Autumn’s arrival immediately ushers in a few key wardrobe updates. One, those tees and shorts you’ve been sporting will gradually be retired to spring. Secondly, those lightweight jackets and sweaters come out into rotation. And thirdly, everything we noticed close to a year ago at Fashion Week starts to make an appearance. But, for AW18 collections, nothing really, except for a penchant for being bigger, louder, and more visible ties the season together. Everything we’ve accepted as a classic is now hyped up to extremes.
Westernwear and Americana
Not exactly one in the same, westernwear and Americana pull from the same source: A romanticised view of American history. The former, however, applies to specific cowboy-themed styles that reflect anything you’d find at a traditional westernwear store. The latter, on the other hand, plays off a fantasy created through films and Lana Del Rey songs. In either case, the trend, seen on brands from Calvin Klein 205W39NYC and Dries Van Noten to H&M, unfolds in three ways: Detailed, silk western shirts, traditional, belted denim jeans, and high-quality, heeled, pointed boots. Afraid you’ll come off as more of an urban cowboy, who’s never set foot on a ranch? Not to worry: Raf Simons toned it down with his Calvin Klein Est. 1978 line, applying photographic prints of the American heartland over unisex jeans, jackets, and button-down shirts.
Cartoons and Comics
Prada essentially kicked off the mainstream version of this trend, but rather than be a one-season ordeal, a few brands are carrying it over into autumn. Calvin Klein’s collaboration with Looney Tunes, for instance, delivers a higher-end version of a trend we haven’t worn since the ‘90s, while J.W. Anderson, taking more of a pop art approach, incorporated artwork from ‘50s artist Dom Orejudos. Through whichever lens you prefer, cartoon-based patterns and prints indicate one thing: You can still be serious with your style and have fun at the same time.
‘90s influences started trickling into menswear all the way back in 2014 – a little bit of Grunge here, and a hint of hip-hop there. But, AW18 collections take this all to another level – and to the point that everything you might’ve experimented with as a teen has returned, albeit a bit more sophisticated this time around. On one hand, you’ve got your ‘dad’ pieces, like tapered stonewash jeans and windbreakers, and on the other, neon yellow, lots of vinyl, and bucket hats get us ready for a 24-7 rave. In between, wider cuts and logo prints reference late ‘90s hip-hop fashion, and checks and ripped denim seem taken from any Grunge band’s early ‘90s promo photo.
Some might incorporate this in with ‘90s styles, while others argue that the Matrix trilogy is truly a product of the early ‘00s. Whichever way you think of it, the style – long leather trench coats, all black, and narrow, round-framed sunglasses – is unmistakably a pop culture product. Aside from your local Goth kids, did any adult truly attempt this trend nearly 20 years ago? Right now, though, these aren’t your iffy Hot Topic digs. Instead, styles from Fendi and Paul Smith paint you as mysterious – like Neo, without having Agent Smith on your tail – but a bit more sophisticated. Think a belted, knee-length trench coat with a wider collar, and uncomplicated, dark-coloured sunglasses – together, they look like an allusion, but apart, they’re solid, elevated basics.
Forget about subtle windowpane patterns. While checks have earned their status as a menswear essential, AW18 cranks this classic up to 11. More specifically, charged red and black tartans seem more appropriate for a punk rock club out of the ‘80s, and equally contrast-heavy buffalo plaid inherently references the early ‘90s. But, while you’ll likely see these prints splashed across flannels and button-downs, this season’s collections show you can add plaid to pretty much everything: overcoats from Versace, basketball shorts from Bobby Abley, and full-body ensembles from Astrid Andersen and Fendi.
If shirts, trousers, and even jackets can display a loud print, why not a sweater? Getting up to speed, this knit fall staple isn’t just for staying warm. Rather, its knit texture, ranging from fine to chunky, creates a foundation for plenty of style possibilities. Keep it slouchy with an oversized fit, opt for a graphic knit into the body, or colour-block it for a panelled, high-contrast combination.