Lifestyle, Men's Fashion

Menswear’s Biggest Trends for AW12 | Jamie Tuohy

I know, I know. Scarcely have the summer months left us and we’re already talking about autumnal trends, but fashion moves quickly and before we know it, we’ll be left out in the cold, still wearing our Orlebar Brown swimming shorts. Proceed with haste gentleman and observe the coming season’s greatest offerings.

Frontline Fashion

From Alexander McQueen to Salvatore Ferragamo, for the coming autumn and winter months, menswear is all about battleground regalia. The military trend has long been a tour de force in both menswear and womenswear, but AW12 has conscripted the trend once again and thanks to the likes of Sarah Burton, Paul Smith, Gucci and one Donatella Versace, it’s a look that commands attention.

However, one designer who featured the trend in every aspect of his collection is Tommy Hilfiger, whose AW12 offerings, promised “a personalized take on military precision.” Tommy Hilfiger is a brand, that, in Ireland at least, can often be pigeon-holed into solely providing the classic American preppy look, but this collection proves that he’s more than just a chino and jumper kind of designer.

Forget any Action-Man images, because this military-inspired collection is all about luxe-officer, bonded leathers and clever zip detailing. It almost sounds like a 50 Shades of Grey reference, but I assure you, Hilfiger’s AW12 pieces will soldier on to make a much more impressive statement!


The AW12 menswear catwalks were awash with oversized jumpers, comfy cardigans and all round-relaxed country living – a nice antidote to the stern militarism of other trends. From knitted turtlenecks, to sheepskin leather aviator jackets, comfortable and cosy clothing is a practical, yet stylish trend for the cold winter months.

You wouldn’t be far out of touch donning your grandfather’s Aran sweater for AW12, as it’s all about nonchalant and oversized knits. Hermès, Burberry and Missoni all sent models down the catwalk in chunky and colourful knits and if you’re worried about loud prints, fear not! The louder the better for autumnal weekend retreats!

So say the newest and freshest knitwear designers on the market anyway! That’s ORLEY, in case you’re wondering. Consisting of Brothers Matthew and Alex Orley, who learned their crafts at Thom Browne and Rag & Bone respectively, and Matthew’s girlfriend, Samatha Florence, who trained at Helmut Lang, Orley offers innovative and quirky designs with craftsmanship often only expected from a top heritage brand.

The Pinstripe Suit

Risk taking is synonymous with fashion and perhaps the strong presence of the pinstripe suit in many AW12 menswear collections is a manifestation of the global economic crisis, as fashion treaded near the vicinity of politics, in a VERY business-like manner. For this trend, of course, the risk taking was not done on the part of the designers. The misjudged and boundless risk taking in today’s globalised economy has resulted in the recession we find ourselves in at this present moment and this financial instability obviously resonated with many designers. Alongside loud trends (think Versace’s Baroque decadence), existed certain elements of conservatism and Sarah Burton incorporated British understatement beautifully into her menswear collection.

Since taking over as the creative director of Alexander McQueen, Sarah has gone from strength to strength, (after all, it’s thanks in no small part to her that a certain Pippa Middleton went on to become a media powerhouse, courtesy of a strategically-structured McQueen gown) and she has pioneered some of the season’s foremost trends in her AW12 collection. Double-breasted jackets are also a huge look for autumn/winter and Sarah has not only combined them with this trend, but she has given us more ‘pin for our buck’, with stronger and more perceptible stripes than traditional pin-stripe suits. World leaders, please head to Ms Burton before tackling that ever-expanding debt.


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