Remixed Knits, Monster Puffers, Kidcore: The Top Men's Trends of Fall 2022
by José Criales-Unzueta
24 January 2022
And just like that, another menswear season has come and gone, though it felt much shorter this time around. With London scrapping their men’s shows due to Omicron spikes and major brands pulling out of Pitti Uomo in Florence, we were left with mainly Milan and Paris collections to keep up with. But the brands that did show tried to make the best out of these challenging times and there was more than enough fashion to rejoice in.
When it comes to Fall, menswear tends to focus most of its efforts on solid outerwear and tailoring. For this same reason, Fall collections have the risk of feeling slightly more conservative and classic, two things most of us are a bit tired of seeing.
Luckily, pants went wider than ever before, shoulders became even more pronounced, shearling and puffer jackets underwent some serious, fashion-forward renovations and overall menswear seems to have caught up and is finally having some fun. Ahead, find 17 of this season’s biggest men’s trends for Fall 2022.
Tailored suits have been put through a lot over the last couple of seasons. Some designers are intent on blowing them up for all things oversized — think Rick Owens, Raf Simons, and Demna at Balenciaga — while others, like Thom Browne, have made shrunken proportions their signature. For Fall 2022, the tailoring experiments continue, and this time around there was a focus on all the little things. Shrunken lapels and minimized tailoring details have been spotted at 4S Designs, Egonlab, Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Bianca Saunders, Comme Des Garçons Homme Plus, Rick Owens, and Yohji Yamamoto.
On the topic of tailoring, while over the last couple of seasons the focus has been to relax the cut and fit — which some have argued is a side-effect of the pandemic — this season there was a renowned interest in fit and body, which hints at tailoring’s next evolution. While the hourglass jacket is a signature at Balenciaga, this season we saw some brands tackle their own version of a contoured torso. See inward curves in the jacket waists of Dior, Louis Vuitton, Prada, GmbH, and Vetements.
The most visible ongoing shift in menswear across the board continues to be exaggerated shoulders. Designers across the board have been experimenting with exactly how far out they can push our shoulders out, and the results vary from comically large (almost linebacker-worthy) to sharp and edgy. See Hed Mayner, Casablanca, Ernest W. Baker, Rick Owens, Alyx and Dolce & Gabbana.
Menswear’s embracing of femme aesthetics and style tropes marches on, with skirts, crop tops, and dresses increasingly on offer. Mary Janes, the popular school-girl shoe, have also left their mark on menswear runways this season. At JW Anderson, Jonathan Anderson introduced chunky, kindergarten-inspired Mary Janes, Erdem and Fendi both proposed a more classic alternative (with the latter incorporating watch straps onto theirs), Comme Des Garçons Homme Plus presented an edgier thick-soled, double-strapped version and Hed Mayner showed a compelling more relaxed sandal-like interpretation.
It’s a secret to no one that pants have been getting wider and wider over the last couple of seasons. Y2K aesthetics taking over fashion and the Gen Z vs. Millennials/skinny-or-flared jeans debacle is partly to blame, with relaxed tailoring and oversized fit trends taking the rest of it. Fall Fall 2022, though, at B+ Umit Benan, Rolf Ekroth, A-Cold-Wall, Y/Project and Dries Van Noten, width and volume in trousers have reached a new frontier.
Tighty-whities, black briefs, slouchy boxers, preppy striped boxers — this season's undies are definitely having a moment. For Fall 2022, we saw exposed boxers peeking over waistbands at Glenn Marten’s Y/Project, Virgil’s Louis Vuitton, MSGM, Alled-Martinez, and Kim Jones’ Dior (an honorable mention goes to Prada, who showed two looks with visible waistbands of what turns out are just underpants).
Exposed boxers originated in prisons, where prisoners would wear sagging pants as they would not be given belts. In fashion, they have a history rooted in Black culture and 90’s Hip-Hop, when the branded waistband became a symbol for style and yet another way of flexing buzzy brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Polo. With '90s and early 2000s aesthetics making their way back onto fashion over the last couple of seasons, it was only a matter of time before exposed boxers did too.
As menswear embraces conventionally female style tropes, we’ve seen many pieces migrate from women’s runways onto men’s. The most recurrent one has been the skirt: pleated, mini, tulle, crinolined, you name it and we’ve probably seen it at a menswear show over the last couple of seasons.
For this upcoming Fall, the styling proposal seems to be ubiquitous: skirts over pants. We’ve seen this before at Thom Browne, and this season it was present at Louis Vuitton, EGONlab., Undercover, and Steven Passaro. Honorable mention also to this trend’s less adventurous cousin: pants over pants (seen at Kiko Kostadinov, Prada and Yohji Yamamoto).
Vintage and second-hand have taken over fashion and street style the past few years. There’s nothing cooler today than wearing an archive piece by an iconic designer (Rihanna knows a thing or two about that), and few things are more rewarding than finding a perfectly worn-in piece at your favorite thrift store. For this upcoming fall, fashion is looking to replicate the feeling of a perfectly aged sweater through remixing their precious knits. We saw patchwork at Zegna and Missoni, distressing at Études and Etro, and faux-mending at OAMC.
If you liked rip and repair knitwear but are looking for something more adventurous, fear not! Some of today’s more innovative and novelty-driven designers have got you covered. While some may find these pieces confusing and unapproachable, we simply find them cool. With tangled knitwear at Rick Owens, Y/Project, and JW Anderson, you’ll be both cozy and fashion-forward. What else could you ask for?
Fashion loves rich-people hobbies as a source of inspiration, particularly winter sports (you can’t blame them, nothing sounds chicer than après-ski). Last Fall, we saw an endless amount of quilting come alive on puffer jackets for men and ski suits for women (shoutout to Miu Miu), and it seems like for this Fall the quilting obsession continues. Diamond quilting in particular has been a recurrent motif seen at 4S Designs, Ernest W. Baker, Egonlab, DSquared2, Juun.J, and Dries Van Noten.
Speaking of winter things, puffer jackets are always big for Fall, but this season, designers decided to go bigger and bolder. Some may call it warcore, others may be inclined to go deep and talk about how these stem from the need for cocooning and protection during the pandemic, but the simple fact is that it’s just really cold out there. If you always wanted a Norma Kamali sleeping bag coat but never got one, maybe one of these could be your fix: Alyx, EGONlab, Y/Project, Rick Owens (twice), or Dolce & Gabbana.
Few outerwear pieces are better for winter than a delicious shearling jacket. This season, the iconic piece came out from the shadows of being a simple menswear closet staple to becoming a main character on the runways. Some of these will make you look like your grandfather or feel like you’re about to fly a plane in WW2, but some others by the likes of Jonathan Anderson and Glenn Martens will make you think twice about calling a shearling jacket boring. See Ami, JW Anderson, Y/Project, Loewe, Sacai, and Kenzo.
Even though the industry is getting closer and closer to becoming fur-free, it seems like it still has a strong attachment to the looks of it. While shearling is always popular for Fall, this season brands looked at long-haired sheepskin and faux-fur specifically to replicate the aesthetic. While some brands like Prada, GmbH, and Alyx, focused on trims, others like Dries Van Noten, Dolce & Gabbana, Loewe, and Rhude went all out with full-on coats. Ami and EGONlab. did both.
It seems like these days there’s always a shiny new aesthetic and another word worthy of the suffix “-core.” And while Kidcore, which basically means dressing like a child (think tie-dye, cartoon-y graphic tees, mismatched prints and bright colors, and cutesy necklaces) has been trending for a few years now, this is the season where we really saw it come alive on menswear runways. After all, in these dark times we’re living, why not embrace your inner child and actually have some fun with your clothes?
Arguably a side effect of mask-wearing caused by the pandemic, balaclavas have been all over TikTok and Instagram and are now making their way to IRL fashion through runways. The reality is that the pandemic has actually made us more adventurous with fashion, and since we’re already covering half of our faces why not go the extra mile. We saw a few last Fall season for womenswear, most memorably at Miu Miu, so it makes sense that we now see them in the men's shows.
For Fall 2021 we saw an abundance of “going out” clothes make their way to the runway. In hindsight, that might have been slightly over-optimistic, though it looks like we’re ready to try again this season as sequins have made their way to more than a few collections. Acne, JW Anderson, and Dries Van Noten took a more casual and playful approach, while EGONlab., Dolce & Gabbana, Bluemarble worked them into their tailoring.
Collegiate varsity and letterman jackets have been making a comeback over the last couple of seasons. If you take a look at street-style images of the Milan and Paris shows from these past two weeks, you’ll see endless iterations of bomber jackets with varsity letter patches and motifs. Maybe menswear’s current love for varsity is nostalgia-driven — dedicated to those who really loved high school — or maybe it’s simply another layer on menswear’s desire to subvert style symbols associated with masculinity. Either way, we saw them at Kenzo, Louis Vuitton, Opening Ceremony, and Undercover.
Photos courtesy of brands