Male fashion is as cyclical as a bachelor’s cleaning routine.
Trends come into being then fade, only to rise up once more ten years down the line when the next generation smokes too much of the newest synthetic drugs and decide to wear their parent’s clothes ironically.
Much like a wheel, it also means that sometimes you’re left on the wrong side of things. Before you can say ‘Thrift Store’ you’re being mentally crushed to death by the image of a man in a flowery shirt and hippie sandals.
I blame a lot of celebrities.
Clothes capture the mood of society. While some people wear the same thing everyday, fashion continues to evolve.
Here are some of the worst male fashion offenders of recent memory that we hope stay dead and buried:
1 The Fedora
I don’t know if a piece of clothing has ever been ruined so hard just by association, but thanks to a streak of internet denizen thinking that it completes any look, the fedora is fully off the table of fashion.
2 Popped Polo shirts
Probably at the other end of the spectrum, the “bros” go-to item is the polo shirt.
While some are happy to wear it “as-is”, some have a little bit of pretension, and pop the collar up, presumably to make themselves stand out?
Way to go, you special little snowflake.
3 Words with squares and writing
“Copenhagen,” says the t-shirt with faded bamboo growing on it. “New York, est. 1978” says a maroon jumper, confusingly.
I get it. Design is all about arousing a feeling inside someone, and playing with ratios and colours, but you can’t just pick a city and some numbers at random and call it fashion.
4 Wearing a bowtie if you’re not a professor, Bill Nye, or at a wedding
There’s a reason people call ties ‘nooses’, but you’re not going to solve this with the addition of a bow-tie. You’re just going to stand out.
Yes, it’s impressive that you can tie it, but you look foolish.
5 The Summer beanie
I like wearing beanies as much as the rest of you. But, we can all agree that sometimes it is far too hot to pop one on unless you’re Colin Farrell or you a man who thinks Colin Farrell circa 2008 is just the bee’s knees.
6 Sagging pants
While most of us try to buy clothes that fit, there is another school of thought: saggy pants answer the question everyone is dying to know.
Namely, ‘What colour are your underwear and are they getting ruined by skid marks?’. I hate to sound like a 1950s schoolteacher, but pull them up and sit up straight, young man!
7 Whatever hairstyle Justin Beiber is boasting
Justin Bieber is less fashion bellwether, more fashion bankrupt. Everything he does should be taken with a pinch of salt.
A pinch of obnoxious, attention-seeking salt. Yes, he’s lost the bowl-cut and has started dressing like Miley Cyrus’ less fancy cousin, but we shouldn’t lose our minds and start determining the future of male fashion on his say-so.
He is a product of a soulless team of industry professionals trying to sell an entire look to children in the form of a human being.
8 The short-sleeve shirt over long-sleeved shirt look
Rocking this look in my youth, I thought I looked like a soccer player during training. But I didn’t. I just looked like I couldn’t pick between my two favourite shirts (I couldn’t).
The extra special offender: long sleeve shirt under a short sleeve dress shirt. We get it, you’re a freelance photographer with your own studio.
9 Bead/shell necklace
Surf’s up dude!
Oh no wait, that’s not the surf, that’s my foamy, bitter vomit. Do people think they add an instant wave of chill vibes to their demeanor when they put these on? No way, man.
10 Any TV-related T-Shirt
Ever since Game of Thrones began writing memeable-phrases instead of dialogue, everything Tyrion Lannister says has seemingly been turned into a .gif or a t-shirt.
“Everything’s better with some wine in the belly”? Pop it in an Amazon basket, size XXL please.
11 T-Shirts with too many words on them
I walked past a man with the entirety of the “Night’s Watch” oath on it the other day.
At least I assume it was because the text was so small I couldn’t really see it and it was laid out like an eye exam at the doctors. What are you trying to prove?
12 Too. Much. Denim.
Denim is the epitome of the diminishing returns that male fashion offers.
One denim article: quite cool. Two denim articles: You should go home and get changed, or you’d better be really cool to pull it off. Three denim articles: You are my dad.
13 Toe shoes
Schlupp Schlupp Schlupp Oh Hi everyone, what’s up? Schlupp Schlupp Schlupp Oh these? These are my toe shoes, they’re like weird gloves for your feet Schlupp Schlupp Schlupp, yeah I walked through a puddle on the way here. Schlupp Schlupp Schlupp. Did you know that they’re really good for the health of your foot? Schlupp Schlupp Schlupp Hey where are you going?
14 Whatever Kanye is doing
The old wisdom states that you should never look at what the models on the catwalk are wearing, you should look at the designer.
Well, as Kanye West gets ready to open up clothes stores around the world revolving around “The Life of Pablo” theme of his new album, you should look anywhere else because he’s gone mad with power and no one will say ‘no’ to him.
15 The Fanny Pack
Once admired by dads everywhere, and seen as a necessity by those with life-ending allergies, the fanny pack is now firmly in the domain of hipsters everywhere.
But what are they keeping in there? Their dignity I assume. But what do they do with the rest of the space?
16 The full tracksuit
Sportswear is in, in a big way. But you can wear too much of it.
You’re not a yummy mummy shopping at Whole Foods, so dispense with the full on colourful shell-suit. You look like Ben Stiller in the Royal Tenenbaums.
17 The Morph Suit
This video aside (it’s actually pretty good), the Morph Suit wearers just can’t be stopped, can they?
Thank God I can’t see their faces because I can see the outline and contours of their package. On that note…
18 The Onesie
The Morph Suit’s softer, pajama-like cousin. Friend to students everywhere, an ally of the person who wakes up on the 31st of October and goes, “Ah great. I don’t have a Halloween costume.”
But unless you work for a charity collection, do you really need to walk around all day dressed as Iron Man, or as a Rabbit?
19 The tribal tattoo
One step up from the barbed wire tattoo, a tribal band around your arm doesn’t make you a total badass, nor does anyone think you’re deep and cultured. You don’t see the Masai people lining up to get tattoos of ties around their necks. Stay in your lane.
20 The turtleneck
I used to think that Steve Jobs was Steve Jobs because of his style.
Really, his style was just reflective of his attitude: clean, functional, sleek. But pop on a tight turtleneck and you will not be Steve Jobs, you won’t even be Sterling Archer. You’ll look like a bad poetry student in college.
You might be saying to yourself, ‘But with the whole hipster revival, Mumford and Sons have made dressing like a 19th-century oil prospector cool!’.
You are wrong, because Mumford and Sons are not, and never have been cool. Only old men who play the mandolin at folk clubs are allowed to wear these.
22 Transition lenses
I know a guy who wore these to his wedding.
It was a bright sunny day (which was great planning to be fair), but in all his photos he looked like he was wearing wiry little sunglasses. At his own wedding. Like he was in the Matrix…
23 Too many accessories
Stop peacocking, man. Having more accessories with which to fuss doesn’t mean you’re going to get more girls.
Johnny Depp is so attractive to the ladies because he’s Johnny goddamn Depp, not because he has a series of intricate, colorful handkerchiefs hanging from his pockets.
24 Socks and Sandals
Those Birkenstocks are probably really comfy, for sure. But if your feet are getting cold you should just go and put on some proper shoes. I don’t know when the socks and sandals hate started, but when you truly look at the combination, it’s hard to defend.
But if your feet are getting cold you should just go and put on some proper shoes. I don’t know when the socks and sandals hate started, but when you truly look at the combination, it’s hard to defend.
25 The Deeeeeeeeeep V
That’s awesome. I’ve always wanted to know the exact size and placement of your nipples.
That V is so deep they filmed “Touching The Void” on your chest and those mountain climbers fell down and died in your belly button.
26 Zip-off Trousers
You’ll always be ready for action in these things! Turn those trousers into three-quarter length trousers with just ten or fifteen easy tugs on a stiff zip, and get incrementally more air to your thin, pasty legs. I used to own some of these, and even I don’t understand the point.
27 Steampunk Fashion
Sure, it’s a bit mean to start a list off by condemning an entire genre, but here we are. Steampunk fashion is what happens when Goths say, “What if colonialism never ended? Those were the days – pillaging other countries and enslaving their people!”
28 Tight, tight muscle tees.
“I’m not cold,” said a friend to me who didn’t bring his jacket on a night out, not wanting to pay $1 for the coat check, but happy to pay $200 for bottle service.
He was wearing the tightest t-shirt I’d ever seen, which anyone is bound to look muscular in if they don’t breathe out for the entire night, but his nipples could cut glass. We’re all for slimming clothing but there’s a line, fellas.
29 Loose, loose, baggy tees.
On the other side of this spectrum, a t-shirt is too baggy if it falls off your shoulders while you’re trying to reach the top shelf of your cupboard.
30 Spiky Belts
Nothing says DANGER like a $5 belt you picked up from your local emo outlet store. Watch out everyone, I’m damaged goods.
The worst part about these belts is that they can’t be repurposed for anything; they are the ultimate early-2000s time capsule.
31 Shirts with cuffs that contrast
If you’re going to wear a traditional shirt, just stick to the conventional items, get a mortgage, three kids, and a Sports TV package. Settle into that middle-aged feeling, it’s not bad. Getting a shirt where the cuffs sport a different, wacky colour or pattern is the very definition of going, “I’m a child trapped inside a grown-up’s body! Help!”. It’s a midlife crisis you can take to the office.
Settle into that middle-aged feeling, it’s not bad. Getting a shirt where the cuffs sport a different, wacky colour or pattern is the very definition of going, “I’m a child trapped inside a grown-up’s body! Help!”. It’s a midlife crisis you can take to the office.
There you have it, gentlemen. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Adopt these fashion trends at your peril.
Which other trends should be on their way to the garbage dump? Chat with us about it in the comments.
For all the best men’s clothing in one place, don’t forget to check out The Outfitter.