This is PMG’s 100th post (although I think this may include several drafts which never saw the light of day. Perhaps one day I’ll release them posthumously, like the fashion version of Tupac).
As such, I don’t want to do one of those lame retrospective, clip show-style episodes, you know the kind of episode when the main characters are trapped in an elevator or something and they show flashbacks of all their crazy antics up until the present. Those always pissed me off.
Instead, I will look into the future and give you some of PMG’s fashion forecasts, based upon years of trending research and data mining and blunt passin’. And I don’t want to forecast what will happen next season, or the season after that, that shit’s for pussies. I’m talking about what will men’s fashion be like in 50 years. Will we dress like the Jetsons? Will we have self-drying clothes like in Back to the Future, Part 2?? Here’s what I think.
Denim will become formal wear.
Denim is big right now. It’s taken some crazy forms lately, but on the whole quality has taken an uptick from the past few decades, with more people “discovering” selvedge and quality denim. But it’s not just because denim quality is increasing that we will soon see denim as acceptable, business/formal clothing, it’s also because of something I call The Momentum of Casualness. You see, back in the day, if you wanted to go out, you didn’t just throw on a t-shirt. You didn’t just throw on a t-shirt and a shirt. You didn’t even just throw on a t-shirt, shirt, and jacket. No you, wore full Morning Dress.
We recognize this now as extremely formal wear, but this is just how people rolled back in the day. At night, they wore Evening Wear. Yes, you’d change your clothes just because the sun went down. The modern suit we think of as being business wear was called the lounge suit and was considered very informal. That’s right, a business suit used to be the equivalent of sweatpants and a stained wifebeater.
Which means that, in general, we’re only getting more and more INformal. All of these blogs (like this one) that say people should step back to “proper” dressing don’t know jack shit. What we consider to be “formal” clothing, like a suit and tie, was what people used to wear to play sports. If you wore shorts in Edwardian England, you’d probably be burned at the stake for heresy.
Ergo, it stands to reason that what we consider informal now will become the standard for formality soon. The business suit will become something you wear only for the most formal occasions (which, in 50 years, will probably be only at the Gayest of Weddings). A formal business meeting will call for nice, high-quality denim, with little or no break, and perhaps a looser, more trouser-like fit.
Say goodbye to natural fibers
This may seem odd considering what I just wrote about denim, but it makes sense. This prediction is more socio-historico-economical, and has to do with the increasing demands we’re making of our beloved Earth Mother. Plus, as they become more affluent, a whole shitload of people from the third world are going to want to wear more than just the 2007 WNBA West Conference Champions T-shirts they’re getting from UNICEF for free. What do you think will happen to the price of cotton when a Billion people in the Eastern Hemisphere decide they, too, would love a nice henley?
Sneakers will be way classier
This goes along with the Momentum of Casualness thing I was talking about earlier, the idea being that casual shoes will eventually supplant what we consider “dress” shoes. Again, dress standards will become lax enough that a sneaker (albiet a nice, clean sneaker) will become acceptable wear. Further, the sneaker culture of the present, with all of the limited edition colabos and such, will eventually become a rarified world, sort of like vinyl records are today. They’ll still be cool, just more of a novelty. Look for a basic, clean sneaker design to emerge and edge out dressy leather.
Go East, young man
No self-respecting prediction is complete with the Threat from The East scare tactic. It’s like the good book of Dior predicts, “Verily, a vile Serpent will rise from the East, and bring with it much Gnashing of teeth and drapey silhouettes.”
But no seriously this isn’t an alarmist thing. But with increased prosperity and stability outside of the west, we’ll start seeing more and more influences from countires like India and China. And it won’t be retarded bullshit like saris and conical hats “reinterpreted” by some white dudes. We’ll see a whole new take on the Western aesthetic, munched up and rearranged by designers. Heck the Japanese are already doing this (and killing it).
There’s a concept in science fiction: the Technological Singularity. It’s the idea that eventually technology will be able to improve itself, and once this happens improvements will happen at an exponentially faster pace, and ultimately leave humanity in the dust.
There is a similar concept, I argue, in menswear. It is the final point in the Momentum of Casualness argument. With the further loosening of the traditional social ties (like family, religion, community) and the increasing connectivity beyond space and time (with the internet and telecommunications), we’ll eventually see people totally lose the association between fashion and status. Fashion generally up to this point has come from somewhere. Seersucker was a workwear fabric before the wealthy turned it into a stylish piece, and now it’s associated with rich landowners with fried chicken franchises. But what happens when there is a weakening of the old class hierarchy? Where people can get style from anywhere and any time, and clothes has become cheap enough that you could get any piece and look within days, even hours? What will people dress like when the rules are totally gone? Men in skirts? Women wearing ponchos made of carbon fiber? Clothes you made yourself out of your 3D printer? Anything goes.