Hey gents,

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.

A Field Guide to the American Male Peacock via GQ

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.

Just remember…

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.

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15 Responses

  1. larry ramirez on

    You brought it back with the JNCO’s, oh man, well, as far as trends I’d say identify what the trend is first and see if it fits your style. I remember a few years ago a friend of mine telling me that I should get a cardigan cuz they’re gonna be in style the upcoming season, to which I responded “huh?”. I’m not one for trends but man did she call that one, but I never got one because it just didn’t suit me. 

    … so, you think wide legs are gonna become trendy again? haha

    • Barron on

      I hear that a lot too… people saying “you should get X, because it’ll be on trend next season” blah blah. I guess that matters if you’re trying to stay on top of all that, but if I’m not, how does that advice apply to me? It doesn’t.

      But yeah, if I see something “trendy” that I like, I’d wear it. Why not?

      And I’m certain wide legs will become a trend again. It’s all cyclical. But yeah, did that once, never again. haha

  2. David Xiaoxi Li on

    In terms of these items, I think there’s a direct relationship between confidence (in the sartorial sense) and appropriate level of loudness. One system (that I use) is determining how many articles of clothing could cause me to be rightfully scorned by others. I always keep that number at 1. This helps ensure that I expand my comfort zone gradually without being too conservative or brash. Over time, one’s sense of what is rightful to scorn changes, and with it, one’s “steez”.

    I think the beauty of this system is that it can apply to people of any (self-perceived) level of style. People at level 1 will try ironing their shirts. People at level 20 will try that bow tie every now and then. People at level 9000 will peacock with their double-banded walrus watches turned backwards, but there’s no helping that anyway.

    • Barron on

      Great point! It’s all relative and you’re right, with a system like this, you can keep pushing your boundaries without going all out right at the beginning, which may potentially backfire. Thanks

  3. Jay on

    Great article.  It’s really frustrating how polarized many blogs have become in supporting trends/fashions (new, liberal, short-lived) or “style” (classic, conservative, timeless).  In my opinion, there needs to be a middle-group between the anarchy of freewheeling avant-garde fashion and staid and boring “navy blazer with khakis and wingtips” (which are both elitist and exclusivist in their own way).  Excellent choices on ways that the two can meet gracefully; nice to see a fellow centrist!

    • Barron on

      Thanks for reading. The thing is, the silent majority is in this same place, where they want a little bit of both. We should talk about this more often.

  4. Otateral on

    Recently began wearing classic fedoras, and can’t see myself turning back. One thing I am very careful with though is making sure I’m not wearing anything else too bold with it. If I decide on a bright red pocket square I may leave the fedora at home.

  5. Christopher on

    Spoke with Barron a few weeks ago about epaulettes on all the shirts I’m seeing now and whether we thought that was a trend or if that’s a permanent thing. Do i own some of these shirts, yes. Because over all I like the shirt regardless of the shoulder ornamentation. But I am feeling like three years down the road these won’t be around anymore. 

    could be wrong. I don’t know? 

  6. Saleen on

    I saw you at 21st Amendment on Friday night after the Giants game.  Pretty sure, at least.

    • Barron on

      I wasn’t at 21st, though I had plans of going, so that’s weird. Hope my doppelganger was just as good looking and dressed well. haha

  7. Bo on

    Hi Barron,

    Just joined the site’s email list and I have to say, I’m definitely impressed. A quick question for you in regards to a trend that has started to make its way through the circles I run in–How do you feel about ‘turned-up’ jeans? Not necessarily rolled, but with a 1 to 2-inch turnup on either skinny or straight jeans–I’ve noticed that Daniel Craig, for example, has worn his straight-cut jeans this way for quite some time. I’m worried that by doing this, I’ll simply be getting into a fad that I’ll have to keep up with.

    • Barron on

      Hi Bo,

      Thanks for joining EG!

      Is that a fad? I’ve been doing that for years, just because of pure utility, not because it looks cool / uncool. I say if you like it, do it.

      • Bo on

        Interesting, interesting–maybe it seems like more of a fad to me because I’ve only recently started to pay attention to fashion details like that! It definitely works in terms of utility and also look. I think I’ll definitely keep rocking it!