While fashion changes from season to season, classic formal wear goes at a steady pace. Think of it as of a respectable gentleman who knows what works best for him, but who is still open-minded to new ideas – even if those new ideas are simply the old ideas, reinvented. That slow and steady progression means subtle changes in formal wear are worth noting – here are the updates we’re seeing.
#1 Cuffed trousers
Classic suit trousers have gone through countless style variations. They have been high-waisted, low-waisted, wide-legged to the floor, generous in the thigh but tapered at the ankle, or slim cut with a flared bottom.
More recent iterations have been low-waisted with a slim line in the leg, flat-fronted (without pleats), and plain from top to bottom. A smart look, but perhaps a touch unadventurous.
A recent change in a formal menswear landscape has added an exciting detail – it’s now official: classic trousers can be cuffed. This small detail can change the look of a pair of trousers considerably. A simple cuff puts more focus on your shoes (so they must be of good quality and well-polished) and improves the drape of the trousers. The extra weight of the cuff pulls the fabric straight, giving a sharper, more polished look
How to wear cuffed trousers:
Choose the right width
Your height determines your cuff width. The taller you are, the wider the cuff – but your cuff should still be 3-4.5cm. Your tailor should help you find the perfect balance.
Get the length right
Cuffed or not, trousers should rest on the shoe with only one break. This rule is even more important if your trousers are cuffed – the extra fabric of the cuff will make bunching far more obvious. While standing, ensure your trousers are sitting in a straight line along the back crease, with one fold along the front crease.
#2 Wider Lapels
The reign of the skinny suit is finally over – its tight, low-waisted trousers, cropped jackets, high armholes and very slim lapels are slowly losing their grip on men’s fashion.
Many reputable classic menswear brands are introducing wider jacket lapels – not to the extremes of the 70s, but an elegant increase in width of two to three centimeters. This dramatically changes the visual perception, making the wearer’s chest look more prominent and defined, and slimming the waist.
How to wear wider lapels:
A wider lapel for a wider tie.
This is a matter of balance and symmetry – a wider lapel calls for more width in the tie. As an example, for a lapel width of 10 cm, opt for a tie width of about 8 cm at its widest point.
Peak lapel for formal looks.
A notch lapel is a go-to for corporate wear. For more refinement, a wider peak lapel jacket – the kind you would expect to see on a tuxedo jacket – looks more polished and interesting, while still staying within the bounds of classic formal wear.
#3 Micro Pattern Shirts
The simplest way to make your corporate wardrobe work is to fill it with plain white and blue shirts and plain suits. It’s an almost go-to combination for a fuss-free outfit in the morning.
And for those who consider their workwear a uniform, there’s nothing more painful than choosing the most appropriate tie for the shirt and then trying to match it with a suit and shoes as well.
But while this utilitarian approach to formal wear simplifies the process, it lacks the opportunity for individuality. The answer is to introduce subtle patterns into shirts – while some brave sartorialists are opting for bold, large patterns, we consider micro-patterns to be more appropriate for office wear. They will blend seamlessly with even the most conservative range of suits and ties, while still offering a touch of character.
How to wear micro-patterns:
Make one of the three - plain.
Even with the tiniest of micro-pattern in the shirt, ensure you’ve matched it to a plain suit or your tie.
To match colours, carefully study the micro-pattern. Your shirt will have a base colour – maybe blue or white. The pattern will be made up of other colours, perhaps brown and dark blue. Choose a tie that matches one of these colours, and ensure your suit and shoes are complementary too – brown shoes with navy, black shoes with greys.
Image credits / hespokestyle.com, blueloafers.com, soletopia.com, permanent style.com, greyfox.com