collections from the likes of Raf Simons and Duckie Brown. Some, most notably Duckie Brown, gave the look a heavily casual slant and you can safely wear the seamless shoulder with relaxed fit sports coats and crisp cut sweaters. Where the tailored, seamless shoulder really comes into its own, however, is when it’s fused with outerwear. For this part of the look what you’re looking for are those relaxed, oversized and generally loose interpretations of men’s trousers which are tailored. After all, this trend may lack formality but it certainly isn’t so casual that it is streetwear. Tailoring is key to the whole look. 

Ermanno Scervino loose cut trousers paired with a box cut double breasted coat

Pleated pants Given that the tail end 2011 and the start of 2012 will see an experimentation with the fit of men’s pants, it naturally follows that other elements will also be experimented with. As we’ve seen with womenswear, we’re also watching for the return of pleated pants for men. Loose pants If relaxed and oversized shoulders are the hallmark of the emerging relaxed tailoring trend, then loose cut trousers, pants follow a close second. At the outset they may feel like an easy way to interpret the trend, but don’t be deceived: they’re the element that is easiest to get wrong. So far we haven’t seen one specific pleat return and across the recent men’s catwalks we’ve seen both forward pleats (when the pleat opens towards the centre of the pants) and reverse pleats (when the pleats open towards the pockets). Vivienne Westwood experimented with both fits in her autumn 2011 collection, pairing pleats with a casually tailored waist line as a counterbalance. 

Men’s pleated pants from Vivienne Westwood

Loose cut jackets The seamless shoulders are but one element affecting outerwear that can be worn inline with the overall relaxed tailoring trend. Loose cut, voluminous men’s jackets are the other. And this is another of the elements that can be hit and miss and hard to pull off with finesse. Not in the sense that it’s hard to put on a jacket that seems a few sizes too big, but rather that it can be harder to don one with any confidence. As you can see below, these cuts are certainly don’t lend themselves to what we typically regard as a 
modern, men’s cut.

This particular peaked lapel loose cut jacket comes from Raf Simons

Fashion Trend for Men Spring/Summer 2012