Men are bulking up: This season marks the long overdue return to the “man’s man”—with sturdy outerwear, rugged accessories and ensembles cut from hardy fabrics—as the collective fashion conscious shifts toward styles meant to stand the strain of more than one season.
The statement that best exemplifies this change in attitude in menswear is the boxy silhouette—but unlike the sharp-shouldered power suits of the eighties that tapered down the body, the modern man’s strength is tempered by a more rounded line. These cocooning cuts, with their sloping shoulders and wide waistlines, give the distinctive style a softer look and an inviting allure.
At Burberry, Christopher Bailey created rounded duffle and double-breasted coats that looked as if they had been cut with a compass. The oversized outerwear got a vibrant boost through the designer’s use of bold colors. Donatella Versace also used color to great effect in her menswear collection, showing cobalt blue as a counterpoint to the hefty shapes. Even Dries Van Noten tapped into the color trend, using it as an accent on his ample outerwear. He sent out a car coat with deep blue shading down the shoulders and sharpened a classic straight-cut double-breasted coat by adding a sliver of silvery white on the inside of an upturned collar.
The boxy look was taken to the limit at the more experimental houses of Prada, Raf Simons and Yohji Yamamoto. At Prada, suit jackets were supersized and looked top heavy in the extreme. Raf Simons turned coats into tunic-like cloaks, cut from stiff fabric to stand away from the body in a slightly triangular silhouette. Over at Yohji Yamamoto, the designer decided to skip the boys, showing his boxy ensembles on real men of all ages, shapes and sizes.
The best example of the boxy look came from Ermenegildo Zegna’s secondary line, Z Zegna, where the trend wasn’t taken quite so literally. Instead of cutting the garments wider, contemporary fabrics in thicker weights looked substantial without letting the shape engulf the wearer. The key to this look is finding the correct clothing equilibrium. Boxy shapes can be hard to get right—but by offsetting a wide-cut topper with lean, tailored bottoms, you’ll avoid looking like a five-year-old playing dress up in your dad’s clothing.