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Remember that Tamagotchi you had an unhealthy obsession with in the late 90s? It was the shiny, have-to-have toy you begged your mum for on a Sunday, and then tossed in a pile with your light-up trainers the following Thursday. Trends aren’t too dissimilar from those palm-sized digital pets. They feel impossibly cool for a millisecond, but their appeal can nosedive as quickly as the value of a Beanie Baby (the one you told your parents would fund your university education).
Our feelings about trends tend to fall somewhere between a shrug and a ‘meh’. We’re more partial to evergreen pieces you can rewear each season, but we’re also the first to admit not all trends are created equal. Some have a more enduring shelf life, and if you get in on some early enough, you can get a few good years out of them. To weed through all the fleeting micro-trends, we enlisted the help of stylist Alexander McCalla to tell us the investment-worthy trends you should make room for in your wardrobe.
“The key to pulling off different patterns in one look is styling them in a way that looks intentional,” Alexander says. “Stripes and checks are an easy access point if you’re just beginning to embrace this trend.” Because patterns are inherently eye-catching, you can keep your outfit from looking busy through colour. Alexander recommends blending different tones in the same family, like tans and khakis or blues and dusty greys, especially in dressier environments. And if you want to try the trend in smaller doses, start by mixing different patterned accessories. “Pocket squares, socks, caps, and scarves all work well.”
When you think of pockets, you probably think utility, but Alexander argues that they’ve graduated to another level in terms of style. “Pockets officially transcended function to become an interest point in your wardrobe,” he says. “And there are ways to pull them off if you feel like going bolder or keeping things pared-down.” If you’re in a smart-casual environment, for instance, look for more traditional pocketed items, like military- or workwear-inspired jackets. Safari jackets can be a more accessible way to get in on the trend. And if you want to make a statement, Alexander says you can still embrace those classic styles but in bright colours – think orange or cobalt blue. “There are also some cool denim jackets, fisherman smocks, and gilets with interesting pocket placement that feel a bit edgier.”
New takes on tailoring have really exploded in the last couple of years, and they’re not going anywhere fast. One of the biggest tailoring trends to re-emerge is the double-breasted jacket, and Alexander credits its surge in popularity to the silhouette’s flattering shape. “The single-breasted jacket is a bit more dialed down, while the double-breasted suit is more elevated and unexpected,” he says. “When you wear one, it feels like you put more time and care into your outfit.” What makes this trend more accessible is the fact that there are plenty of ways to dress it down. For instance, you can wear a double-breasted jacket with a chambray shirt, a grandad collar shirt, or seersucker linen. “It’s a great way to differentiate yourself at work or events like weddings.”
Similarly, pleated trousers have experienced a surge in popularity recently. “They harken back to an earlier time, so they have that old-school feel. They’re also looser in shape, so they’re great in warmer temperatures, and they have this casual nonchalance make them feel both cool and elevated.”
“Neon is a very punchy colour by nature,” Alexander says. “It’s safe to say you’ll get noticed if you’re wearing it.” Before you give the trend a try, he advises you to pay attention to your skin colour. “If you have lighter skin, neon tends to bring out the natural redness in your complexion, so less can be more.” Luckily, there are simple ways to ease into the trend. “You don’t have to dive right into the neon jumpsuit. Swimwear is a great way to dip your toes.” Head gear and other accessories will also help you weave the trend into your wardrobe, but don’t be afraid to embrace neon clothing. “Light layers, like a neon t-shirt, look smart layered under a neutral-coloured long-sleeved t-shirt – plus they add a welcome pop of colour.”
Words: Allison Pavlick
Photography: Mark Sanders
Styling: Alexander McCalla