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Today’s hype-fueled fashion landscape yields a mountain of fresh menswear every month. Which is why every issue of GQ now includes The Drops, a guide to the best of the best new gear as it hits stores. April brings some of the most expressive colors and silhouettes the spring-summer 2021 collections have to offer, which is handy—as the world tentatively reopens, there’s never been a better time to embrace radical personal style.
Spring Sweater-And-Sandal Kit
This season Dior Men designer Kim Jones collaborated with Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo, whose vivid palette—splashed across sweaters and painter pants—heralds better, brighter days ahead.
Bottega Veneta may be a leather house, but Daniel Lee isn’t scared of remixing its codes with other materials: This bag is made of squishy, durable rubber (tote bag, $1,250).
When you construct sublime menswear out of antique militaria, you create a lot of leftover fabric. Greg Lauren’s studio recycles that by-product to make things—this one-of-a-kind quilted suit incorporates mixed linens from past seasons (jacket, $9,975, vest, $5,550, and pants, $9,975).
Back in 1985, Nike released a series of “Be True to Your School” Dunks celebrating college-basketball dynasties. The maize-and-blue Michigan model has been a collectors’ favorite ever since, and the latest iteration promises to be the hottest yet (sneakers, $100).
At Jil Sander, Lucie and Luke Meier have established themselves as fashion’s most formidable knitwear minds, with epically good pieces like this formfitting chunky, textured linen crewneck (sweater, $990).
Before Séfr was a brand, it was a Malmö-based vintage shop whose spirit still lives on in this suit: The fabric is groovy, and the trousers have a perfect 501 straight cut (blazer, $630, shirt, $195, and pants, $370).
Enormous pants! A lanyard wallet! A perforated leather jacket and derbies! Dolce & Gabbana has your next vacation fit on lock (jacket and pants, prices upon request; tank top, $195).
An NYC institution, Moscot found inspiration in an era of Lower East Side style so O.G. that tiny sunglasses didn’t yet exist (glasses, $310).
For big spring hiking trips, and big fits on rainy days, look no further than La Sportiva’s bombproof Karakorum boots (boots, $315).
Let’s take a moment to appreciate how cool it is that Alessandro Michele’s Gucci—and these brocade flared trousers, embroidered all over with sequins and beads—exists (pants, $3,900 – releasing later this year).
Better-Than-Vintage Leather Jacket
For spring, Our Legacy is serving up a potent recipe for flyness: Take one part leather jacket and one part silky shirt, unbutton, and mix well (jacket, price upon request, shirt, $267, pants, $328, and sneakers, $425).
The new Omega Constellation harks back to the Art Deco “Manhattan” model introduced in 1982 while taking design cues (peep the indices) from the city’s newest iconic skyscrapers (watch, $21,400).
The Perfect Pullover
There’s no better spring sweater than the V-neck vest, and there’s no better V-neck vest than Hermès’s, handmade from silvery mouliné cotton (vest, $1,225, price upon request – 1(800) 441-4488).
Is It Denim?
At Balenciaga, clothes don’t exist to look cool but to say something about other clothes. Case in point: This oversized Canadian tuxedo is actually leather with a trompe l’oeil denim print (jacket $4,390, pants, $3,290, sneakers, $1,190, sunglasses, $630, and necklace, $5,190).
The ideal spring loafer, by Loewe, has the construction of a dress shoe but looks and feels like a slipper (loafer, $650).
Call it the spring beanie—Soraya Hennessy’s rollable crochet hats, handmade in Colombia, are a park-hang essential (hat, $85 each).
The pleating at the core of Homme Plissé Issey Miyake’s funky, architectural menswear feels as wacky and innovative as it did on its debut in 1988 (shirt, $715).
S. S. Daley’s oversized shirts—this one’s constructed from embroidered deadstock French linen—became practically synonymous with warm weather and good vibes when Harry Styles wore one in his “Golden” music video (shirt, $397).
Tokyo-based Hender Scheme remixes classic footwear motifs in fresh ways. This mule is part clog, part brogue, and part combat boot (clog, $620).
The classic Polo Ralph Lauren cricket sweater might look precious, but the design has a storied sporting pedigree. Wear it like you would a favorite sweatshirt: hard (sweatshirt, $298).
The best fashion news of 2020? That Lamine Kouyaté, a star designer of women’s fashion in the ’90s, was reviving his radically original brand, XULY.Bët. Even better? That his eye for old and unexpected fabrics would also be expressed in menswear (long-sleeve shirt, $179, short-sleeve shirt, $149, and pants, $299).
A version of this story originally appeared in the April 2021 issue with the title “22 Paths to Your Spring Fashion Awakening.”
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Photographs by Martin Brown
Grooming by Rachel Ledig at Art Department
Runway photographs and Sportiva, Omega, and Nike still-life photographs: courtesy of brands
Other still-life photographs by Martin Brown
Prop stylist: Stella Rey At Mark Edward Inc.