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4 controversial men’s fashion trends we hope to never see again

Now is the time to leave these clothing trends behind and move on to better things

Man sitting on bench with ripped jeans
Sjale / Shutterstock

There are dozens of looks for the beach and for the summer weather that can give your wardrobe a huge boost and make you the most stylish man on your street. However, there are also plenty of looks that we have seen sneak their way back into the man’s arsenal that should have stayed gone or at least begun to fade away by now. While we are excited about the new looks on the horizon in men’s fashion, we may be more excited about the expiration of the styles they replace.

The last few years have brought some significant style evolutions for men, but it also brought a handful of hopefully short-lived trends. Here is a list of men’s fashion trends we hope to leave behind.

Sling bags

Let’s be honest; some things just don’t ever look great on men. While sling bags are high in function, they are low in style and in space. The majority of these bags are small and not meant for real storage (mostly flat items like wallets and passports), so the sacrifice they demand in style isn’t really worth the function. Thanks to Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover, it is hard to take a man seriously when he is wearing a sling bag.

Man leaning against the wall in his favorite jeans
fotofabrika/Adobe Stock

What to do instead

You know how those sling bags are small enough that they aren’t meant for real storage? Do you know what else has nearly all the same storage capability? Your pockets. Women carry purses because even their jeans don’t have the pocket space to carry anything bigger than a stick of Big Red. Your pants, jackets, and even your shirts come with deep pockets built in. There isn’t a true need for most men to carry these, so you might as well leave them at home.

Crocs

Shoes make or break an outfit. You can have the sharpest and most stylish suit that can be ruined by the wrong shoes. The same principle applies to streetwear. The wrong shoes can destroy the most fantastic ensemble. When it comes to Crocs, few outfits are topped off with this niche footwear. If you wear plastic or rubber, you will only fit in if you are working in a kitchen. In truth, these shoes are the mullets of footwear — business on the top, party on the bottom. If you want to be taken seriously, you best opt for more grown-up shoes.

Person in hiking boots crossing stream in the woods.
Wes Hicks / Unsplash

What to do instead

These shoes are mostly used for the water crowds. They slip on easily and don’t soak up the water. They keep your feet dry and don’t take a lot of work when sliding in and out of them. Other options, and better ones, are a good pair of sandals or water shoes. While there are dozens of shoes that claim to be the latter, make sure your Crocs replacements are made of Gore-Tex and polyvinyl chloride.

Ultra skinny/baggy jeans

Jeans have a cyclical pattern. In the 1970s, the jean world embraced tighter fits. Around the 90s, the style world shifted to extremely loose fits. When men began to tire of the baggy fits of Dawson’s Creek and Party of Five, the style shifted to a more form-fitting look.

While the slim-fit jeans kept drifting to skinnier and skinnier, it got to the point that painting them on was the only way to get into them. This year, balance is key. Finding a middle-ground between the ultra baggy and the suffocatingly skinny will hopefully create a denim look that will last for years.

Man in denim and desert boots kicking up sand.
Avi Richards / Unsplash

What to do instead

This doesn’t mean that skinny jeans are out of style. You can and should still wear these, if your body type suits them. Just stray away from the painted-on look and stick to styles that fit your body type. If you are an ultra-thin man, then the skinny jeans will keep you from looking like you get lost in them. If you are a thicker man, avoiding this style will keep you from looking like you are ready to bust out of them at any moment.

Tight tailoring

Just like jeans, suits have had a similar life. While Ross Gellar sported the wide-lapelled boxy cuts of the 1990s, Justin Timberlake ushered in the skinny lapels and skinnier tailoring of the 2000s. When Daniel Craig’s James Bond saw the suits get about as tight as they would get, men were starting to long for the days when they could move.

This year, tailors are focused on finding the perfect fit to keep it sharp but movable. When shopping for a new suit this year, pass by the super skinny, and grab the super comfortable.

Man in suit and blue tie
Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock

What to do instead

Listen to the experts. Your tailor spends much of his time when he doesn’t have a needle in his hand, studying what the trends are and how your suit should fit. While you have to know you can trust him before you put all of your trust in your tailor, once you have it, your life will never be the same.

Few things are worse than indulging in a style trend that doesn’t look as good in the rearview mirror as it does in the actual mirror. Now that you have your list of clothing trends you need to get rid of and move beyond in 2023, you also have a new list of photos you need to delete ASAP. One of the few things worse than indulging in those style trends is the photographic evidence of it years later.

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Mark McKee
Contributor
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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