The last decade was a significant one for designer menswear. It was the decade in which men’s fashion finally caught up with womenswear in both ingenuity and thump. The work of men’s designers was analysed in a way once earmarked only for the fairer sex’s creative directors and the icy pace of plain old ‘bloke’s clothes’ accelerated. Trends shattered and receded away more swiftly than ever.
At the foundation of 2010, we were still under the thrall of Don Draper. The united love affair with strident tailoring made men take style and the specifics of style seriously like infrequently before. Eventually came the hipsters, the Scandi minimalists, the normcore hardcores. And then, undeniably, came streetwear, making the blow to casual dressing close to complete.
Let’s look at how the men’s fashion has evolved since 2010.
Conceivably the principal impact on menswear over the last decade wasn’t a trend or even a designer, but forums – groups of concurring men who’d meet online to discuss collective interests. They were fanatics, and nothing in a man’s wardrobe attracts like selvedge denim.
Luxury brands have a problem – their prestige is based on exclusivity, but they need to find more customers in command to hit growth targets. The solution?
–Luxury Brand Merchandise
In the 2010s, brands realised that they could still knock out high-priced couture and luggage, but also tap a new millennial and Gen Z audience by hocking logo-covered bits of, well, anything. Their prices, though still eye-watering, were in reach of the teenage wallet in a way that, say, an identified trunk wasn’t.
In a world where sneakers are omnipresent, it seems strange that, for a while, inflections were the style-aware man’s de facto footwear. They were easy, adaptable and perfect for a moment in which dress codes were comforting, but you probably still had to wear chinos to work. Then, in a few short seasons, the minimal sneaker displaced them as the office staple, and thousands of pairs of Loakes were pushed to the back of the wardrobe to make way for pairs of Common Projects Achilles or Stan Smiths.
Like the post-hipster workwear boom, forums also birthed an unusual strain of characteristic menswear nerd. Overnight, the kind of man who’d only ever shopped on the high street became versed in heirloom Italian tailoring brands, the flawless suit ‘drop’ and the detailed way to fold a pocket square.
In 2015, Vladimir Putin appeared in a photoshoot wearing a $3,200 cashmere tracksuit, and the world chuckled. The menswear heads, however, were quiet and looked around for luxe sportswear secret. They’d been wearing Brunello Cucinelli’s luxury joggers for a few seasons, first purely as off-duty wear, then to work with amorphous blazers and knitted ties. Men had realised that they could be dressed up but also be comfortable, and they weren’t going back to the thickener and toughness.
There had been glorified sneakers before, of course. Other shoes that a certain kind of man would hyperventilate over. But never a trainer that was both partial and mass-market, niche and wildly widespread. All the most silly things about sneaker culture today – raffles, resale mark-ups, pre-teens flipping shoes for grown-up money – were mainstreamed by the Yeezy 350 in 2015.
The counterpoint to straight-cut selvedge was aftermath from the noughties that, at first, appeared, like it would disappear, only to re-emerge midway through the decade on the legs of Love Island contestants.
How nostalgic is it to go back to those trends? Men, you have seen a lot in the last decade. Your fashion has upscaled. Women are having a good time watching your finesse.