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Today GQ announced their nominees for this year’s Best New Menswear Designer—a coveted honor they’ve been bestowing upon the young Billy Reids and Thom Brownes of the menswear world for nearly a decade now.

But just take a look at this paneled photo of this year’s nominees. It could very well be a menswearified “one of these things is not like the others” puzzle from a Highlights magazine. (Hint: it’s the guy in the suit.)

That’s because only one of the nominees, Brooklyn Tailors, makes “menswear” in the traditional sense. The other three (John Elliott + Co, M. Nii and En Noir) might as well be in T-shirts and sweats. Oh wait, they all are. Which got us thinking deeply about the current state of how we dress and where this crazy thing called “menswear” is headed…

Maybe after nearly a decade of Draper-inspired dressing (followed by the British-leaning dandification of suiting, which begat the Italianization of menswear), men are finally saying “fuck it” and going back to sweatpants?

Or perhaps we’ve finally realized that dressing well isn’t just about putting on a suit. Or about dressing like everyone else. As we broaden our sartorial horizons, so does the notion of what can be deemed “menswear.” The above group of designers might be the most diverse we’ve seen yet—or ever will. One guy only makes (ridiculously nice) sweatpants. Another makes leather ones (see, it has been like that for a minute, Hedi Slimane), among other vaguely street-goth-ninja items. Then there’s the surf-chic hailing from Southern California—long held as a bastion of general unstylishness. But in the hands of these designers, all of this stuff actually looks pretty darn good. And could easily find its way into any modern man’s closet, right alongside a well-tailored suit.

Or not. That’s entirely up to you.

—N.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Najib Benouar