When the influential rapper and trendsetter said he was trading in his baggy jeans and jerseys for Tom Ford suits and ties, young men paid close attention. Slowly but surely, the popularity of sports jerseys and ill-fitting pants has waned. Now, the trends for young men follow a tailored silhouette.
School is almost back in session, meaning plenty of kids will be updating their wardrobes. Although the guys might not seem like the most likely candidates to make a fashion statement, the opposite is true. Beyond Jay Z, they’re taking style cues from the likes of Justin Timberlake, Kanye West and fashion-forward NBA stars like Russell Westbrook.
“Young guys are no longer being called out for dressing well,” said Erick DeLeon, manager of Martin Patrick 3, a men’s clothing boutique in Minneapolis’ North Loop. “Now they can wear slim-fitting jeans and bow ties, and not catch any flak for it.”
Pablo Helm Hernandez used to play it safe, dressing in clothes blasted with brand names like Hollister and American Eagle. Now he goes for a retro look to reflect his love for ’60s and ’70s movies. The 17-year-old St. Paulite frequents thrift stores for a selection of skinny jeans and ’70s-style button-up shirts. He keeps the look “fresh” with his thick-rimmed orange and transparent glasses, plus the latest pair of Nikes.
“I feel good when I look cool,” Helm Hernandez said. “I like fashion. It helps with my self-esteem.”
Fashion-wise, it’s prime time for guys, said Sara Rogers, trend specialist for the Mall of America. Options go well beyond relaxed-fit jeans and T-shirts, giving boys as many chances as girls to dress outside of the box.
“It’s so exciting to see so many design elements that make getting dressed fun for men,” she said. “Having so many options is encouraging guys to step up their style game.”
Guys’ fashion is more colorful than ever and young men are finding subtle ways to incorporate the bright hues into their look — from the soles and laces of their shoes to the contrasting detail on their bow ties.
Skinny jeans are still the denim du jour, but even guys who don’t like the look or have the shape to pull it off are opting for pants that are slim and tapered.
Or, forget the trends altogether and just wear what you want, DeLeon said. But don’t forget your best accessory: confidence.
“Don’t be afraid to stand out,” DeLeon said. “There’s no better feeling than getting your first compliment.”