Even in the middle of summer, my mind is often drawn to men’s winter fashion, mainly due to the amazing images that show up on instagram, twitter and the blogosphere from Pitti Uomo. This is THE men’s clothing festival/show/occasion. Now as the colder months near in the southern hemisphere I look to implement as many as possible that suit my style.
Here are my four favourite new season looks that we in the southern hemisphere need to check out.
There is a strong trend moving away from the traditional suit, but not to a casual look, rather to a mix and match look of different fabric jacket vest and trousers, to keep a formal style but adding some panache.
Here’s a great look with a bold trouser, then understated jacket, waistcoat and tie then with some flair from the pochette and lapel pin.
In this, the feature is the jacket,offset with a classic shirt, tie and trouser combo, but with a great pochette to add some splash.
This sort of look is great for those not bound by traditional conservative attire, but still want to dress either in a suit or quite formal. It is a great way to embrace your inner dandy in a work environment that doesn’t prescribe the wearing of ties. Alternatively, these are great looks for dinner or lunch without being as stuffy as the suit.
DOUBLE BREASTED SUITS AND THREE PIECE OUTFITS
I have included these in the same section as to me the are doing the same thing. With suits and dress attire there is a huge swing back to a more formal look. In conservative environs classic ties and shirts are the norm, but with the rise of dandy-ism men are using the double breasted or three piece option to distinguish their outfits, also adding more formality and power dressing. These looks are great for winter as they are a bit warmer too.
This is just a simple suit lifted by both the interesting waistcoat and pochette, and is indicative of the plain being lifted by the waistcoat. Note the outfit behind is in the same mold.
This double breasted is just fantastic, and worn to perfection with simple white shirt and tie highlighting the feature colour in the check of the suit. Also that coat is fantastic, and is referred to later.
This was one of my favourite looks, the beautiful curved low gorge vest in a mid grey flannel suit, so well accessorized with the strong hat and pocket watch. This look could be worn from the accountancy office right through to the races, just edit the level of accessories.
FLANNEL SUITS AND JACKETS
These are a northern hemisphere staple due to their warmth and they simply seem to encapsulate the winter look. These feel extremely comfortable and add character to any look. Here the texture of the fabric is the hero, and the classic English wardrobe refers to the plain navy or grey flannel suit as THE must have.
The classic Prince of Wales check, just with the napped finish of flannel makes and amazing suit or even just a jacket, and lifts the character of the suit. Again note the 3 piece.
A GREAT COAT
This is a wardrobe must, even in the milder climates such as Sydney. A beautiful jacket just adds a great touch to that winter outfit, even just worn draped over the shoulders as in many of these images. Get one that complements all of your suits if you only wear it a few times a year to make sure you get maximum wear from it, although having several is a great luxury and you can then be a bit bolder.
Here is one a touch (okay, a lot) bolder in burgundy which is actually suprisingly versatile, as anyone with oxblood shoes can attest. This becomes a large feature of the outfit, to the extent this man in a suit has coordinated his tie and socks to match.
You don’t have to be as bold as these options, a beautiful camel (as pictured with the double breasted suit above), grey, charcoal or navy coat is fantastic as well, just make sure it is well cut. It should have slightly broader shoulders than your suit, but still be a tailored shape, not a sack.
HOW TO APPLY TO THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE CLIMATE
The climate in the southern hemisphere is obviously not as severe as that in the north, so to achieve your own versions of these looks a couple of adjustments can be made. To start with, get a few contrasting waistcoats to wear under existing suits/jackets in a basic plain coloured lightweight fabric, you can buy these separately sometimes but usually only in classic colours so visit a tailor to have some bolder ones, and things like this are a great way to test a tailor without spending a fortune.
As to the flannel textured fabrics these days many mills provide lighter weight flannels in 8-10oz weights (240-300gm) which are light enough to wear year round in warmer climes, as opposed to the 14-15oz (400-450gm) weights of yesteryear. Brands like Ariston and Dormeuil provide great fabrics in this style and weight, my favourite for jackets is the Giacche Ariston bunch and Dormeuil Amadeus jackets.
To get that fantastic tweed check look you simply can’t beat Aimbry by Huddersfield cloth, in a perfect perennial weight the patterns are perfect for the separates look, or even for a bold suit
As for off the rack options, in Australia try MJ Bale for basic budget options or Hugo Boss AND Brooks Brothers for some more premium options. The best options though are at Harrolds from great brands like Brioni, Pal Zieri and Caruso, which are finally making a real appearance on our shores!!
Good luck adding these looks to your wardrobe, check some more options out at The Man in a Suit pinterest site and feel free to suggest more!
In my mind the two absolute essentials in any wardrobe are the navy suit and the white shirt. I have started with the navy suit, as I think it is the more important and more versatile of the two.
The right navy suit will get you a job from the interview, to the office everyday, to casuall drinks on a friday, to weddings and race meetings on the weekend, out to a bar at night and if need be to a funeral. In short it is the panacea to any sartorial dilemma.
It is no coincidence that in menswear everything sells better in blue, especially suits. Blue is a colour that is flattering to all (unlike charcoal which a small minority look very pale and washed out in). It goes well with almost any colour shirt, from whites to pinks and lavenders to blue and coloured stripes, which makes it a great choice to the office. It also can be dressed down beautifully with a nice t shirt of any colour and the jacket goes beautifully with denim and casual cotton trousers as well.
This is the classic work/interview style. Very simple shirt and tie combo, please note the brown shoes. One should only wear brown shoes with navy and blue suits, why? would you ever wear a black tie with a navy suit? question answered. It is quite easy to see here that if this man wore a different shirt and tie combo you wouldn’t even notice that it was the same suit.
These two images show the navy suit worn with a little more panache. Maybe for those higher up the foodchain at the office , or who want to look like they are, also great for special occasions like the races or weddings.
David Beckham (one of the style icons of our time) has worn a contrast collar shirt and accessorised with a pocket square and tie bar to suit the special occasion.
In the other image the man has included a vest and a tie pin for an elegant look suitable for the upper echelons of office wear as well as occasions. He looks like he owns whatever work he is doing and looks very individual even though he is wearing plain navy suit, plain white shirt and classic navy patterned tie. He lets the accessories add the bang. Both of these add a touch of flair to the classic navy suit but nothing overwhelming and a look that is easy replicable.
This is the more casual style suitable for Fridays or the weekend. A beautiful white crisp shirt unbuttoned, well accessorised with a Panama hat and pocket square, and although I can’t see I could almost guarantee mid brown loafers and no socks for a real italian style. Great look for heading out to a bar after work or even on the weekend. This is where real personal style can come through into the suit. The same type of look more anglicised would be with a crisp white T and some chuck taylor style sneakers for a more weekend oriented style.
Well if a navy suit works for all occasions and I must have one what style do I need?
The classic would be a plain fabric, maybe with a texture like a herringbone, waffle weave or hopsack just to give a little detail. The suit really should be two buttoned, three limits it more towards workwear and one towards occassion wear, single or double vent is fine. The trousers must be flatfronted otherwise again it is work only and the trousers can never be worn as separates. The suit should be quite fitted, but not so tight that it “spiders” at the buttons when done up, but fitted enough it hangs nicely when unbuttoned. The trousers crucially have to be nicely tailored in shape, quite slim, but comfortable enough to move around in all day.
The right navy suit will rarely have people saying “great suit” rather “you look great today” which is exactly what you want from you staple pieces.
Dressing well for men, is far more about style than fashion. By this I mean a man who dresses according to their body type and skin complexion will always be better atired than one one slavishly follows the latest fashions without regard to whatever flaws and imperfections they highlight or conceal
Starting with the hardest, the shorter stout man.
The first thing is to wear clothes that actually fit. Trying to squeeze into one size two small which just highlights the girth, or wearing oversized pieces that end up looking like tents. Start by wearing something that is correctly sized. This may mean getting it made as finding these pieces off the rack is nigh on impossible. One of the classic faux pas is chunkier people wearing skintight jeans, which simply emphasize the stomach/hips region and make you look like an apple on a stick!
Style wise, stouter men need to follow a couple of basic rules and repeat them ad nauseam. Their suits should all be two button single breasted (This will be repeated often in this series as this is the most flattering style for most). If possible ticket pockets, preferably angled should be present on all suits, as this creates a tapered line from hip to waist giving the illusion that it narrows.
Also very important is to emphasize the shoulders to make them look as broad as possible to counteract the belly. Peaked lapels aid in this greatly as it makes the shoulder look far broader. Conversely avoid narrow lapels at all costs as they will appear to get lost and make the jacket look for bigger.
Look towards darker colours with faint to mid vertical patterns. The vertical stripes will aid in adding length to the appearances and draw eyes away from width, however avoid extremely bold stripes as this emphasizes girth by drawing attention directly to the stripe. Darker colours are better, as they avoid attention, lighter colours attract it, emphasizing size.
Trousers, always try to wear flat trousers with a gradually tapered leg. The line of the trouser needs to add verticality and make the leg look longer then it is. Pleated trousers will add far too fabric through the legs and billow like a tent, also cuffs need to be avoided as the shorten the line of the trouser. Always wear a belt to ensure the trousers do not slide down and look oversized. the shirt must always stay tucked in as well again to keep looking as long as possible and nothing undoes that quicker than an untucked shirt. This is actually a rule for almost any shape, but is most important in this case.
In summary, the stouter man has the hardest job, but if they follow these simple rules they can look fantastic
Wear correctly fitted clothing
Emphasize shoulder breadth
Emphasize height and length
Simple and subtle vertical stripes, patterns and textures over lighter plainer cloths
Here are two images of Zach Galifianakis, who I do consider one of the best dressed stout men in Hollywood. One he gets everything right in the darker suit with 3″ lapels emphasizing shoulders and a slim tie to add length to his frame. The other he has opted for a less flattering pale blue suit, that seems to draw attention more to his size and detract from his look.