You can find the neoprene fabric in everything from orthopedic support braces to laptop sleeves to wet suits. But despite its formal and technical uses, the fabric has been making for a bold fashion statement in mens clothing. You’ve undoubtedly seen neoprene popping up. From top design houses to mass market brands, the popular scuba fabric is everywhere. But what exactly is neoprene, and how do you pull it off?
Futuristic Effect of Neoprene Fabric
In early 2014, the fall/winter runway shows shocked onlookers by introducing neoprene into many looks. But now, the fabric of the future has become an essential element of every brand’s collections from H&M to Banana Republic.
Once a favorite avant garde choice of a few luxury fashion houses, neoprene now serves as every brand’s price of entry into streetwear. For discount brand H&M, the collaboration with top designer Alexander Wang was a neoprene wonderland with everything from sweatshirts to hoodies offered in the fabric.
In menswear, neoprene is seen most often in outerwear, footwear, accessories, and tops, and it’s being used to add a futuristic element to creative looks. One of the biggest neoprene trends across the fashion industry is the use of neoprene accents. Whether it’s a panel on a jacket or accent lettering on a sweatshirt, the rubber fabric is one of the most popular ways to elevate a garment from pedestrian to spaced out.
Beyond accenting key pieces, designers are constructing entire pieces in neoprene. From Alexander Wang’s bonded sweatpants to Zara’s hooded coats, the evidence of neoprene’s influence is everywhere we turn.
For the current season, James Perse is offering fans a selection of key neoprene accessories. The DRKSHDW scuba socks and Scuba trucker hats are top quality pieces that guarantee a successful foray into avant garde territory while still maintaining accessible style.
When it comes to pulling off neoprene, the style tips get a bit more specific than your average fabrics. Neoprene works best in colder temps so those chilly Spring days are ideal for rocking it. Also, neoprene is a standout fabric so statement pieces work best. Think bold choices in graphic sweatshirts or strongly constructed coats. Stick to monochrome looks. Most pieces you’ll find will be black or close cousins of it. And lastly, mix up the textures in your look. If you’re rocking a monochrome coat, don’t pair it back to your monochrome sweatshirt. Stick to cotton or other softer fabrications to add some depth and differentiation to your look.
While it may seem like a wild style move, neoprene is a popular fabrication that works in both fashion and athletic aspects of your life.
Michael Damond is a lifestyle consultant and personal stylist for men from Milwaukee, WI to Chicago, IL.
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