TRENDS ON OUR RADAR FOR AUTUMN 2022
As uncertainty became the new social norm, no matter where you lived over the past two years, fashion returned to the familiar. We’ve been inundated with hints – more like directions – about going back to classics and embracing the aesthetic of the 1950s. Part of this, of course, symbolizes a return toward stability. On the other hand, this move tends to reflect times where we’re headed toward a recession: Make sure your basics are on point, because you’ll be broke and likely preparing for job interviews. Yet, what might in hindsight be described as “pandemic fashion” also went beyond a back-to-basics look. Instead, it swung directly toward comfort – specifically athleisure – and then camouflaged it – think drawstrings, elastic waists, and stretch fabrics all just within a pair of chinos. Autumn 2022 looks to leave all that behind. Trends state that we’re both starting fresh and picking up where 2019 left off. The last two years seemed to be a lull, and now, experimentation, exaggeration, and androgyny are all returning in some form of the following:
You might be thinking ‘80s – or, with gold-buttons in the picture, yacht clubs. Double-breasted blazers surfaced with tailoring 2.0 – something that started a seemingly distant four years ago. We’ve been feeling that their lifespan is about to be cut short at any given moment, but longevity truly means a trend lasts enough to be considered natural. That’s the direction double-breasted blazers have gone in: Now less like your father’s business suit, they feel like a rakish cross between a smoking jacket and a rediscovered retro offering that adds more angles and length to the torso.
The path of tailoring 2.0 continues – not so much destroying suit silhouettes but reimagining them. The first stage stretched out structure and crossed over single breasts, resulting in a baggier, wider form that’s clearly inspired by ‘90s skate fashion. Part two might be both a return to the ‘80s and an intersection with womenswear. This confluence comes through exaggerated shoulders – wider and more angular to create a more commanding presence. Yet, this approach feels partially contradictory – in a gender-bending way, that is. This seemingly massive structure gets juxtaposed with cinched waists – creating a Coke bottle-esque silhouette reminiscent of the 1950s. At the same time, hems are shorter: Cuffs show some ankle, and jackets just skim where your trousers hit your waist for another ‘80s New Wave reference.
Leather All Over
There’s a kind of Americana vibe to this trend – think motorcycle rider hitting the open road meets cowboy preparing for the elements meets the Hollywood retro-futurism of The Matrix. There’s also a hint of seeking out quality: You want something that lasts season after season. Although the jacket paired with similar trousers can seem like overkill, leather continues to dominate runways and wardrobes, and autumn won’t be any different.
Faux Fur Textures
While designers have mostly phased out real furs, interest in these shaggier, more three-dimensional textures hasn’t waned. Instead, we continue to spot broad shearling collars in a nod to the 1970s, and faux fur coats and trim for a fluffy, hairy texture that’s often accompanied by an unnatural hue to directly hint at its inauthentic nature.
They’re not ugly sweaters – but the same principles apply. Loud colours, chunky construction, and baggy silhouettes frame current approaches to men’s knitwear, no matter for a traditional sweater, a sweater vest, or a cardigan. To this end, other trends touched on so far have entered this echelon. The result is sweaters with shoulder pad structure, longer, wider-cut garments that appear more like robes, and rope-like knits that offer a new take on deconstructed silhouettes. These join bright knit patterns playing on classics like Argyle or going in an entirely new direction, typically via a landscape or similar graphic. Patchwork-esque combinations not only deliver chaotic, mixed-media appeal but push the boundaries of the number of patterns you can knit into a single garment.
Dressed in Black
Consider this the lesser of multiple Matrix-inspired trends that started cropping up somewhere around 2018. The skinny sunglasses are still here, full-length trench coats offer a streamlined approach to all-over leather, and head-to-toe black simplifies it even further. Although the trend knows no specific silhouette, it overlaps with everything described thus far, muting oversized forms, leather jackets, and even suiting in a concentrated monochrome that calls to mind a stereotypical ‘90s fashion enthusiast.
Picture large-scale leopard spots, tiger stripes that veer away from orange and black, and cheetah print that you have to study to get the reference. No print feels off-limits in our everything’s-a-trend present, and what often appeared exclusive to the realm of womenswear can be translated to men’s wardrobes in various maximalist fashions.
Pink, as a concept or theme, is no longer an overarching, daring-for-the-sake-of-it menswear trend. Instead of thinking of it as a singular force of why it’s in style, we should be asking ourselves “how.” This, for Autumn 2022, means a transition from the brashness of Millennial pink and magenta from pre-Covid times to something softer. Call it blush pink or “rosé” for a more direct reference. This off-white quality comes in solid form across an array of fabrics, and its understated personality complements a broader range of shades.
While ‘90s denim officially ran the gamut from skin-tight acid-wash to skirt-like JNCOs, 2022 revives the skater jean. You can picture it: It’s wide legged, bagging around the ankles, and without significant distressing, save for signs of wear. At the same time, a mid-wash reflects the era’s utilitarian effortlessness. In the present, versions vary from nostalgic throwbacks to upscale interpretations that toss in high waists and cropped ankles – both blasphemously shamed if you remember the period.
Bombers supposedly made a return last year (did they ever leave?), and colour-blocking often enters as a first-level variation. Varsity jackets – also known as letterman jackets – delve into our returning affinity for 1950s fashions through sleeves contrasting in material and colour, and a wider fit hinting at teenage social status. Patches and embroidery abound, also looping this trend closer to the lighter-weight souvenir jacket.