Street League–our current streetwear collection–is built on a few key silhouettes and a rebellious shift in men’s fashion. What are those silhouettes and how did we get here? We sat with two of our in-house experts and had us a good long think.
Edited convo below with Nordstrom Men’s Fashion Director Jorge Valls and Lead Men’s Stylist Danny Mankin.
Nordstrom blogs: The jogger pant came to the streets from runways, right? Or did we get here through athletics?
Jorge Valls: From a designer level, Dries Van Noten was one of the first brands that I saw taking a pant silhouette and trying to make it new. I saw them put a cuff on a cotton pant or a wool pant. And drawstrings, too.
Danny Mankin: But there’s definitely an athletic influence.
Jorge: It’s very athletics-inspired, but it’s not what you wear to the gym. It’s athletic that you wear outdoors, on the street. But it’s elevated, an organic evolution. The current generation wears comfortable clothes all the time, so this is their version of dressing up. And the sneaker excitement right now? These are all fashion sneakers. You can work out in these, but they’re fashion.
Danny: I think the evolution of the jogger pant was influenced by the rise of the sneaker. The sneaker was rising so fast, it became a fashion statement. That influenced the gathering of the pant at the ankle.
Jorge: And some goth culture. That comes from Rick Owens, that goth-athletics aspect. He’s a body builder, and a lot of his clothes are built for movement. I would say any body type could wear this, though. It’s very forgiving.
Nordstrom blogs: What about the colors?
Jorge: Right, well, another big part of this look is the graphic element. High contrast. Black and white is perfect to create that. You’ll notice that the clothes tend to be black-and-white or tonal. But the sneaker is where most guys are unafraid to do crazy color and have it be a pop, a statement.
Jorge: A big part of the street look is proportion play. Here we have a longer sweatshirt with a shorter bomber on top of it. We actually tried it both ways, and you can wear the shorter layer under the longer layer, too. So it’s pretty versatile. And you could also do this with a longer T-shirt under the bomber.
Nordstrom blogs: When I think of layers like that, I think of hip-hop from the 1990s.
Danny: Totally. Music is a big part of what’s going on here.
Jorge: It all has an attitude to it, but you’re comfortable. You feel tough, but you’re chill. You’re lounging.
Nordstrom blogs: Could you find that bomber at an Army/Navy Surplus store?
Danny: You could. It’d be a little more full and shorter. It’s more about how you wear it. With the layering, it’s not just about wearing more garments. The layering of a long item under a short one is new, it’s unexpected in men’s. It’s been happening for a while in women’s.
Jorge: Part of it is that menswear moves so slowly. It’s been in this preppy, heritage, Americana moment, which is fine since that’s how most guys want to dress. But this guy wants something totally different from that. That’s why he’s willing to play with proportion, that’s why he’s unafraid of bold, graphic elements. It’s a rebellion.
Danny: The norm would be to have the shirt and the jacket be the same length and cut close to the body. But some of these silhouettes are not only about exaggerated lengths, but clothes moving away from the body. We’ve been in this slim space for so long. Now we are rebelling against that and doing the opposite.
Danny: The origin of layering play is running and working out. This style is actually attached, but we’ve also styled running tights under drop-crotch shorts.
Jorge: The baseball jersey is not the one that you buy at the game. If I wore my Nike running shorts with a regular baseball jersey…that would be normcore. The fit would be different. This is a trim-fitting shirt. Part of the proportion play is if you’re going to have a slim-fitting top, you should have more room in the pants. And vice versa, if you have narrower pants you should exaggerate what’s happening up top. It’s about the balance between the two that makes it look good.
Jorge: Also Givenchy has a big influence on this look, because Givenchy has a big influence on hip-hop and street-culture stuff. They’ve been doing the layered/short thing for a while.
Danny: Layers, athletics. A lot of their graphics have to do with basketball.
Jorge: That’s the cool thing about this. It’s part-street, part-fashion, part-music culture. Everyone’s agreeing on this at the same time. I mean, this is Topman, this outfit. So a lot of people can play in this space. It’s kind of an attitude and a sensibility.