Above: A pin-hole shadow effect produced by a plant during this year’s solar eclipse.
Style can be finicky. Silhouettes (jackets, neckties, lapels, pants) expand and contract. Colors fall in and out of favor. Fabrics, cuts, and patterns can be all the rage one year, and then not too far after you look at an item of clothing and think… “what was I thinking?”
Yet some items seem to always look good, no matter what sort of trendy-noise is going on around them. The next total solar eclipse to hit the US does so in 2024, where it’ll sweep up through Texas, Arkansas, and on through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and New York (among others). After that, it’s on to 2045, where another total Solar Eclipse will follow a West to East path similar to this past Monday’s event, albeit a bit further south. I’m willing to bet a pair of ISO 12312-2 glasses that most of, if not all of these menswear items will still, STILL be in favor come 2045. And if I’m wrong? First person that comes and finds my sexagenarian arse will get a pair of them glasses on my dime. Assuming I’m still solvent and breathing. (I plan on being both. I mean, I have hats to wear, but, you never know.)
(restrained) Aviator Style Sunglasses
Not the big, googly, Maverick in Top Gun shades. The ones the Apollo astronauts wore. Good enough for going to the moon, good enough for getting to mars. (Shown Above: The American Optical Original Pilot, and a pair of Randolph Engineering Aviators.)
A Navy Blue Wool Sportcoat or Blazer
Sure, the bright gold or shined up brass button look might have fallen out of favor, but the basics are still the same. Quality wool, deep navy color, two buttons, and lapels that aren’t razor thin nor hugely fat. Goes with everything from wool trousers to crisp chinos to dark denim. (Shown above is a Crosby fit J. Crew Legacy blazer from a few years back.)
The Oxford Cloth Button Down Shirt
Band collar shirts come and go (why they come back is beyond me), but the button down collar is here to stay. And oxford cloth? Sure, it’s a little thick for the hotter months, but for spring, fall, and winter, it balances a certain laid-back vibe with still looking put together. (Shown above is Amazon’s “Goodthreads” button down.)
The Single Breasted, Notch Lapel, Above-the-Knee Wool Topcoat
Double breasted might sometimes become more fashionable. Peak lapels can come and go. And the length of the coat will always be expanding and contracting. But this is the bedrock piece of cold weather outerwear for grown men. Color? Charcoal, mid-grey, or navy is timeless. Some would argue so is camel, albeit a bit more flashy. (Shown above: Last year’s wool/cashmere option from Charles Tyrwhitt.)
The Dive Watch
Functional. Sharp. Easy to dress up or down. Tough. And you can spend as much or as little as you’d like on one.
Fitted, but not skin tight, Crew Neck T-shirts
Remember the super deep-v trend? Right. More modest v-neck tees are still very much in fashion, but… well, if it was good enough for the Fonz, it’ll be good enough for hologram Henry Winkler come 2045. (Shown above: one of Gustin’s USA Made Crew Neck Tees)
The Suede Chukka
Comfortable, handsome, and crazy versatile. Whether they be worn in the cold or heat, they work. (Shown above: Nordstrom’s 1901 Barrett chukka. Full review here.)
The Single Breasted, 2 button, flat front w/ med. break Navy Suit
Lapels will wax and wain as fashion changes. The jacket length will rise and fall. But if you keep the proportions from drifting into either extreme, then you should be good. More navy suits can be found here.
Beards have been in for a while now, but being clean shaven will never go out of style. It’s professional and smart looking.
Hand writing a Thank-you Note
This is a stretch to put it in the “menswear” category, but just because it’s not something you wear doesn’t mean it doesn’t reflect your personal sense of style. (Shown above: AoM’s letterpress stationery)
Straight or Slim (not skinny) Dark Denim
Not baggy. Not painted on. A straight fit or a well proportioned slim fit jean. Yet, this is actually one of the items on this list that might not make it to 2045. Denim is becoming less and less denim-y (unless you’re into the raw thing) as more and more synthetic, stretchy (and damn comfortable) fibers get woven in. Will that eventually lead to the Blue-Jean’s demise? Who knows. Dark wash jeans have been around for decades. And they look great on everybody. (Shown above: Banana Republic’s Rapid Movement denim in a straight fit.)
A little bit of matte hair product. Not a lot. A little.
The greased or cemented look comes and goes. But a little bit of hair product, just enough to provide some hold and texture without blinding levels of shine, will always be a good look. If you’re lucky enough to have hair. (Shown above: L’oreal Homme’s “Mat” hair product.)
Dark Brown Oxfords
Yes, walnut (and other lighter, bolder shades of brown) are having their time in the sun. As are monk straps. But the humble dark brown oxford will never go out of style. And, as shown above on the Allen Edmonds Cornwallis, even a dark brown oxford can be sexed up a bit.
The Bald-Guy Bic or Buzz Cut
Because the alternatives are just so terrible. Fellas, fire it before it quits on you.
Flat front, crease free, Slim but not tight Cotton Chinos
You think it’d be tough to screw up cotton pants, but the 90s sure showed us how. Those pleated, balooning, stiff khakis were awful. Now, we’ve got access to multiple fits, tons of colors, and even a range of weights to the fabric depending on the season. (Shown above is a pair of BR lightweight chinos from last summer.)
Being in Shape
Like dark denim, this might not be all the rage in 2045 either. The tea leaves might be telling us that there’s a shift coming on, with (and this is just a small sign) e-sports leagues becoming a legitimate entertainment industry. Lemme put it this way. My Grandfather never understood why the hell anyone would want to go to a gym or workout. He’d pull a 12 hour shift at the General Motors plant, then come home and collapse into his easy chair. The manual labor of his work day was enough to chew him up. Now that many (most?) of us have sedentary jobs, we lift up and put down heavy objects created… so we can lift them up and put them down. Does that not seem, at least a little… ridiculous? We run when nothing is chasing us. We hop on a bike and ride around in a loop until we’re tired. Maybe, just maybe, this is the last gasp of humans putting value on strong muscle groups. Maybe through technology we’ll some how move past that? Not saying it’s a good or a bad thing. I just wouldn’t be surprised if it happened.
The Crisp, White, Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirt
You can have your extreme cutaways or roaring 20’s inspired point collars. Gimmie a versatile, semi spread any day. (Shown above: Ledbury’s Fine Twill semi-spread.)
The Crisp, Light Blue, Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirt
Along with the white option, you could stock your closet full of nothing but these and look darn good between now and 2045. (Also shown above: Ledbury’s Fine Twill semi-spread.)
A Simple, minimalist Dress Watch between 38-42mm in Diameter
Hard to get classier than that. Yet… will the wrist watch, one day, go the way of the pocket watch? (Shown Above: Hamilton’s small seconds Railroad Automatic.)
Merino Wool V-Neck Sweaters
Smoother and lighter than a chunky lambswool, yet nowhere near the cost of cashmere. V-necks are perfect for layering over collard shirts, whether they be dress shirts or dressed down button ups. (Shown above, UNIQLO’s merino wool v-neck.)
And remember, if I’m wrong? Feel free to remind me of this come 2045.