Menswear’s Graphics Grow Up

John Ersing

It’s difficult to be democratic with your wardrobe when the current style landscape has high and low mixing like never before. It’s not uncommon these days, especially even in the workplace at younger companies in industries such as tech and fashion, to see men meshing together graphic t-shirts and other screenprinted pieces with their dark denim and nip-waisted blazers (both of which you should definitely already have in your closet for work, gentlemen).

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to espy the correlation between how men are dressing on the street and the runways. It seems as though designers have picked up the everyday style of guys and translated it to high fashion. Call it the trickle-UP theory; menswear is now influenced by the masses.

Admit it. We’ve all bought into the tacky graphic t fad that once dominated the casual menswear market. I’ll admit that I was even a fan of crests, logos and cursive out-of-context words like “VALOR” or “LOYALTY” (not to call anyone out) until college when I realized how elementary that made my style look.

Inject cool without losing clout this spring. Unlike the juvenile pieces of yesteryear, the new graphic offerings are slick, sharp, and streetwear-savvy. They’ll give the message that you know how to mix skate and street with high style, not the message that your parents dropped you off at the mall.


My favorite of these pieces is the I MET GOD t-shirt from Rooftops NYC. The large white simple font screams meme. However, upon further inspection it provokes an interesting viewpoint with an O’Henry like twist—all in five words (okay, six, there’s a contraction). Plus, Drake and Cara Delevingne are into it. If you’ve got a sizeable chunk of change, go big. To keep a graphic print on the classy side, you can (counterintuitively) do an all-over graphic. The oversized printed stereo t-shirt from Givenchy has a retro vibe, and you’ll stand out amongst a sea of dudes who are still rocking last season’s Givenchy Rottweiler print.

Make a huge impact with a little pattern. The all-over polka dots on this short-sleeved button up from OURS look minimalist despite how busy the piece is as a whole. Add a solid-colored tie that matches mustard (enter: royal blue) and you’ll be fielding compliments from coworkers all day. Colorblocking is also in for spring, but have you considered printblocking? Take this digi floral polo from Elwood—classic black with a twist at the collar and towards the hemline.


Another all-over print that works is this rose-printed number from Futuristic. At first, it looks a little too Mary Katrantzou, but upon further inspection, there’s more originality to this digitally-altered bouquet than meets the eye.

Throw on these grown-up graphics under a cardigan or blazer, and keep the rest of your outfit pared-down and sharp as a tack to achieve this low-brow, high-fashion look.

Vada is recruiting new fashion writers to join our team! If you’ve got a sharp wit and an eye for style, get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. Email our fashion editor at and tell us why you want to join us. Good luck! xo


About John Ersing

John Ersing is a copywriter and journalist based in New York City. With clients spanning luxury fashion, beauty, and lifestyle, he has written editorial for HYPEBEAST, The International Design Times, and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week website, among others. @jersing