Fashion frequently witnesses counter-trends. As soon as one trend has established itself with the wider public, the first adopters have already moved on. Even as every half-trendy man pulls on his slim-fit pants, the trend is already out of fashion. “If you want to be ahead of the pack, you won’t do that wearing skinnies now!” says Andre Bangert from Germany’s fashion trade journal Textilwirtschaft. Bangert thinks wide pants are shaping up to be the next big trend. This may explain why waist pleats are becoming popular again, according to Germany’s Fashion Institute in Cologne. It’s an expression of practical comfort, according to the institute’s Gerd Mueller-Thomkins. “Nobody should be wearing skinny pants anymore,” intones Carl Jakob Haupt of the fashion blog Dandy Diary. He thinks very wide pants, worn very high above the waist, are the next big trend. But will this mark a major turning point in fashion? Not quite. There’s still no need to sell off your skinny jeans just yet. Haupt thinks it’s too early to say for sure. “Skinny is so old fashioned now… that it might become trendy again!” If you do go for the pleated look, you need to think in contrasts. If your pants are wide, your top styling will need to be slim fitting. “Fashion is going to the limits of what can be defined as slender,” says Mueller-Thomkins. Andre Bangert says, “Men want slimmer waistlines.” Men’s colour styling this year is – as usual – restrained: lots of white, grey and reduced tones are in fashion! “We’re waiting for the next colour explosion,” says Bangert. However, the era of the monotone outfit is also over. “We are definitely seeing more variation,” says Haupt. “You won’t go wrong by choosing a monotone look this year, but the fashion avant-garde is, as always, one step ahead. Choosing colourful combinations is their trend.” Haupt points to the California label Golf Wang and Label Palace from London as two examples of this. Smart, sporty looking fashion is a firm part of men’s fashion at the moment. Bangert calls it the “mega-trend overarching all the others”. Sportswear is being seen as ever more elegant, almost to the point where it can be worn as a suit. Part of this sporty wave is down to the omnipotent sneaker, which is maintaining its tremendous popularity, according to the German Fashion Institute. Haupt opines that individual sneakers are a popular way for men to distinguish themselves from one another. He compares it to the importance of handbags for women. Sneakers are slowly becoming key pieces for the fashionable man. “Men are no longer so much into outfits,” says Mueller-Thomkins. Online shopping has made a big contribution to this trend by allowing men to focus on finding individual clothing items that stand out. It has led to a new form of fashion eclecticism and styling contrasts. “It’s quite okay to contrast your styling – in fact that’s the goal. A wild mix of materials, eras, styles and expressions is extremely hip,” says Haupt.