I’m often asked where menswear is going or what the next big thing is. My reply is always that suits and jackets aren’t going away. Despite the rise of streetwear and drapey clothing, men’s wardrobes will continue to revolve around classic menswear. W. David Marx, author of the book Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style, explains it succinctly in Ametora Dispatches #11 — The Killer Narrative:
These are not just areas in which Japan made superior product, but also areas that mapped to the rise of #menswear — a resurgence of men in the United States caring about their wardrobe. The reason Trad worked as the catalyst was because that particular clothing genre provided an easy-to-understand narrative: dressing in long-standing traditions. Trad gave American men — who are normally so averse to the idea of fashion — a warm blanket of plausible deniability. This was not “indulging in fashion” (seen as the vain embrace of capriciously decided trends from an elite European cabal) but “reclaiming the lost culture of our fathers and grandfathers.” One could put on a well-fitting suit and tweed jacket in order to “dress like a grownup” instead of “following trends.”
But now we are in a post-Trad era. Many of its elements have won a position as basics of the decade’s style (jeans and oxford shirts aren’t going anywhere), but Trad is waning and #menswear muted. But by comparison, the new dominant style of fashion elites at the moment — I call it “drapey,” but “big silhouette” is common — is not going to explode the way Trad did. It lacks a compelling narrative beyond being “in style” nor has any links to tradition and subculture. There is no real plausible deniability to justify wearing drapey clothing. It is not dressing like your father: it’s dressing like a runway model.
Most men don’t want to look like a runway model. They want to look like grownup men. And that is why classic menswear will endure.