The 17 Trends That Will Define Our Lives in 2017

All predictions wrong or your money back

January 2, 2017 9:00 am

Rumor has it last year wasn’t exactly a well-liked one.

We have higher hopes for 2017, though.

To wit: our Nostradamusian look at the 17 trends that will define men’s lives this year.

We’ve got good news for the NBA, domestic travel and anyone who likes following models on Instagram.

And also some bad: for Luddites, craft brewers and the First Amendment.

But before you take these to Vegas, remember: all predictions wrong or your money back.

1. Your favorite celebrities are going to keep dying. Celebrity culture experienced a boom in the 1960s as American life began to revolve around the television and mass media became more accessible. All of those larger-than-life personalities are now reaching their twilight years. That many of them were as notable for their partying as their on-stage/screen accomplishments certainly doesn’t help their cause.

2. Dating will go back offline. Will the online dating bubble finally burst in 2017? Probably not. But users are becoming increasingly disenchanted with a system that leads to far more hookups than it does actual intimacy and/or fulfilling relationships, and they’ll look to traditional channels (friends of friends, e.g.) to find connections, even if they don’t abandon their apps completely.

3. The craft beer bubble is going to burst. There are 68 microbreweries in Portland, Oregon, a city of some 600,000 people. It’s but one example of how saturated the craft beer market in America is becoming. Sales-wise, craft brewing appears to have plateaued, while big conglomerates are beginning to buy up some of the most well-known names (Lagunitas and Goose Island, e.g.) to get in on the action. Experts surmise that all that competition will lead to less experimentation, which in turn will lead to less enthusiastic consumers.

4. Protest music will be back in a big way. In 2016, race, injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement were at the forefront of sociopolitical discourse in this country. Unsurprisingly, this led to a lot of really great music from black artists (like Solange, pictured above), who dominated the year-end charts with poignant, personal albums about the black experience in contemporary America. Next year, expect more of the same — along with a ton of new music from a left-leaning cultural elite that has been very critical of the incoming political administration.

5. Athleisure goes to the office. “Athleisure” was the biggest buzzword in menswear in 2016, compelling us to wonder if sweatpants are the new jeans. Now that super-comfortable clothing has taken over the streets, we expect it to move into your office. More and more companies (even in typically stuffy sectors like law and finance) will move away from dress codes as a way of luring in young talent, while clothing labels like Under Armour are starting to target new audiences with upscale sportswear collections.

6. You’re not going to care about your airline alliances, since elite status is so broken. It was great while it lasted, but with the last big U.S. carrier — American — converting in August to a revenue-based model (and minimal spend requirements) for elite status, expect a new, agnostic approach to flying in 2017: we’re all free agents now. For rewards flights, look to your credit card (like the Chase Sapphire Reserve) for benefits, rather than your air travel.

7. Domestic (and Canadian) travel will thrive since the world feels so completely F’d up. A rash of terrorist attacks in Western Europe has scared away international tourists, Americans chief among them. That has inevitably led to a surge in stateside travel, including to smaller cities like Charleston, South Carolina, and Asheville, North Carolina, that have become refuges for young artists and foodies.

8. The tiny home movement will go inside. Minimalism is all the rage in design these days: even home buyers with more than 300 square feet of living space are thinking hard about a pared-down approach. Whether it stems from the millennial preference for experiences over possessions — or it’s just a reaction to a querulous global environment — the minimalist approach will mean buying less, buying better: one Bertoia chair over a roomful of IKEA.

9. You’ll want a virtual assistant in your home, since they finally work. When Apple introduced Siri in 2011, people were very excited to integrate a virtual assistant into their everyday lives. Only problem? She kind of sucks. But Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana have truly raised the bar — both in terms of functionality and convenience — and devices that support both have seen strong sales this year. If you don’t have one yet, you will soon.

10. We’ll waste less food. New technologies are making it much easier to preserve fresh foods, while creative chefs like Dan Barber (picture above) are figuring out ways to incorporate animal and vegetable parts we used to throw away into dishes. Meanwhile, some governments — most notably France — are starting to punish grocers for waste. Expect that trend to grow.

11. Your reality will be augmented. The biggest legacy of Pokemon Go — a smartphone game that completely absorbed our national consciousness for a few weeks last year — will be that it introduced so many of us to augmented reality: a world in which devices seamlessly interact with the world around us to enhance our experiences. Expect that technology to positively blow up in 2017, as companies from fashion to gaming to fitness begin to adopt its usage.

12. Stores become playgrounds. Last year, our hometown — New York — welcomed a number of retail flagships with an interesting caveat: nothing is on sale. Chief among them was Samsung 837, an experiential playground where customers can sample new and forthcoming products without taking one home. Since pretty much everything we consume can be bought online and it’s cheaper to stock those things in a warehouse in Kansas than a stockroom in Manhattan, this will become the reality for many of your favorite brands.

13. There will be a war against the freedom of the press. When Gawker went bankrupt last year in the wake of a $115 million legal loss to Hulk Hogan (of whom they had earlier published a home sex tape without consent), a dangerous precedent was established: the jury had essentially decided that, in a post-print environment, the titans of media can no longer be trusted to decide what is newsworthy. With an incoming president-elect who has asserted he wants to limit the freedom of the press, a war over the First Amendment may loom.

14. Your favorite extinct vehicles will come back to life. The two forthcoming car releases we’re most excited about? The reborn Ford Bronco and Jeep Wagoneer. Expect more of such announcements this year, as storied marques try to cash in on the value of nostalgia.

15. Solar panels will be everywhere. Solar power is finally cheaper than fossil fuels, and even wind. SolarCity founder Elon Musk has asserted that his company’s roofs will be cheaper than traditional ones once when they become available. You don’t have to wait, though — here’s a guide to going solar in the here and now.

16. The NBA inches closer to the NFL’s throne. On Christmas Day, the Warriors-Cavs game overlapped with the Steelers-Ravens game for 45 minutes. Astonishingly, for those 45 minutes, the NBA won. NFL ratings are actually down across the board this year, with a ton of different factors contributing. The future of the sport — which has suffered tons of bad press in recent years because it’s, well, super f*cking dangerous to play — is nebulous, and the NBA, booming thanks to savvy marketing efforts and a stable of superstars in their prime, is ready to usurp it.

17. Beautiful women, creating their own content. Once upon a time, a supermodel was only as popular as magazines and ad campaigns decided to make her. But with Instagram, Snapchat and other visual social media channels, supermodels have more autonomy over their image than never before — and they’re producing steamy, high-quality content in abundance to prove it.

Additional reporting by Diane Rommel and Michael Nolledo

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