You have to admit, trends are unavoidable. Some are so stealthy, maybe even ubiquitous, that it’s hard to tell if something is considered “classic” or if it’s actually trendy.
Sometimes one piece is a classic over the long term, but comes in and out of popularity throughout the years, taking it from something standard to something really trendy and eventually back again.
One of the more recent examples I can think of is the Sperry Top-Sider… a shoe which has resurged in popularity over the past several years, but was actually invented back in the 30s for the sole (pun intended, kinda) purpose of making it safe to run around on a boat deck.
According to some, Top-Siders first gained popularity as an everyday “fashionable” shoe choice in the 80s. Soo… trendy or classic?
Depends on who you ask, I guess. I say classic, considering its history… but if you ask a 14-year-old who first learns of boat shoes at Urban Outfitters, he might consider it trendy.
Could it be both?
Anyway, all of this just to say that it doesn’t really matter. Some things are trendy, some are classic, some are classic that become trendy and go back to being regular ol’ classics again.
Wear what you like
One thing I always tell people who are still figuring out their personal style: Wear what you like. Who cares what other people think, seriously. We’re not in 6th grade anymore. You should wear what you love and what makes you feel good.
At the same time, it’s smart to learn what actually makes you look awesome and shows that you’re an adult with good taste. You may love and feel good wearing garbage bags, but that’s not exactly striking the balance between feeling good / comfortable, and being perceived as a grown ass man with, you know, taste… and a job.
Before I go too far off on a tangent
… here are three ways you can embrace trends (and incorporate them daily) without completely victimizing yourself.
1.) One trendy thing at a time
Any more than that and you approach #menswear peacock status.
Let me be more specific. If it’s a significant piece of your wardrobe (i.e. Go-to-Hell pants), then tone it down on all the other trendy items on your bod that day.
If they’re more subtle, you can probably get away with two or three. So if we’re referring to this photo from GQ, wrist decor like a watch, bracelets, etc, bold socks, and a pocket square are all technically okay to wear at once. It’s when you include all 18 things on this list that you start to peacock the F out, and things just get weird.
2.) Mix your trends with classic styles
So the overall idea here is to be classic and understated, but with a few pops of “F you” and “Go To Hell” here and there.
The #menswear peacock in the image above is classic to a certain extent (traditional silhouettes with a modern slant, overall good taste) but then he takes it to a whole different level with the way he’s executing it: Loud colors, over-accessorizing, and including every imaginable up-to-the-moment trend.
Again, it’s cool rocking a few of these things (max) at a time, just keep it understated overall.
Think about when you buy a really awesome garment, and you discover a hidden detail the designer included that no one knows about but you. You want to treat your accessories and trends that way. Do it, but don’t be obnoxious about it. A peek of color here, a crazy brogue paired with a quiet outfit. You get what I’m saying?
3.) Do the complete opposite
Are fedoras and trilbies the “in” headgear at the moment? Rock your dad’s old baseball cap. I just whipped out this old Polo Sport cap from my closet back home—much to K’s dismay—and I’m rockin it all the time as if it’s 1996 again.
Everyone has 10+ bracelets on their wrists? Wear your best watch, and that’s it.
Go the opposite direction of wherever the trend is headed. Oftentimes trends balloon to excessive proportions before they’re dialed back down again, so forge your own path and do whatever everyone else ISN’T doing.
Just to clarify, I’m not saying put on your old JNCO wide leg jeans and cheap leather square-toed shoes… that’s a path no one should ever go back down.
You can and should adopt certain trends as long as you do it in moderation.
So let me open up the floor to you guys: what other ways can you embrace trends without looking like a complete #menswear peacock / fashion victim? If you have suggestions / ideas / questions, let’s hear em below in the comments.
ps — tomorrow’s the last day to pick up The Effortless Guide to Graduating Your Style (GYS) with the BONUS bonus, Does This Go With That? A Short Primer on Matching Color. Don’t miss out! Read more about it and pick up your copy before it’s too late.