My favorite thing about getting older: Learning to be unapologetic about the things I love.

You know all those “annoying” food trends that spread on Instagram?

I LOVE them.

In fact, I’ll go out of my way to get my hands on a new food trend and try them out.

I once took a 5AM train to Manhattan to get my hands on a special Cronut. And I don’t care if food writers think Speakeasies are so 2010, I’ll happily wait an hour to get into the latest one.

Why? Cause it’s new, exciting, and just plain fun.

See, trends sometimes get a bad rap. Especially when it comes to style.

I’ve preached the importance of building a timeless wardrobe here at The Essential Man, but I’ve never been anti-trend.

Telling someone to avoid trends forever is kind of like saying to someone they should only watch classic movies like The Godfather, or just eat Vanilla ice cream.

I appreciate the classics as much as the next guy, but that’s not the life I want to live.

I know I’m not alone in this either.

In fact, I get dozens of emails a week from guys who’ve read my post on building a minimalist wardrobe who want to know where to go next.

And the answer I always tell them is trends.

Trends help you break away from boring, giving it that refresh you’re looking for.

Trying to keep up with trends and incorporate them into your look naturally can be a challenge. Let me show you how you can add trends to your style without looking (or feeling) stupid, and share with you 3 of my favorite trends you can experiment with this fall.

QUICK PRIMER! WHAT EXACTLY MAKES SOMETHING A TREND?

There’s this myth that designers all gather for a secret meeting to conspire to create a trend to sell you something new.

This is where I think the backlash on trends stems from, this concept that we’re somehow being manipulated into buying something.

I’ve worked as a menswear designer for over a decade, as fun as it sounds to have some evil capitalist meeting straight out of Zoolander, that’s just not how trends work.

The truth is, trends are just coincidental ideas that brands come up with at once.

Here’s how style trends are actually “created”:

A bunch of designers show their new collections during fashion week, magazines and style writers like me will look at things that designers are doing in common.

Example of a trend report: Different designers showing dark greys and greens in the same season (via Alicia Moon)

For example, if 10 out of 15 fashion shows have models walking down the runway wearing trench coats, trench coats will be considered a trend for the new season.

Even among “timeless” styles, there are small waves of trends. For example, wider lapels are a bit more trendy right now when it comes to suits. Some men, like myself, are embracing high rise pants and pants with pleats.

The great thing is, all of this stuff is OPTIONAL.

As long as you have your foundation wardrobe filled with essentials, you can have a lot of fun by experimenting with different trends.

Want to learn how my styling clients incorporate trends into their look? Check out a guest post I did on Effortless Gent: “How to try out new trends without looking stupid”

If you’re ready to start incorporating some trends into your look, I picked out 3 big ones for this fall. I’ll walk you through what they are and give you a few ideas on how you can wear them for any situation you find yourself in.

FALL 2018 TREND #1: THE 70s

FALL 2018 TREND #1: THE 70s

The 70s are coming back this Fall, but not in a cliché bellbottom, disco way. Think Robert Redford in All The President’s Men, Jack Nicolson in Chinatown, and Mr. Roundtree as Shaft.

Key Trends:

  • Colors: Browns/yellows/tan. Red as a pop color.
  • 70s Items to try out: Turtlenecks, suede (especially tan suede jackets), shearling, western style shirts and accessories, and corduroy, especially pants.

FALL 2018 TREND #2: THE 90s

FALL 2018 TREND #2: THE 90s

This Fall is going to be a unique one, as it’s one of the first seasons where two eras are inspiring trends. Chalk it up to fashion’s post-Instagram evolution. As a child of the 90s, I got a bit of a soft spot for this one. The 90s have been big with the streetwear crowd for the past year, here’s how you can incorporate some of it into your grown-up wardrobe.

Key Trends:

  • Colors: Plaids, Animal prints, metallic details
  • 90s Items to try out: Plaid/check shirts, Rugby shirts, Trackpants, Skate shoes, Hiking style boots (e.g., Timberlands), Stripes

FALL 2018 TREND #3: MONOCHROMATIC/TONE ON TONE LOOKS

FALL 2018 TREND #3: MONOCHROMATIC TONE ON TONE

Finally, we’re going to see more stylish men wear head to toe monochromatic looks beyond the usual black. We’re already seeing a ton of celebrity stylists put leading men in head to toe brown outfits, knocking out two trends with one stone.

If wearing a single color is a bit too bold for you, you can get the same vibe and add a lot more depth by doing a bit more tone on tone (varying the light/darkness of the colors).

4 WAYS TO WEAR THESE TRENDS THIS FALL

Items shown: Topcoat by Isabel Beneato: $2275, Check shirt by A.P.C.: $295, Trousers by NN07: $175, Briefcase by Montblanc: $1025, Chelsea boots by R.M Williams: $495

Here’s a great example of a more tone on tone look. I drew inspiration from the left look I came across on Mr. Porter, combining it with the 70s trends of browns. If it’s too early for a topcoat, feel free to swap in a brown sports coat.

Items Shown: Shearling Coat by Levis Vintage Clothing: $1,200, Rugby by Todd Snyder: $168, Workwear Pants by Bonobos: $108, Explorer Boots by Thursday Boots: $249, Belt by Bonobos: $88, Two Tone Denim Laundry Bag by Clever Laundry, $75

Ok, I’m cheating a bit here since this amazing look from Robert Redford is from Ordinary People, which came out in 1980. But close enough, right? Throw this epic 70s style shearling coat over a 90s rugby, some workwear pants and boots and run some errands. Add a bit of color with this indigo laundry bag which is big enough to hold everything from weekend groceries to, you guessed it, laundry.

Items Shown: Denim jacket by RRL: $290, Fleece turtleneck by Bonobos: $98, Trackpants by Sandro: $235, Sneakers by Common Projects: $410, Socks by Blue Blue Japan: $20

I call this the hangover brunch look. I’m a big fan of low-key luxury, and we can bring this concept into more casual wear. Using an amazing photo of Oasis’ Liam Gallagher as inspiration, we make it a bit more modern with a slimmer fit denim jacket and trackpants. This is also a good opportunity to wear a cozy turtleneck as you sip that much needed cup of coffee and wait for your greasy breakfast.

My favorite shoe brand Common Projects made my 10 year old dreams come true by creating a luxe version of Van lo in suede with a contrasting leather tongue. If that’s a bit much for you, you can always go with the original classics.

And yes, it’s ok to wear some white socks with these, it’s almost a requirement.

Items Shown: Car coat by Bonobos: $398, Turtleneck by Richard and James: $695 , Cords by Beams Plus: $150, Chelsea Boots by Thursday: $199, Belt by Bonobos, $88

This date night look just screams for cheap whiskey at a dim dive bar, complete with a pool table and jukebox. A leather trench might be tricky for a lot of guys that aren’t Shaft, but let’s grab some inspiration from his color vibe.

Let’s stray away from the monochromatic look and add a bit more depth by mixing the colors a bit. A dark grey check car coat, deep burgundy turtleneck, brown cords and chelsea boots. To make sure it all vibes together, keep things on the darker side.

WHAT ARE SOME TRENDS YOU’RE GOING TO BE ADDING TO YOUR LOOK THIS FALL?

Share them in the comments below!

 

peter@theessentialman.com'
Author

Hi, I'm Peter. I spent 11 years as a menswear designer here in NYC. Now, I help some of the most successful men look really good as a Private Personal Stylist and writer of The Essential Man. You can learn more about what I do by clicking here