Milan Fashion Week was all about BSE (it’s…the energy of the big shirt)

A new year has begun and everyone is showing great things. Great wealth, great style, great success. And with the Fall/Winter 2022 menswear shows mostly held in Milan, it looks like some designers are thinking big too. As in, big ass shirts.

At Zegna, there were boxy, generously cut mid-layer shirts in cream, brown, black and gray shown over high-necked knits and under workwear-style coats. They are part of the brand’s drive to reinvent costume for a post-COVID world as a modular clothing system, a Tetris-style way of dressing both formal and casual. As such, the shirts somehow floated around the body and hit well below the waist, a compelling bridge to the dress/casual dress divide.

Some advanced shirts from Zegna.


Similarly, Silvia Venturini Fendi explored a few “new suiting” ideas with her fall collection, including longer shirt jackets that landed mid-thigh and featured oversized collars and loose sleeves and blouses.

Big-n-baggy shirts at Fendi.

Victor Virgil
Victor Virgil

But it was Kean Etro who took it to its craziest and, to be honest, most logical conclusion – long tunic like shirts spilling over chunky sweaters or sheer kaftans with deep V-necks and ties thin necklines in purple and marigold and worn half tucked into matching pants.

Blouse shirt at Etro.

Victor Virgil
Victor Virgil

There was of course a time when everything was skinny: skinny jeans, skinny suits, skinny ties. But that era is over. Blame it on the jolt of year 2000 nostalgia that has the fashion world in its deadly grip, or on the fact that everything else (jeans, shoes, bags, fits in general, really) is getting comically big (units absolute, amirite!?). And it’s no surprise that people are increasingly looking for comfort, the ability to move with ease and to feel pampered rather than crushed. Or maybe it’s just that the fashion industry is a big old pendulum and the time has come when we’ve had enough of the small and now we want the big, big, BIG, and plenty soon we’ll tire of it and focus on lean things once Continued. In all likelihood, it will be a mix of all of the above.

But until then, we agree with the Milanese maestros: dream big, think big, dress big.

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