It’s easy to snigger at fashion week (no really, look): the outlandish designs, the rivers of discarded lattes, we could go on. Each season the four-day menswear circus seems to have less to do with what guys actually wear, and more about the try-hards trying very, very hard not to look like they’re trying to be photographed (which, of course, they are). But for every clown in parachute trousers, there are some glimmers of hope, and good style – stuff we could, and eventually will, wear. So, to celebrate the best (and the batshit), we’ve pulled together the highlights, lowlights and the straight-up lols from London Fashion Week Men’s AW18. Don’t worry, we don’t understand all of it, either. You’d be forgiven for thinking that ‘utilitarian menswear’ is just another buzz-phrase invented by feather-brained fashion execs to stick on press releases.
But it really is a ‘thing’. This season, collections from contemporary Danish brand Wood Wood to Tinie Tempah’s What We Wear revived this workwear-influenced look as intended: practical, warm and resplendent in wearable earth tones. In addition to the usual line-up of worker jackets, sturdy footwear and (of course) denim, for AW18 expect utilitarian features such as boxy cuts, plenty of big pockets and technical fabrics that’ll add an Action Man edge to your Monday morning commute.
Picture pinstripes and you probably imagine them wrapped around a braying financier, with a phone cradled against each ear and a lady of negotiable affection perched on his lap. The pattern’s been the unofficial uniform of bankers since the 1980s, serving as silver screen shorthand for avarice and sociopathy in Wall Street, American Psycho and The Wolf of Wall Street. Tony Montana even met his end in a chalkstripe three-piece. British bankers birthed the style in the 19th century,
though back then they were more interested in blending in than standing out. Banks each had their own stripe, varying in shade and weight, that identified who worked for which. But after they were adopted by the Chicago Cubs baseball team in 1907, then stolen (and made more famous) by their rivals, the New York Yankees, they took on a more maverick air. The Brits had worn pinstripes only on their trousers, but in the US, gangsters went for whole suits, a boldly patterned middle finger to the pursuing, funereal feds. Movie stars like Clark Gable, eager to cultivate an outlaw aesthetic, followed suit. Pinstripes were worn by glamorous, womanising men. Then suddenly, by anyone who wanted to be considered glamorous and womanising, even if they worked in insurance. The elan went and pinstripes became try-hard plumage.