The Oscars Revealed A Divisive Style Trend That Men May Struggle To Accept

A billowed pill to swallow.

The Oscars Revealed A Divisive Style Trend That Men May Struggle To Accept

Image: DMARGE/Romer Macapuno

As the 96th Academy Awards rolled out its iconic red carpet, a menswear trend that we suspect will divide opinions across the board has marked its arrival as the biggest curveball to suiting standards in years.

While Robert Downey Jr. has long been known for his quirky fashion choices (along with some suitably quirky behaviour), his appearance in a beautiful monochrome suit paired with conspicuously billowing bottoms has ruffled some feathers in the world of menswear.

In something of a nod to seventies style — bolstered by the widespread presence of moustaches, longer hair, and large collars — the style marks a massive departure from the norms of formalwear.

Arriving amidst much Oppenheimer hype — which, as it turns out, was totally justified — RDJ wore a black open-neck shirt along with a big-shouldered Saint Laurent tuxedo jacket and matching-if-massive trousers… overall it was a very strong monochrome look from Iron Man, who was joined by wife, Susan.

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However, he was far from the only celebrity embracing the look. Colman Domingo, nominated for best actor in Rustin, has arrived dressed in a custom double-breasted tuxedo from Louis Vuitton with David Yurman jewellery and metal-tipped cowboy boots… plus big-ol’ trousers.

Bradley Cooper may have courted controversy this year on the back of his lead in Maestro, but his decision to bring his mum Gloria Campano as his date did a lot to win his haters around. Also wearing a double-breasted Louis Vuitton number, his sans tie look also featured some very wide trousers which — dare I say — suited him the least naturally of the three.

This paradigm shift towards a looser leg reflects a much broader trend in ready-to-wear fashion, where comfort and ease of movement are increasingly priotised over “sharp”, slim-fitting silhouettes. From streetwear to high-end suiting, the preference for roomier pants has been a long time coming — it’s comfortably one of Gen-Zs biggest fashion fixations — and was always going to land on the red carpet before long.

But the change is not without its challenges. For those who have become accustomed to the more traditional fit of men’s suits — think slim or, at most, straight-fit pants that break very delicately on the ankle — embracing this look will require something of a leap of faith.

The key to pulling it off lies in maintaining a sense of balance. A monochromatic ensemble is a smart choice from RDJ; it creates a contemporary silhouette while also holding together an outfit that could be considered a little too billowing for a man with a diminutive frame. Ensuring that the trouser hem falls over the shoes is also crucial to avoid a boxy, awkward silhouette that unexpectedly exposes the laces or ankles.

While the wide-leg trouser may be a departure from the sartorial norm, it will offer many the chance to not only express themselves in new and exciting ways but also lean into silhouettes that may better compliment their build than the long-diminant slim-fit. Whether this trend will turn into a mainstay, however, remains to be seen.