Prognosticating the ebb and flow of Men’s style is not easy. But that doesn’t mean we can’t throw a few mental darts at the board. Note that these aren’t necessarily endorsements/wishes. Just predictions.
Social Media usage, and its influence, starts to falter
I truly believe one day we’ll look at social media the way we now look at cigarettes. People who are really “good” at consuming this stuff think they’re hip, look cool, and (sadly) believe they’re more of an individual than the pack. Yet more and more of us are starting to view those who are constantly on social media as… pathetic. Addicts who are easily manipulated by the large corporations behind this thing they can’t get out of their hands and minds. It’s over. No one cares about your selfie (because they’re too busy taking their own, of which you don’t care about). Oh, and give us a follow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, won’t you?
“I can’t remember the last time this thing made me feel good.”
Buy-Now-Pay-Later Installment Shopping cannibalizes the customer base
There have been a lot of “get this sweater now, pay for it in 4 easy installments later!” gimmicks popping up across retailers lately. One could argue that if they’re interest free, then perhaps it’s better than racking up high interest credit card debt. But there is a (weird) argument that high interest on credit cards should act as a disincentive. It’s not very nice, and predatory behavior should be punished, but there’s a price to pay for getting it now, even though you don’t have the money. This quad-payment/after-bill nonsense removes the disincentive, and only encourages people to overspend even more. One would think this might increase the user’s chance of insolvency? Which means they’ll have zero money to spend later at the retailer. Nice work guys! Let’s eat our young!
Trashy Fast Fashion starts to slip
There’s only so many times someone can be conned into buying a piece of crap that (surprise) ends up being a piece of crap and leaves them feeling disappointed that it was such a piece of crap before they realize that these fast-fashion brands they buy from ONLY MAKE PIECES OF CRAP.
Fast fashion. Faster to the trash than the rest.
2nd Hand goes mainstream
Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and now Nordstrom. All are big-time traditional retailers who have embraced the trend of selling 2nd hand. And Nordy wants to pay you in gift cards for your stuff: “Nordstrom said it will issue gift cards in exchange for customers’ used clothing, handbags, shoes, jewelry and watches, which will be cleaned and repaired as needed before being resold.” Interesting. Now to be fair, it’s really Nordstrom jumping on board that makes me think this could work. Nordy seems to do everything right. Macy’s and JC Penney on the other hand could invent a cold-fusion machine and I’d be skeptical. Plus, they’d just lose the thing under a pile of clearance rack crap. “Hey Mike! You know where we put the cold-fusion machine?” “Ahhh, last time I saw it it was under the pile of 3-for-1 Tasso Elba sweaters from 2006.”
More athleisure. And athleisure branches out.
I tried to resist. And I lost. You guys kept telling me you wanted it. And y’know? As long as you follow some simple, common sense rules, you can still look pretty decent wearing this stuff. Plus their focus on technical-fabrics, sleekness, and true performance can pay off. Meanwhile, look for athleisure brands to branch out into more traditional styles. Like stuff to look semi-professional in. Why? Money of course. Because now that they have you in their joggers, one way to get more money out of you is to convince you that you also need their chinos. Business!
I fought the Lu, and the Lu won.
Righteousness as a marketing strategy grows
I believe the following two things can co-exist in the same universe:
- It’s good to value companies and brands that say their products are green, sustainable, ethical, free range, and aren’t made from freshly-born baby seals clubbed to death with stolen artifacts.
- It’s still a marketing strategy used to sell you more stuff.
Bonobos, Spier & Mackay, and Todd Snyder will all look great in 2020
Not just good. Great. Of course, all of them do have their drawbacks and challenges. Bonobos is trying to fight off any creeping influence from Wal-Mart. Spier and Mackay has their stock issues (stuff still sells out fast). And Todd Snyder is expensive. But in terms of who might make the most drool worthy stuff in 2020? I’m thinking these three will excel. Also prepped for a good year, I think? Banana Republic (again), Nodus Watches, and Huckberry’s exclusive Proof performance clothes and Rhodes boots lines.
Bonobos looks to look pretty top-shelf this year.
Jeans start to fall out of favor
The rise of tech-fabrics and athleisure must have, at least in part, led to the stretchification of men’s denim over the last 5-10 years. The rigid, selvedge “these things were made on shuttle looms. SHUTTLE LOOMS” renaissance was the equal and opposite reaction to that stretchification. And here we are, I think, seeing denim sorta-kinda-maybe burning out. I hope this isn’t true, but I think jeans might take a step back in 2020.
Whimsy has its moment
Grown men recently went absolutely bananas over a sweater with a cute teddybear (and various versions thereof) on the front. Bonobos is making OCBDs with totes-adorbs snails (or robots!) on them. This stuff is spreading. I don’t quite get it myself, but a ton of other dudes do.
To all the Whimsy haters (Joe included), Polo bear serves up a steaming cup of shut the *bleep* up.
A new brand (or 12) promises to pass along major savings to its customers by selling DIRECTLY to them over the internet!
“No middlemen! We only sell directly to you over the internet! Major savings!” This is not new. At all. Quit it with the dumb flow charts of how traditional retail works, and how your “new” business model works. “But the arrows! We have so many fewer arrows!” We’ve seen it. We get it. And we reserve the right to still give you the side-eye.
Suit jackets, sportcoats, and blazer tails STOP getting chopped
Stop. Chopping. The damn jacket tails. Super-short tails make the wearer look boxy and awkward. Suit jackets, sportcoats, and blazers are supposed to make the wearer look slimmer and more athletic. Chopping the tails does the opposite. It makes you look like SpongeBob SquarePants. To avoid this problem, stick with Suitsupply and Spier & Mackay. Thankfully, they do not do this.
WHO LIVES IN A PINEAPPLE UNDER THE SEA?
January goes by in a flash!
Where’d that month go? Maybe it’s under the Macy’s clearance pile with the cold fusion machine.
Got a prediction of your own for men’s style in 2020? Got some inside intel you’d like to share that proves one of these predictions wrong? Send those in to email@example.com.