The 5 Biggest Menswear Trends For Autumn/Winter

This was the season in which menswear completely unfurled its freak flag. In AW19, all that rule-breaking and ostentatiousness that’s been bubbling under for the past half-decade erupted in a carnival of colours, prints and sumptuous fabrics.

But menswear’s more-is-more moment makes it surprisingly tough to identify trends. Anything is fair game right now, from sportswear to tailoring, spray-on leather to super-loose velvet.

To help, we’ve broken down the looks that appeared across multiple runways and which we can imagine actually adding to our wardrobes. Some might seem discordant, even oppositional, but that’s why AW19 is best summed up not by a look, but by a mindset. Right now, menswear is experimental. It’s personal. It’s transgressive. And that makes it more fun than it’s ever been before.

Rock God

Those looking to turn their wardrobe up to 11 can pick their poison for AW19. Rick Owens put a goth spin on glam with Kiss-influenced platform shoes and skintight black jeans, while at Celine, Hedi Slimane channelled New Wavers with his black suits and blacker shades. Punk was ubiquitous, especially (and appropriately) in London – see Liam Hodges’ shredded tailoring and John Lawrence Sullivan’s leather trousers – while that frontman go-to, leopard print, was spotted everywhere from Neil Barrett to Dior. Serve mixed with teen spirit.

How To Wear It

Like the music, the rock look exists on a spectrum. The easiest way in will always be via black jeans and a leather jacket, but this season a black suit and chunky Derbies or brothel creepers is an even better way to join the band. Or, just add some animal print: a printed coat if you’re feeling brave; a tonal shirt if you’re not.

Grown-up Sportswear

Man-made fabrics, from nylon to polyester, were all over this season’s runways, turtles be damned (although the prevalence of reclaimed and recycled fabrics can soothe your conscience somewhat). The master was, as ever, Prada, which deployed head-to-toe nylon for shellsuits you could wear to a job interview. Craig Green did his weirdo romantic thing with screen-printed pac-a-macs and tracksuit king Cottweiler branched out into sharp but sporty outerwear (the buckle-up trenches were particularly dreamy). At Alyx, Matthew Williams went big on black plastic outerwear that was perfect for heading to the gym after the apocalypse.

How To Wear It

This season’s sportswear was about going covert. For AW19, function brings more clout than big logos, so stick to muted colours and little to no detailing. The power move is sportswear details on non-obvious sportswear pieces – nylon shirting, taped sweatshirts or even, as at Dior, nylon tailoring. Think suits for the track, not tracksuits for the office.

Urban Explorer

Designers doubled-down on practicality this season, to the point that it started to look a bit impractical again. If last year was about hiking clothes for the city, this season saw outward-bound details tweaked for urban survival. At Alyx, that translated to knee-length shell coats and all-over camo (a look accessorised with what looked like a sleeping bag). On a brighter note, Kenzo opted for primary colour fleeces and zip-off hiking trousers, and showcased the kind of swaddling puffers and Doctor Who-sized scarves that also appeared at Loewe, Valentino and Fendi.

How To Wear It

Start from outerwear in. A knee-length puffer is the quickest – and cosiest – approach, and if you can’t stretch to the high-end versions, rest assured that the high street will be dropping its iterations imminently. Next, boots. It’s long been advised that you steer away from bright colours lest you look like you’re actually going hiking, but this season, Day-Glo footwear has stepped into the city.

Student Chic

With every decade since the 1950s trending in some way, it’s unsurprising that AW19 runways have a nostalgic feel, as though the designers had been rummaging through their local vintage shops. At times, it made for a student wardrobe vibe, albeit at far-from student prices. There were duffle coats at Berluti and Valentino, corduroy tailoring at Oliver Spencer and zip-up track tops at Gucci and Dunhill. Most studenty of all, it was often worn all mixed up, as though the models had woken up bleary-eyed and grabbed whatever was to hand before heading out to grab a pack of Marlboros and some paracetamol.

How To Wear It

Start by going for a rummage through your local vintage shop (or your dad’s clothes in the loft). You’re looking for each era’s key pieces – think ’60s duffle coats, ’70s corduroy, ’80s leather jackets or ’90s sportswear. Then bung them all on however feels right.

Accessories Overload

As though affronted by the appearance of ludicrously sized coin pouches, the rest of fashion blew up its bags. As you’d expect from a luggage house like Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh showed backpacks big enough to camp inside (perfect for drop day queues). Hermès blew minds with a bigger, better version of its iconic Birkin bag, which were bested only by Kim Jones’s killer holdalls at Dior (see also: his space-age cross-body bags and chest-rigs, which offer the same storage but still leave your hands free).

How To Wear It

The beauty of a big bag is that you’ll always find things to fill it with, from spare phone chargers to an extra jumper, in case the weather turns. If you go for one that’s a bit interesting – think novel colours or unexpected fabrics – you’ll create a focal point that lifts whatever else you’re wearing.

New Tailoring

This was quite possibly the season that suits officially returned. No collection was complete without at least one, ideally five or six, and at Louis Vuitton, Dior and Celine, it seemed as everything had a tailored element. We saw funeral suits (Prada, Ermenegildo Zegna), patterned suits (Berluti, Dries van Noten) and an unexpected glut of velvet suits (Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci), just in time for party season. It wasn’t the death-knell for sportswear – Cottweiler’s tracksuit-suits nailed that Venn diagram beautifully – but all that tailoring did perhaps signal a shift to more considered ways of getting dressed. In other words, these are the kind of suits you wear because you want to. Not because you have to.

How To Wear It

The key takeaway would be: however the hell you want. Think suits with something unexpected, be that something as simple as a boxy fit, all the way up to embroidery. Alternatively, play with fabric or colour; bottle green, brown or even black are easy but more attention-grabbing alternatives to navy.