Having called your wardrobe moves since 1988, GQ dons its mystic robes to predict what the fashion of the future looks like...
Some pretty significant milestones have been plotted in the landscape of men’s style over the past three decades. The first – and, arguably, the most important – came in 1988 when the pages of this magazine were first printed. It was also around that time that the full effects of Giorgio Armani and his greige-draped American Gigolo were being felt in our wardrobes.
Where before, tailoring was only ever worn with shirts, ties, braces and Oxford shoes (never Derbys), the mid-to-late Eighties saw suits being worn with T-shirts, polos and – for the first time ever – trainers. The thrift store ordinariness of grunge and the haute-terraces chic of Britpop in the Nineties broke ground for the current normcore craze; and that’s before you get to the bafflingly banal proliferation of spray-on-skinny jeans, deep V-neck tees and over-washed black “going out” shirts that defined the early-to-mid noughties.
Though the aforementioned stylistic shifts have undoubtedly helped shape the way in which we dress today, here at GQ we’re all about looking forward. With that in mind, here are our predictions for what men’s wardrobes will look like in 2048, when, one can assume, the first ever beach resort opens in the Arctic Circle and this particular writer hits 61 (gulp)...
1. Older men will be much better dressed
I get it, ageing can be uncomfortable. Backs start aching, joints start clicking and it’s impossible to move without letting out wind – one needs to grab one’s comforts where one can. The reality is, however, that getting old shouldn’t result in a wardrobe that reads like the neutrals section of a Dulux colour chart and nor should it result in one stuffed full of enough static-inducing nylon to generate an electrical fire. Ageing, in my opinion, provides a prime opportunity to embrace your most stately and/or eccentric self: a chance to invest in one of the bespoke suits you couldn’t afford in your twenties or to wear the colours and patterns you’d have been too embarrassed to try in your thirties. If you won’t take it from me, then take it from Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” And for pity’s sake, wear good shoes while you’re at it.
2. There will be a worldwide moratorium on designer tracksuits
Unless they are made by septuagenarian Japanese designers.
3. Leather will be 3-D printed
Hopefully, cows will have learned to stop farting so much by 2048 and the manufacturing of leather won’t be so harmful to the environment. But if that hasn’t happened, we’ll have figured out a way to 3-D print ultra-soft Nappa leathers and embarrassingly supple lambskins, with which all designers will make lots of lovely jackets for our ever-so-stylish OAP wardrobes.
4. Vicuña will be the new wool
Similarly, vicuña will be affordable to anyone who isn’t a Texan oil baron, a Saudi prince or Paul Manafort. The ridiculously soft fabric, which is made from the wispy beard of a tiny Andean camelid, currently comes in at around £700 per square metre... at cost. My hope, therefore, is that in 30 years time we’ll have stopped mass farming sheep and that we’ll be “happy” farming vicuña instead. And humanely.
5. Proper tailoring will make a non-pastiche-y comeback...
Not the nonsensically overwrought Don Draper garb everyone went nuts for in the noughties, rather the inordinately elegant pieces the Duke Of Windsor and Noël Coward made famous in the early 20th century. Think embroidered silk smoking jackets and velvet frock coats. Yum.
6. ...and it’ll be comfortable (ish)
With the aforementioned point in mind, the world’s tailors will have figured out a way to make beautiful suits a) truly comfortable, b) crease-free, waterproof and breathable without looking shiny and c) properly Spanx-level slimming.
7. All men will wear dresses
In 30 years time, the gender-fluidity movement will have progressed to the point that men are not only allowed but encouraged to wear dresses and skirts. And I’m not just talking about “manly” kilts and tabards, either. Rather, massive, flouncy Molly Goddard-style party frocks that make the best of our legs, feel light on the shoulder and are brilliantly breezy around our bits.
8. Men will have started wearing socks again, even in summer
Because let’s face it, there’s nothing elegant about a big pair of unsheathed cankles protruding from the mouth of a brogue. Even loafers worn without socks can look a bit, well, hammy.
9. Silk will be a thing...
Silk will have become a common staple in all of our wardrobes, in the form of wafty silk shirts, billowing breezy silk trousers and liquid silk suits. What’s more, some clever so-and-so will have figured out a way to make the fabric much less high-maintenance – because who has time for hand-washing in 2048?
10. ...but spacesuits won’t
I predict (pray) that we won’t be required to wear Elon Musk-designed tinfoil spacesuits in 2048 to protect us from the 70C heat of the post-global warming British summer. I’d much rather be wearing linen, tbf...