LOOK OUT FOR THESE SPRING 2023 MENSWEAR TRENDS
Spring 2023 might be the first season where we can say the Covid-19 pandemic is behind us, both in terms of trends and the lens with which we examine them. That isn’t to say the context lingers. Rather, the past three years have given way to three distinct pathways. Utilitarian is a back-to-basics, almost Great Recession-esque mindset of “If you don’t need it, don’t buy it,” with suiting, workwear-inspired pieces, and gorpcore all rolled together. Then, there’s anything-goes: In a similar vein, anything and everything can be worn, as we’re officially entered an era of trendless fashion. It coasts on the experimental, blurred-lines femininity of pre-pandemic fashion criticism and envelopes all the wider-cut, skater-esque silhouettes that started cropping up at the same time.
Third, the logomania revival was brief. Although you’ll likely see this attitude continue to swirl around the streetwear sphere, investment dressing has started to frame menswear presentations: Not only does this push out the higher-end streetwear influence that’s been a presence for roughly the past seven or eight years, but what’s presented doesn’t entirely feel rooted in any particular era. Save for shirtless suit dressing, luxury, in the present, is intended to feel deceptively understated, as if everything is a precisely curated, entirely monochrome The Row collection. Among everything seen so far, here’s what has grabbed our attention:
More Spacious Bomber Jackets
If one observation has described Spring 2023 menswear, it’s this: “Let’s take early 2010s fashion and make it maximal.” All those slimmer silhouettes no longer skim just outside of your shirt: Instead, they closely resemble the more classic MA-1 with their balloon-shaped sleeves tapering to an elastic cuff around the wrist, and a body equally voluminous hitting just right at the hips. This time around, too, we’re seeing fewer bold patterns and colours, and more allusions to classic construction – think olive, brown, and black nylon or leather, complete with more prominent zippers. From this angle, the updated bomber means that what you were wearing 10 years ago isn’t entirely irrelevant, is ideal for layering, and feels as if it were pulled from a military surplus shop’s mid-century offerings.
Call this the new monochrome: Whereas we’ve used this phrase to describe a mix of black, white, and every grayscale tone in between, men's suits have veered away from patterns over to solid bold or pastel shades. Think intense cobalt, glass-like bottle green, creamsicle orange, minty aquamarine, or, if you think you can pull it off, more of a holly berry red. While this trend isn’t particularly unique on its own, the bright colour dominates, with no embellishments or muting. Shirting, meanwhile, meets it all the way to avoid breaking up the vibrancy.
Sporting a pair of leather gloves outside of the winter season still feels like a nod to the late Karl Lagerfeld. Crossing both men’s and womenswear, gloves for Spring 2023 feel like another mid-20th century accessory shaken free from some etiquette rules we’ve all forgotten about and meant to match your knee-high (or at least above-the-ankle) boots and contrast against the wider cuffs of a double-breasted blazer.
Beyond winners, disappointments, and viral memes, sheer dresses on the red carpet composed some of the buzz surrounding the recent Oscars ceremony. As another gender-neutral trend, the fabric has found its way over to menswear. Ultimately a ‘90s throwback simultaneously reminiscent of a recognizable Kate Moss look and a nod to the era’s clubbing garb, mesh marks an intermediate point for those wanting to show some skin yet remain fully covered or at least avoid some of the unflattering silhouettes that can result from cutouts. Presently, shirts, tank tops, and the occasional jacket have experimented with varying degrees of opacity.
Development of hybrid footwear continues. The latest mix? Sneaker boots: Similar to winterized dress boots spotted a few years ago yet borrowing from dress sneakers, this style looks like a work-ready boot from the exterior yet features treads and more responsive outsoles on par with an athletic or skate shoe. Others ultimately take high-tops to new heights while adding a bit of polish through better-quality, solid-coloured leather. For a third variation, the sneaker boot resembles a taller hiking shoe with a more understated appearance. In all cases, you end up with something that can basically be worn everywhere – save for rock climbing or something equally technical.
Hear “western wear,” and you’re likely picturing some hokey rodeo gear. Instead, 2023 revives the Americana surge we saw toward the end of the 2010s but tones it down. Gone are the brightly coloured silks. Instead, denim and chambray set the tone, embellished by embroidery, hems alluding to cowboy wear, higher-hitting bootcut jeans, and cowboy boots that you might mistake as suede Chelseas from a distance. Here, the image isn’t so much Roy Rogers or Woody from Toy Story but, instead, a different type of workwear – one that’s migrated away from construction site and oil rig inspiration and hit the cattle trail for a more introspective journey.
Longer Trench Coats
As shirt and even trouser hems climb, outerwear has gone in the opposite direction – wider and longer. With the former seen in the revived bomber jacket, overcoats and trenches – a staple that never seems to die out – opts for more comprehensive coverage. In this case, that’s more space around the body (and your suit) and a hem that falls halfway down the thigh. It’s not quite Matrix-level, but it hints at just as much mystery.
More Relaxed Suiting
Outerwear’s change comes from another shift: Suits have strayed away from the slim, skin-skimming forms that have dominated since the early 2000s. Likely influenced by the wider-cut double-breasted casual suit that has defined the tailoring 2.0 era, this version feels like a practical compromise – one less like ‘90s-inspired skater garb and other that simply reflects how most of us now prefer our trousers and jeans. That is, more linear, with more space around the legs, and more classic. That’s not to say we’re doing a full 180 to the poorly fitting middle-manager suits of the ‘90s. Rather, the single-breasted notch lapel still frames the conversation, albeit with more breathing room and in reference to the suit-for-everyday-wear approach of the ‘40s and ‘50s.
Among the confluence of trends spanning the ‘50s through the ‘00s at the moment, metallics allude to the futurism of the Y2K era – both hopeful, forward-looking, and seemingly inspired by the space-age ‘60s. Today, the attitude feels almost quaint – remember when we all thought computer networks across the globe would fail and bring down society as we knew it? – and the Y2K revival acknowledges this. Rave-inspired metallics deliberately pair well with all the mesh fabrics we’re seeing, perhaps giving some modern-day Night at the Roxbury vibes that seem simultaneously excessive and from a technology-lite period that many from Gen Z yearn for (or never got to experience).
Menswear has had its body-confidence moments before: Think half-shirts of the ‘80s, mesh clubbing fabrics of the late ‘90s, and tight, high-waisted trousers from the ‘70s. Bodycon menswear resurfaced a few seasons ago through cutouts. The look worked on ultra-toned bodies (but never caught on with everyone else), and since then, this niche trend has been adapted for the masses through sleeveless shirts in place of plain white T-shirts or taking off fabric from around the waist, resulting in more cropped forms. A step further, going shirtless below a suit combo begs the question, “Why were we all wearing button-fronts anyway?” In all contexts, more skin is in, just as long as you know how to dress for the occasion.