World War III? But what about World War Me?! A valid question as the globe inches ever closer to total wipeout nuclear war. 2020 was meant to signal a brave new world, a fresh start, an unveiling to rival an Olympic opening ceremony. Ribbon dancers and all. And it still can be. Diplomatic missteps aside, there's a treaty to be signed for a better you. Or, at the very least, a better-dressed one.
As menswear-at-large has undergone something of a factory reset, your wardrobe now offers more room to experiment, to break rules that would once have been considered sacrosanct. The good people at Lanvin are all for a print clash. Dior's Kim Jones has taken to loosening the suit. Louis Vuitton is still peppering luxury with streetwear notes.
And for the man who wants to have fun with what he wears, that's all very, very good news. Though for all the rule-bending, know that the classics still work. So, in order to build upon the gains of 2019, there are some essential wardrobe pillars for the year ahead, alongside a refresh of the old favourites. We come in peace (with all the pieces you need below).
'Ralph Lauren' and 'preppy' have long been synonymous. What is relatively new, though (and shows no signs of abating), is the softer, pastel-tinged Nineties take on prep, kickstarted by New York brands like Noah and Aimé Leon Dore. So that means recolouring an Oxford shirt via the man who started it all in the first place. We mean Ralph, by the way.
Polo Ralph Lauren Striped Shirt, £105,
The Thirties saw a big post-party crash. The mood was dour. So too were salaries. Though the tighter belts also meant higher waists, and thanks to Gucci, Lanvin and someone named Harry Stylesim电竞官网-, they're back with aplomb. Just less economic gloom this time round (fingers crossed).
Gucci Pleated Front Trousers, £845,
im电竞官网-Colourphobes, rejoice: there's an easier way to flex vibrancy without embracing the rainbow. A small pop to the ankle – something long championed by Uniqlo – is an affordable, easy way to make neutral civvies a bit less neutral. Think mint green, baby pink and sky blue.
Uniqlo Colour Socks, £2.90,
im电竞官网-Boat shoes, once the favourite of that big-armed, red-chinoed rower in your university halls, are now for the everyman. Following the revival of prep at large, differentiate yourself from the Tarquins and Hugos with a big, chunky, sole. Added height, and added kudos, from American-made label Yuketen.
Yuketen Angler Moc Boat Shoes, £445,
If you're without strong jeans, you're not trying hard enough. As workwear remains front-of-mind in the menswear consciousness, midwest blues have never been more essential. Think the kind of jeans that Lana Del Rey croons over. Think of Levi's, too.
Levi's Rigid V2 Jeans, £189,
Summer might seem a way off, but that's all the more reason to buy some photogenic poolside swimmers. They'll last physically, but trendwise too, as luxury swim shorts become a real consideration. Better made, and better looking (and that's just the shorts, wahey!)
Frescobol Carioca Distillation Swim Shorts, £145,
These are the building blocks of every great look. Every single one. So as the make-or-breaker, invest in Sunspel's quality cotton T-shirts. It's been making them since the 1900s. It know what it's doing.
Sunspel Classic Cotton T-Shirt, £70,
The watch industry does trends slowly. But sometimes, something spreads across every manufacture in Switzerland. In the last year, Geneva saw a steady rise in salmon-coloured dials. Unexpected, sure, but also something that saw Rolex, A. Lange & Söhne and Montblanc cast out, with the latter releasing a catch of the day in the Heritage Small Second Limited Edition.
Montblanc Heritage Small Second Limited Edition, £15,900,
That your nan isn't in with a shout for Designer Of The Year is only because her quilts don't sell for close to a grand. She's still a trend-setter, though, as patchwork has taken off in a big, big way. Comme des Garçons has long Frankensteined tailored shirts, while American designer Bode uses offcuts to create something just as storied as gran's blankets.
Bode Patchwork Shirt, £560,
im电竞官网-Retro runners are back en vogue. Makes sense, after Seventies tailoring, and Seventies moustaches, and Seventies socialism all popping up on Twitter feeds worldwide. Far less divisive is the kicks, with Prada revisiting your dad's gym class with a pair of burnt orange, suede-capped trainers.
Prada Milano 70 Trainers, £515,