Menswear is one big set of carefully calibrated rules, formulated over centuries, to create oven-ready “good taste” – to which some designers and tailors have said: “Enough!”
OK, maybe not that strongly – they’re not jettisoning everything. But there is a sense that the tectonic plates of menswear are undergoing one of their periodic shifts. And the suit, despite the prediction that all of us will dress like normcore nerds a la Mark Zuckerburg, currently leads the charge. Here then, are five new ways to rock tailored clothing. Not rules. Just new ideas.
Relax the silhouette
“Our tailors have had to unlearn ‘correct’ fit,” says The Chain’s Charlie Casely-Hayford, of London label, Casely-Hayford. “Our jackets are cut straight and loose, in a boxy shape. Our trousers have a long rise and are baggier too.” A classically cut suit follows the lines of the body and has the gently undulating curves of a sports car (still great BTW), but the new tailoring, from labels such as E. Tautz and Casely-Hayford, is loose and louche: all-action suits you can swing an axe in.
- Casely-Hayford’s relaxed designs; Photographs: Getty Images
Anything but a formal shirt
The shirt and tie still has its time and place, but the options for what go underneath a jacket have broadened. Carlo Brandelli, creative director of Savile Row modernists Kilgour, has previously advocated wearing nothing underneath a jacket – so that you can feel the bespoke against your skin. The rest of us might want to try a T-shirt, which chimes perfectly with the new, relaxed suit. Also good are roll necks and long sleeved polo shirts from John Smedley, which work well with the softer lines of the new tailoring. “It helps de-toxify the suit,” says Bayode Oduwole, Pokit’s co-founder and menswear designer.
Trainers and suits are OK (really)
“We often create a suit around a client’s favourite pair of trainers,” says Casely-Hayford. The label also sells jackets with with elasticated cuffs and drawstring trousers so that they riff well with a pair of Nike Air Force Ones. Blaize Bellville, founder of Boiler Room, wears his Casely-Hayford with a gold chain and Reebok Classics.
- The Chain’s Charlie Casely-Hayford in the suit and trainer combo. Taken on Google Pixel 2
Experiment with trouser length (at your peril)
“It’s all down to the weight and line of the shoes (how chunky or slim they are), the width of the trousers, weight of fabric, overall style, individual taste, and confidence,” says Oduwole. Sorry, there’s no standard rule here. It’s simply down to the individual. Overall, in modern tailoring it’s a shorter trouser, but how short is down to confidence.
- Inside the Casely-Hayford studio. Taken on Google Pixel 2
Lose the structure
“The new suit is made with a much lighter canvas lining inside,” says Adrian Holdsworth, founder of Italian tailoring specialists Volpe Sartoriale. “It’s much more comfortable and easier to wear, like a set of pyjamas, but still elegant.” Traditional British tailoring evolved to suit the needs of army officers who needed to stand upright and correct. The comfort offered by the deconstructed suit reflects a society no longer beholden to deference and traditional norms – a look that works just as well on the dancefloor as it does in the meeting room.
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