It’s inevitable. Every January we find ourselves repeating the adage “new year, new me”. Usually accompanied by a laundry list of resolutions which, if you’re like us, are usually abandoned before February.
But while your mileage on “new year, new me” may vary, there’s one thing that changes with each year whether we like it or not. The current fashion trends.
Yes, time marches ever onward, and that which used to be trendy is now an artifact. And unless you’re comfortable joining them in a museum, now’s the time to take a look at your wardrobe for the new year.
To help you look your best in the months to come, here are the key 2022 fashion trends to keep your eye on.
- Brands Matter
The first item of note that we need to look at is branding.
Over the last decade or so, it became the norm to indulge in so-called “fast-fashion” offerings. And you can see the appeal. They were an easy way to maintain a current look on a tight budget.
But of late, there’s been pushback against the fast-fashion business model. Detracters point to the inherent disposability of the garments, and the implications that has for the environment. Likewise, that the clothes are so cheap is often only possible thanks to some less-than-ethical labor practices.
Hence why more conventional brands have been able to make a comeback. They tend to demand a higher price point, but many of them can that they don’t have the same negative qualities as their fast-fashion peers.
And best of all, men are spoiled for choice in 2022. For only a few examples, check out this list of some of the top clothing brands for men.
- Ethical Fashion
Per the previous list item, modern men are more socially, environmentally, and ethically conscious consumers than past generations. And the movement against fast fashion is only one way that those qualities are manifesting themselves.
The choice of materials is one key front. Rather than clothes made from hybrid synthetic materials, many men are favoring either organic cotton or recycled polyester wherever possible.
The latter is particularly interesting. The technology to turn plastic waste like bottles and containers into clothing has been around for years. But right now we’re seeing a broad expansion of its use, with shoes, bags, and textiles made from recycled plastics all becoming quite popular.
Animal welfare is another cause du jour. Save the Duck is a good example, producing synthetic alternatives for natural down jackets and the like.
Besides protecting animals and the environment, many popular brands also boast of their initiatives to give back to communities, purchase carbon offsets, or otherwise have a positive impact on the world.
To make a fashion statement as well as a moral one, we recommend you research what brands take stands that align with your personal beliefs and priorities.
- Out With the Old
Those first two list items dealt with general trends than style advice. They’re thoughts to keep in the back of your mind as you go through the process of filling out your wardrobe for the years. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the best clothes essentials for your day-to-day use.
First things first, you’ll want to go over your current closet and start weeding things out. Some items will be obvious selections for either the donation bin or for recycling, you would know your wardrobe better than anyone.
Once you’ve your collection down to the items that you’d like to keep, it’s time to do a full try-on of everything you have. After all, a lot can change in a year, particularly when it comes to our dimensions.
Fitting a shirt to your build is a great place to start. Again, this is a personal activity, and you may encounter special difficulties if you have particularly long arms or broad shoulders. If that describes you, you might consider giving tall-fit shirts a try, or shirts with stretch-fit materials.
Next, you’ll need to make sure you have the pants to match. Slim, straight, or relaxed fit, the only right answer is which one best complements your frame. Don’t give in to pressure to squeeze into something that doesn’t suit you just because it’s trendy.
Based on what’s either grossly out-of-date or ill-fitting, you should be able to clear up plenty of room for new pieces.
- Assembling the Basics
Okay, so with your wardrobe tidied up, we can now get to the fashion advice proper. And the first step in each yearly update should be to rebuild your foundation.
If you went through the previous step, you should have worked out more or less what your sizes are for all your keystone garments. From here, start by replacing the core items like your basic jeans, t-shirts, and undergarments. Once you have your foundation, an easy way to start upgrading it is to add some new layering pieces.
For example, the classic, leather varsity jacket is a very hip piece right now. Specifically, you want one wide-cut and boxy variety of the like you’d have seen in the early 90s. 90s nostalgia is going to be a bit of a running them in this guide, as you’ll see soon enough.
If the varsity jacket isn’t quite to your taste, the hooded safari jacket is another happening alternative that you can make use of just as well.
- 2022 Is the Year of Maximalism
Now, maximalism isn’t a word you’re likely to have heard often. So what is it? Well, if the last decade was marked by minimalism being in vogue, then maximalism is the response to that.
It runs about as far in the other direction as you can without hitting full-on John Waters territory.
So where do you draw the line between maximalism and high camp? A helpful way to look at it is that whereas camp is meant to provoke by being so garish, maximalism is more about the economy of clothing. It’s about using every inch of fabric in a bold way.
The key to using this concept effectively is personalization. Anyone can throw together a mishmash of loud colors and patterns. But only you can combine them in such a way as to make a personal statement.
Depending on your personality, this could mean dressing head-to-toe in a single, repetitive pattern. Or it could mean having a relatively mundane outfit with a single loud amendment as a centerpiece.
If intense patterns and colors aren’t your things, you can also experiment with dramatic silhouettes. Extra-long cardigans, flared trousers, really anything that cuts a distinctive figure.
Another popular choice among designers is to give men the ability to show a bit more skin. Cut-off style shirt sleeves that expose the bicep are a popular example that most men can make work with ease. Ripped and distressed jeans are likewise making a comeback for much the same reason.
- Catch the Eye
We alluded to this in part during the last section, but the vibe of 2022 is all about being seen. Maybe it’s 90s nostalgia. Maybe it’s a reaction to the two years of COVID, social distancing, and intermittent periods of isolation.
Whatever the case, it’s all about injecting some light, color, and flavor into your daily fashion choices. That’s not to say you need to throw all of your comfortable neutrals in the donation pile. On the contrary, a pop of color against a neutral backdrop is just what 2022 demands.
A splash of red or pink can make your joggers and sweats as eye-catching as they are comfortable. Psychedelic prints, digital patterns, and floral motifs can likewise add some flavor to an otherwise workaday outfit.
The idea is to have fun with it. After all, we’ve had enough greys and monotone over these last few years, wouldn’t you agree?
- Keep It Fresh: 90s Style
All throughout the 2010s and even into the 2020s, it seemed like 80s nostalgia would never end. But at last, the clock has turned forward, and we now find ourselves in the golden age of 90s throwbacks.
Now unless you’re particularly dedicated, you probably don’t want to commit to the full Fresh Prince look. However, there’s still plenty of 90s inspiration that you can pull from.
Ball caps and snapbacks with conspicuous branding are all easy additions to any outfit. Whether or not you opt for the classic sideways placement is to your discretion, but we’d keep it front-and-center if it was us.
If hats aren’t for you, you still have plenty of options. Tees and sweats with large, bold logs are cropping up on runways lately, and are something anyone can pull off. Complete the look with some loose jeans and checkered Vans a la Jeff Spicoli for a classic 90s look.
- Clothing for the Commute
As with all things fashion, your workwear could stand for a makeover this year as well.
What this means for you depends on how you make it work every day. If you walk or cycle to work, then you’ll be wise to prioritize comfort over aesthetics, of course. But even so, you don’t need to abandon fashion altogether.
You’ll be pleased to know that work-leisure syles aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. For the office, casual suits or a smart polo with chinos are still more-than-acceptable in nearly all spaces. And of course, if you’re lucky enough to still be able to telecommute, then the world is your oyster.
- Outdoor-Inspired Looks
It would seem that two years of being discouraged from going out is starting to get to people, influencing some of the trends that are coming into vogue. A thing called “gorpcore” is one such example.
Maybe not the most pleasant word to the ears, “gorpcore” comes from the phrase “Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts”— hiker parlance for trail mix. Knowing that the trend makes a lot more sense because it’s a style inspired by the sort of functional, outdoorsy wear favored by nature enthusiast types.
As trends go, it’s one of the more inherently comfortable and practical ones. And it’s an easy look to assemble, using a lot of earth tones with splashes of safety orange as accent pieces. Maybe it’s a little twee for some sensibilities, but the casual and effortless style has one its share of proponents on the catwalk and the streets alike.
- Date Night Looks
More and more, we’re being encouraged to rejoin the world and live our lives again. And for the lucky ones among us, that means date night.
In the past, quick and easy athleisure looks were usually considered acceptable for a casual date. In 2022, however, it won’t cut it any longer.
Denim is making a comeback in 2022, and for a date, avoid the distressed looks we mentioned earlier. Instead, opt for some tasteful dark wash jeans with a classy turtleneck.
If that’s not your style, or the climate doesn’t allow it, a sensible crewneck layered with a blazer is perfectly acceptable. Consider adding a pocket square to give the look a needed pop of color.
- Travel Essentials
In addition to dating, we’re also starting to travel in numbers again. As you’d imagine, your travel wear should reflect your destination, so there are a few routes that you can take.
There are, however, a few key items that will serve you well no matter where you’re headed. A solid backpack or duffle bag is essential. And wrinkle-resistant materials are always king when you hit the road.
Keeping Current With the Latest Fashion Trends
Style trends change with the tides. And like Sisyphus pushing his boulder, their pursuit is an ongoing task that can never be said to be completed.
That’s not to say that you should forgo fashion trends, mind you. Just as we can imagine Sisyphus happy, we too can enjoy the changing of the times and the bold new expressions that come with them.
In the course of doing so, be sure to keep up with our latest lifestyle and fashion news and advice.