8 Menswear Instagram Trends to Retire in 2016

3 / 10
Because there's no head, I can totally see myself in this. (Photograph via @itsamansworld_ig)

4 / 10
(Photograph via @menslaw)

5 / 10
[Clapping hands emoji] (Photograph via @marianodivaio)

6 / 10
Don't know about you, but I always spray some cologne as soon as I get out of my car as well. (Photograph via @eff.ulloa)

7 / 10
Making money on other people's photos. That's classy. (Photographs via @gentsbook & @mens.fashionaddict)

8 / 10
Leaning on someone else's car is kind of disrespectful, especially when it's a RR. Kids these days. (Photograph via @oh_anthonio)

9 / 10
Cool, yes. But can we do it differently? (Photograph via @thepacman82)

10 / 10
The squad shot. (Photograph via The Menlook Tribune)

There is definitely a certain visual vocabulary to menswear Instagram accounts. You’ve got to see the full length shot, preferably in mid-stride, the chest region, which showcases one’s tie/pocket square complimenting prowess and, of course, the worm’s eye view shoe shot.

I have to admit that although I enjoy seeing these shots from time to time, it does get a little monotonous. Doesn’t everyone’s feed start to look just a little bit similar? I think it’s time menswear Instagram evolves a little.

So this is a call to have a much more creative 2016. But in the meantime, here are menswear’s worst Instagram trends that need to be retired in 2016.

The Chestie
Ah, the chestie. That faceless square of blazer, shirt, tie, pocket square combination goodness. While we can’t fault Chestie-takers for providing endless inspirational possibilities, the -ism does sort of condone the unhealthy idea that you need to do something different every single day. Which you don’t.

I can’t imagine the anxiety felt by the most prolific of these folks – “Oh, no, I’ve run out of permutations! Time to buy more ties and pocket squares.” Maybe they do repeat combos every now and then, paving the way for an innovative niche troll, the Chestie Dick (short, for detective, people! Sheesh…).

The Headless Shot
Though The Chestie is technically a headless shot, it’s not The Headless Shot. The Headless Shot is an otherwise fine photo of someone except for the head being cut off.

Proponents of this menswear Insta -ism will tell you 1) that style is about the outfit and you shouldn’t be swayed by so-and-so’s handsome face and 2) that by removing the head, you can imagine your own head on the body! On some level I get that logic, but style isn’t just about the clothes you wear, it’s the whole package – including someone’s face. So… On with their heads!

The Shameless Shirtless
Okay, we get it, bro. You’re fucking ripped. Good for you. Don’t be such a narcissist and keep that shit to yourself from now on.

Applying Cologne Casually in Absurd Places
A favorite trope of #influencers trying desperately to make an interesting photo of a bottle of cologne for a paid campaign, because a photo of a bottle of cologne is, well, a photo of a bottle of cologne – i.e. not that interesting by itself.

The idea is to be “organic,” but when’s the last time you just happened to be walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and thought to yourself, “Hey, I could use a splash of fragrance!” only to reach into your satchel and whip out a fresh bottle of department store cologne which you proceed to apply over your overcoat with the perfect sun burst lens flare behind you?

The My Feed Is Other People’s Photos Feed
The person or people who manage this kind of feed are the worst kind of parasites, in my book. They steal other peoples’ photos, rarely give credit and pass off the feed as something original.

There’s nothing wrong with curation, but these people who rack up hundreds of thousands – sometimes millions – of followers are making shit tons of money. Without creating anything original. That’s really not cool. Actually, that’s fucking despicable. (If you’ve read Lawrence Lessig’s Remix, let’s have a chat in the comments.)

Leaning Against Cars/Motorcycles That Aren’t Yours
All I’ll say is that if I ever saw a blogger sitting on my bike or leaning against my car for a photo (without me, like, if I just came across them doing that), they’d better run. Get your own!

The Neatly Organized Laydown
Before you say it, yes, yes, I know I am guilty of this one. Like, more than a little guilty. I’m willing to be lenient on the styled table, shoes, or accessories, but the overly neatly styled #ootds need to go. Why? Because I know how long they take to stage and I would like to encourage those who make these on a daily basis to reclaim some of that wasted time and apply it to another creative endeavor.

The Staged #Squad Photo
When a street style photog posts a hyperlapse of 200 shots and you see a crew of 12 dudes getting organized then walking up stairs 12-abreast, twice… Let’s get real, gentleman.

Anything you’d like to add to the list?

Thanks for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style


Chime In

  • http://www.chevronsandeclairs.com/ supal {chevrons & éclairs}

    Andddd I’m sharing this because it’s hilarious :) Thanks for the light lunch read! x

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      You are welcome. Cheers!

  • http://www.tailormade-style.com DJ

    The “Your feed is my feed” concept is..crazy! Its crazy how people make money off of monopolizing hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of followers off of photos that aren’t their own. At the same time, it is 2016 and there are countless ways to make a buck today, so in a sense I respect it. We’re at innovation’s mercy

    DJ | http://www.collegestyleguy.com

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      I always appreciate the comments, DJ, but I’m going to have to challenge you a bit here. Think about all of the work that people put into creating their own beautiful content – you know that feeling, I think. It’s hard work and takes a lot of time. And sometimes, some of the people making beautiful content aren’t getting paid to do so.

      So when a shady slug swoops in, steals that content, and repurposes it for their own benefit, often passing it off as their own, I find that extremely dishonest and completely and utterly lacking in integrity. How can you respect that?

  • http://www.punchkickinteractive.com Kevin Hsia

    Great points. Thank you for keeping it real, Brian.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Many thanks, Kevin!

  • Dimitri Stepanyuk

    There is a guy @imchanism, it’s not up to me to judge his style, but those photos of him sitting almost on the same benches or places and shooting his legs, shoes and cup of latte is little anoying.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      I don’t know that feed, but I understand your points. Intellectually, I think it’s cool when something – such as the background – is always the same, but visually it’s monotonous. You can almost get desensitized to the photos after a while, you know?

  • Eric Nguyen

    Ha I’m guilty of the headless shot… (for one photo).

    Although a trend I find in a lot of bloggers are doing is posting outfit grids and photos of essentially everything from H&M, Zara, F21, etc. I feel like the lack of aspiration is there as well as the quality of the garments in question. A reason I like HSS

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Many thanks, Eric. Quality over quantity and building a lasting wardrobe focused on what Alan Flusser calls “permanent style” is always a good investment.

  • https://www.igeeokafor.com Igee Okafor

    “Okay, we get it, bro. You’re fucking ripped.” I have never laughed so hard in my life.

    I’m guilty of the squad photos, and motorcycle posing. Only posed with a motorcycle once though, Haha! You can see it here: http://www.igeeokafor.com/blog/?offset=1444408172700

    I think the squad photos should stay. It’s always nice to see influencers in a group setting, having fun. Something about seeing people support each other is really cool.

    I actually am not bothered by any of the instagram trends listed above. Yes, sometimes, it gets a little monotonous, but what feed doesn’t? We follow pages we know what to expect from, and most times, those pages we enjoy following produce the same content. Whether it’s full head to toe outfit photos, editorials, quotes, beautiful scenery, food etc.

    Anything I’d like to add to the list? Low quality, poorly taken photos. Nothing irritates me more.

    I was looking forward to this read once I saw the Headline. This was a great read, Brian! Very funny, and very informational. No doubt, instagram etiquette is important.

    Igee Okafor
    Style Enthusiast/Blogger

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      What bothers me about the squad photos, at least how I describe them in the post, is that they are exceptionally staged but they are put out into the world as candid moments, which they certainly are not. There’s a difference between taking a photo with friends and having a street style photog tell you to walk across the street a few times.

      Great point about photo quality.

      Thanks for the continued support, Igee. Cheers.

      • http://apeisdapper.com Ape is Dapper

        So much truth in this article! Especially the cologne…we hate that.

        I will say this about squad photos: Though they might be staged, rest assured that the fun we’re having and how good we look (Heh…) is not. For us at least, the photo will try to show the good time we’re having before/after the picture. For example, this day https://goo.gl/f6LYwq involved coffee/beer/food/shindigs…jumping for joy for so many activities! :P Cheers, –the Apes

  • Keith Allison

    I could do without a hundred different instagram feeds all posting the same ad for a bracelet on the same day.

    “My shoes and coffee” photos are a definite pet peeve of mine.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Hey, Keith! To your first point, I haven’t seen a particular bracelet ad, but when there’s a campaign running, it’s obvious sometimes. No way around that!

      Shoes and coffee – like from above looking down?

  • Matt

    Such a good read. I’m definitely guilty of some of these. You can say these trends are just cliché but they do have a place from time to time minus the shirtless bros and “My Feed Is Other People’s Photos Feed” haha.
    I would like to see more creative photos, references to books you read or records you listened to. People actually doing things, Staged or not staged. I like to see you and the world you live in. That’s why I “follow” people.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Thanks for the comment and support, Matt. Here’s to a more creative 2016!

  • Daniel Sacchitella

    I don’t mind some of the shots of pocket square and tie combinations, but I am a firm believer in minor adjustments. As long as everything fits impeccably, then I feel like you have a lot of leeway for being very creative, or for exercising elegant simplicity (the latter of which I prefer).

    One thing that could disappear are the Instagram feeds that show people with clothing that was clearly tailored just for the photo. Seriously, how does one move about in a shirt that is skin-tight?

    Great blog by the way, really enjoy the content.

  • http://www.stylegirlfriend.com/ Brittany_StyleGirlfriend

    “Applying cologne casually in absurd places” ha! Too funny. I always laugh at those…casually, of course.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      How ridiculous, right?

  • Joseph Padilla

    Ack! I’ve had IG photos taken in such a way that I’m simply either (a) doing my selfie in an angle that takes doesn’t include my head yet has my outfit or (b) took a first-person photo of my outfit looking down to my shoes. Yikes!

    Though the thing with me is: I don’t know (or have) anyone who could take a more-than-decent (or any kind of) photo of me. Hence, I’m making the most out of what I have in my arsenal. Just wanted to put it out there.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Haha. Cheers, Joseph.

  • qin

    It would be great if you can incorporate the pictures into the articles.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Noted. I think our slideshow works pretty well and loads extremely quickly. Better than some of the “big boy” publications AND you’re not getting pop up ads when you advance.

  • Drew Kerr

    The “no socks” trend.

    “Miami Vice” was canceled a long time ago.

  • Eff Ulloa

    Just came across my photo Brian! Lol Hilarious – but hey it’s always good to get a fresh scent in right before a meeting or seeing that special someone. I mean come on don’t you stay fresh right when you leave your car? so funny.

  • Robert Giaimo

    Agree with most of your comments. But take exception to photos with someone else’s car. I’m a car buff, and have several vintage sports cars, but on many occasions while traveling in Europe I have had photos taken of me and the classic Fiat Cinquecento which still exists in Italy. I do it out of my appreciation for the simplicity of design, I see no harm in it.