Street style takes a dismal turn in February when, at least on the East Coast, it simply becomes too cold to look good. Gloves, hats, and mittens are now essential parts of outdoor life. But in the streets of some of the world’s most fashionable cities, men are amplifying their scarves to giant proportions. That’s because they’re wearing blankets.
Perhaps taking a page out of the Snuggie playbook, blankets have become the latest fashion trend to take hold on streets from Florence to New York, where men (and even a few women) are wearing blankets instead of scarves or coats.
“It’s scarves on steroids! A little bit of the dandy!” Michael Fink, Dean of the Fashion School at the Savannah College of Art and Design, told The Daily Beast. “‘Oh, I can’t find my coat so I’ll throw on a blanket instead.’ What could be more carefree than that?”
But while the look may be bohemian, its price tag certainly is not. The most popular wearable blankets are designed by Kenzo and Louis Vuitton, with Vuitton’s version retailing for $1,260. It begs the question: Do the “Blanket Boyz”—as Fuck Yeah Menswear’s coauthor Kevin Burrows has dubbed them—really take themselves seriously? “I hope you’d have the sense of humor about it to take the blanket off your shoulders and cuddle up a little bit,” Burrows told The Daily Beast. “If you are wearing a blanket, do you share it with the people sitting next to you in the front row?”
The style first emerged in full force at December’s Pitti Uomo fashion fair—a scene famous for its street style menswear peacocks. As modern-day dandies walked side-by-side with their necks constricted in Louis Vuitton’s thick, logo-emblazoned wool, another iteration was unintentionally brewing. Kenzo blankets greeted guests at the brand’s fall 2013 menswear show later that week, perched as hot-token giveaways on each attendee’s seat. At that point, those who were Vuitton-less suddenly gained new blanket perspective. The Kenzo blankets started appearing on the street too (as chronicled on Internet style bogs), and even traveled to New York Fashion Week three months later. A styling discrepancy between the two brands’ blankets soon emerged—those who went Vuitton favored a vice-like neck wrap, and those who thrifted Kenzo off their seats preferred a cloak-y effect (or what Burrows refers to as “sartorial wizards”).
It’s unknown if the blanket trend is here to stay. But one thing’s certain: When the menswear shows start to roll again this summer, it will be too hot to wear this season’s thick wool styles. Burrows thinks that “gingham blankets” might be the trend’s next wave, and that it may very well evolve into a full-on picnicking movement. “You’d take off the blanket, spread it out, take out a wicker basket filled with fruits and have a picnic,” says Burrows. “What’s more romantic than being at Pitti and laying out a blanket? Who wouldn’t want to date a guy who’s always ready to picnic?”