The Fashion Forecast of 2014: 8 Menswear Essentials

As Thomas Jefferson once stated, “On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

Novels and books on chivalry and icons of knighthood have allowed men to strengthen their etiquette and principles as they swim the waters of how to be gentlemanly and die hard dapper, mostly to woo the fairer sex at the expense of envy of fellow lads. When it comes to style, aforementioned colors and hues are one thing, but there are some staples in a man’s wardrobe that are irreplaceable. Certain pieces and styles are quintessential to modern survival. Behold 8 such styles.

Printed Classics

A solitary, monochromatic wardrobe is a great way to say hello from 2008. The modern man not only has splashes of color in his suits, shirts, socks, underwear, bowties and pocket squares, but has embraced prints too. A striped coat, leopard printed sleeves of a bomber, a polka suit, or even printed trousers. The key is to take something classic, fitted classically, and simply upgrade to a printed edition. Simple enough to retain masculinity with a splash of mischief. Logos like Louis Vuitton and Gucci work for some, while trending stripes or polka work for others. I personally dig animal print, forever.

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Tunic, aka Kurta

Originating from the Middle East and India, a loose fitting, translucent fine cotton or linen shirt is probably the most comfortable of all things to adorn for a man. Tunic style dressing is often indicative of yesteryears, but it makes for a terrific spring and summer cover up that makes your beach body somewhat visible and less cringe inducing than spandex shirts, but still covered up enough to sip drinks by a setting sun. The key is to keep it oversized, punchy colored, often embellished, and comfortable. Bottega Veneta showcases the comfy, flowing tunic, while Dolce and Gabbana combines the print trend with oversized sweateshirts of sorts. Longer Indian style kurtas or firmer materialed Indo westerns take things in a more formal direction, nonetheless easy to pair with jeans or trousers.

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Athletic Style

Akin to last year when the sporty fashion trend was just blooming, runways have shown it to be in full swing for guys who like to display athleticism in non-athletic avenues. Neoprene hoodies, jumpsuit style trousers, the infiltration of mesh and the surge of sweatpants have been forecasted by every designer house from Louis Vuitton to Kenzo. From surfer chic to gym dudes to biker boys, the inspirations are endless. The Jodhpur inspired trouser in particular is a bridge between sporty and style, perhaps momentarily bidding adieu to the haute world of skinny.

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Cowboy Inspiration

If we have cowgirls this season, the cowboys are sure to not keep far behind. Fitted denim, slick alcohol pouches, smoldering rugged faces, and rusty reds and oranges of plaid all sum up to constitute this macho trend. Plaid in particular continue to inspire trends outside of the immediate cowboy attire, retaining the sunset hues and masculine charm.

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Cropped vs Boxy Suits

Suit styles will always be a staple in fashion forecasts, owing to a permanently etched place in male wardrobes. Almost like at war with low rise trousers and jeans, suit jackets have crept upwards from the hip and waist lines. Finishing up higher on the torso is indicative of an abdominal muscle trend, which guys strive for, and now apparently strive to showcase too. In terms of buttons, it’s either a threesome or a solitary single. The simultaneous trend of the fifties suit is also back, with higher waists and spread collars, but updated with modern fittings, a trend I hope to see as more of a fad than a fundamental. And lastly we have square cut jackets, somewhat filled up to give men a breather from ultra-slimming cuts, and giving a rather sharp, yet boxed up impression.

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Varsity Jackets

Reaping the benefits of the athletic trend is a college boy’s favorite varsity jacket, a trend that has met with quite some dissatisfaction from those that claim it cannot cross the Ivy League boundaries. Nonetheless, designers have plucked these out of dormitories and whipped them into a fashion trend, with Bottega Veneta’s officially orchid hue being my personal favorite. Mixing the leathers, metallic, sheers and punchy tones of summer, but retaining the essence of varsity, the trend has been seen on many-a-celebrity for validation.

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Signature Scarves

In an era when skinny ties and hipster bowties are hitting retail stores more frequently than storms hit New York, the signature scarf comes as a versatile, laid back trend to devour. Wearing it in a crisp knot with a suit, in aloof artist style with free flowing dyed fabrics and water colored hues, or opting for the effortless infinity scarf (snood as I love to call it) are all a sign of a man’s new signature accessory. Manish Malhotra opts for traditional lengths and patchwork, while Burberry Porsum’s polka and suit combination wins my vote. And it’s called signature for a reason, for men can choose to wear it as they please: even alone on chiseled pectorals.

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Men’s Bags

The one thing we need to thank Apple for is that they invented the iPad, a male friendly accessory that’s too big for pockets, which mandates a bag. From backpacks to briefcases to suitcases to murses, there is always a spot for a quintessential and evolutionarily more important accessory in which a man can carry his belongings. Keeping it functional like the Louis Vuitton suitcase-backpack, or a clutch by Gucci, brands have experimented with classic leather styles a la Feragammo or color saturated and printed suitcases, duffels and backpacks, including hybrids of all the above. For a man’s gotta carry his junk around too!

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After recapping the evolutionary nature of generally non-experimental menswear trends, its time to eye the shops for a rather mandatory style upgrade for most men. What are you waiting for?

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