Every new year brings with it a slew of trends that slowly permeate the menswear scene. Some are a force of nature, like double monks or unstructured jackets. Others are more subtle, like high button stances or untipped ties. Either way, they are an unavoidable phenomenon and definitely affect the landscape of the menswear market. Many of these trends can be fun to experiment with, but in the end-of-the year spirit I’ll highlight some that I believe have overstayed their welcome.
Part I: The Skinny Tie/Collar/Lapel Combo
Perhaps it was an unavoidable swing in proportions, but this trend really took hold a few years back and has been pushed hard by GQ and the like ever since. Skinny ties, skinny lapels, and weak collars became the norm several years ago and are still holding strong at many high-end retailers and mall brands alike; what was once being pushed by high fashion houses is now peddled by J. Crew and Banana Republic, a sure sign that the trend is waning.
The biggest problem with the skinny aesthetic is that it tends to make a garment look a bit lifeless; there are no handsome collar and lapel rolls, and skinny ties have no drape in their blades or depth to their knot; instead, these items are static and flat. There is simply not enough fabric to go around.
Moreover, these items work against each other rather than joining forces to create a professional look. Even the nicest dress shirts with small collars can’t lie over a tie well, and when the collar points stop short of the jacket lapel it creates a visual incongruity that wouldn’t exist if the collar was of a decent size (I discuss the importance of having an appropriately wide collar here). All told, it’s a trendy look that is post-peak at best, and I’m looking forward to it disappearing completely.
For the time being, I suppose I’ll have to continue avoiding products that include these ‘slim’ details, even if the quality and price are good. My hope is that the coming year will see an outward blossoming of lapels, ties, and collars in the few brands left on the “slim-is-in” bandwagon (looking at you, J. Crew). A few small changes would go a long way, and I’d say we’re well overdue.
Photos via Bonobos, J. Crew, Indochino, and GQ.