Traditionally, menswear has strict seasonal boundaries: jumpers and dark hues for autumn winter, short sleeves and mankles for the summer months. But it’s a rulebook that doesn’t allow for the reality of how men wear clothes: namely that for most men, a couple of perrenials should last all year long. In this spirit, there’s been an increasing winterfication of the summer wardrobe in menswear.
“I think men are quite random about their wardrobe,” says psychologist Ros Taylor. “It’s like, they bought a hat in winter and felt they cut a dash with it, so why change a winning formula for a season change? As women, we coordinate, and buy magazines to inform us of the latest shoe combos. Men tend to wear what’s in their wardrobe.”
Witness David Beckham hitting the gym in a black vest and a beanie, Harry Styles wearing a sheepskin shirt jacket with a T-shirt, and Pharrell, who has been mixing seasonal looks for years, combining loafers with preppy jumpers and cardigans with quarter-length trousers. It’s been happening on the catwalk for a while, too.
Gucci’s Alessandro Michele is never scared of mixing summer and winter: knitted shorts, coats with sandals, shorts with wooly hats, while Prada went for the boarding school boy look – shorts with coats in its spring/summer 2016 collection.
It’s indicative of a sea change in menswear, a relaxation of what’s acceptable. “You can see it in the way men are working active wear into their day-to-day looks, whether that’s a cycling jacket with tailoring or Lycra with a parka,” says Simon Chilvers, head of menswear at Matchesfashion.
This rule-breaking new era comes as sartorial tribes are mixing things up, combining differing styles in one look: the prefix of “new” on so many trends (new lad, new preppy, new grunge) suggests just that. “As far as men go they have traditionally been less seasonally conscious than women,” adds Chilvers. There are another reasons too. As the weather in one day lurches from blue skies to bursts of rain, it pays to sartorially hedge your bets and, like Joey in Friends, wear everything at once.