SUMMER 2017’S MUST-WEAR PATTERNS
THESE DETAILED, GEOMETRIC AND COLOURFUL PATTERNS DEFINE SS17
Nothing stays stagnant forever, and what was once new soon becomes old hat before it evolves and transforms into another novelty. You can say this about prints: Where paisley and florals seemed aspirational about eight to 10 years ago, they’re now quite tame. So, that same line continues to get nudged ahead, bringing more detailed versions, geometric iterations, and colourful variations into the fold. As such, for Spring/Summer 2017, prints tread through easily identifiable channels – florals, abstract styles, stripes, and camouflage, for starters – but reach farther. Some merge together – for instance, abstract florals – while others shake up assumptions. While your classics will do, these patterns define SS17 as a season in which you can’t rest on solid colours alone.
Abstract Floral Prints
Even if you’re a guy who sticks to nothing but the basics, at least one floral shirts in your closest – perhaps a small print for versatility, maybe a chambray for spring, or even something Hawaiian influenced. But, breaking out of the by-the-numbers versions, abstract floral prints – usually geometric or linear in nature – go off in a new direction. Sure, it’s familiar, but it’s also a style less explored. Within its deceptively barebones concept, colour and lines make abstract florals a standout print. Patterns frequently consist of overlapping outlines, offering a stripped-down version of a bouquet-like print, have solid fills like a silhouette pattern, and usually use a darker palette.
Why roses and not, say, lilacs or geraniums? There’s no one clear answer, but rather, a confluence of factors intersects at this print. One, Dolce & Gabbana’s multi-season stretch of rose-themed prints – on shirts, blazers, and even full-on suits – has trickled down from the highest echelons of menswear to knockoff streetwear. Second to its near-ubiquity, the style – reminiscent of perhaps the masculine-meets-feminine look of a ‘70s disco shirt – reflects Gucci’s concept without appearing garish. Then, as androgyny establishes a clear foothold in men’s fashion, its feminine softness coupled with a boxier cut and darker tones achieves what some might consider the perfect balance in between. What’s the right way to do it? Larger blossoms and detailed prints accent its intricacies, but to avoid potentially looking like a couch, consider bolder, darker shades and more contrasts rather than ethereal pastels.
Repeating Geometric Prints
Perhaps another ‘70s throwback, geometric prints with some semblance of order come off as intentionally cryptic. What does it symbolise? That might be for you to interpret, but the pattern itself takes a few forms – small to large, often angular overall, and extending over the garment’s surface. Curved edges may be thrown in, and colours may make some more vibrant, but big picture, this pattern zeroes in on the shapes – usually square, rectangular, or triangle based – and seems more like a tessellation than a puzzle in need of a solution.
Some might debate this print’s veracity. Can you call a single image at the centre – or even skewed off slightly – a true pattern? Its lack of repetition may disqualify it for some, but its concept – like a graphic tee meets a more sophisticated garment – continues to surface amongst multiple Spring/Summer 2017 collections. As such, its basic design – something square or rectangular shaped, occasionally with some overlapping elements – is at once extremely simple but also open to plenty of interpretations. Added to a button-down, boxy pullover, a bomber, or even a blazer, it places a photographic, geometric, folklore-inspired, or otherwise large digital image at the centre of a solid-colour plane. The result is casual in connotation but slightly more formal than your standard crewneck.
It isn’t so much that camouflage is an entirely innovative print. Rather, the combination – usually based on the U.S. Woodland or 3-Colour NATO pattern, although digital and tiger stripe prints allow for more current variations – has existed for years as a streetwear style, too informal for menswear circles. Rather, as the two start to find common ground, camouflage patterns have bled over, used by designers as fodder for button-downs, slim pants, bombers, and even blazers. But, here, authenticity isn’t the name of the game. While you’ll find it, SS17 treats camouflage’s almost blob-like shapes as a canvas for splashing other colours around, or uses its order-free squiggly lines as a template for a more organic geometric print. The result transcends trends, matching the current military fascination and managing to simultaneously seem abstract.
Say “checkerboard print,” and it immediately brings up a few associations: Classic Vans trainers, Versace’s early 1990s casual styles, or even a ‘70s revival piece you might have worn out to a rave in 1997. In whichever context you perceive it, this print goes back to basics for geometric patterns – just two shades and solid lines – and considers your penchant for colour-blocking. And, covering its full potential, a range of brands have tried it out, from Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent to Urban Outfitters.
Stripes have always been an entry point to wearing patterns: Something you try until you progress to plaid and checks. Yet, even with its beginner status, stripes don’t have to be dull and basic, with the case in point being the uneven or varying widths we’ve seen. As the name implies, this pattern takes your typical vertical or horizontal configuration and uses no set thickness and, frequently, no alternating colour combination. What you get, instead, is an amalgamation of thicker stripes right alongside thinner ones that, with three or more shades thrown in, seems reminiscent of a sunset, waves, or something undulating.
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