The Summer Suit Statement
It may be Spring, and Summer is about to bear down on us, but the work suit’s popularity hasn’t changed – indeed, the warmer temperatures bring out a variety of lighter colours and materials, and men of all ages appear to be open to a more experimental wardrobe during the Monday to Friday commute. Interestingly, as its fashion-sense grows, the suit’s place in the corporate landscape is changing. Silicon Valley “Start-up culture” may have ushered in a new age of casual dressing that makes off-duty clothes appropriate for the corner office, but the suit itself can be reassessed by a new generation of men who associate hoodies and trainers with the uniform of establishment figures such as Mark Zuckerberg or Evan Spiegel.
Wearing a put-together outfit is a way of very easily communicating that you know how to build an organised and visually appealing presentation. It’s a sign to people who are marketing experts that you know how to tell a story in a single glance. Even if you are working in the creative department, you can still ‘Dress Up’ with a suit. No longer are suit-wearers relegated to the legal team. In the tech industry, where “disruption” is a cherished value, a suit suddenly feels subversive in fashion. A traditional suit makes you do a double-take. With social media feeds filled with streetwear, tailoring is unexpectedly fresh – and already enjoying the endorsement of fashion editors at the menswear shows, if street-style photography is anything to go by.
Retailers are starting to see a spike in tailoring, too. A buying director at a popular High Street brand, stated in recent Industry news: “Over the last two seasons, however, the online luxury retailer has seen increased sales in the suiting category, up 30% last winter and set to grow this season.” It’s exciting to see how many luxury houses are introducing tailoring again, but making it relevant for young, casual wear-focused men. After all, the fashionable professional can wear a traditional suit in a more relaxed manner, without a tie or pocket square. These days, seeing people combining a suit with trainers or even shorts is ‘the new normal’. As one Fashion Industry professional says: “I feel I can take on any challenge when wearing a suit and, most importantly, it makes people listen.”
No wonder suits are proving popular far beyond corporate environments, then. In October and November last year, there was a 33% year-on-year increase for the term “men’s suits” on the global fashion search platform Lyst. It’s definitely hit the radar of the consumer, and mix and match suiting options and Suit separates seem to be the place it’s going to start. This new era of suiting won’t simply be a return to the slim-fitted “suited-and-booted” movement of the early noughties, but will bring the swagger of streetwear into the more traditional world of tailoring. As we noted last year in this post : ‘Let’s face it, the suit itself is timeless. It will always be a part of menswear.’
Many younger professionals have adopted the traditional suit as their “work uniform”. Despite the suit’s formerly fusty reputation, seeing hordes of suit-wearers exiting Public Transit in the morning rush hour can be “a thing of beauty” and there is a definite movement toward more creative suit trends making their way into the boardroom. Remember the ‘Mad Men-inspired’ tailoring revival of a decade ago? The suit didn’t fade away, it just became more colourful, comfortable and combative. A deep irony about the creative industry is that you spend all this time telling clients to stand out, yet the people who work in the field have a deep insecurity about looking different.
Jolly old England is still a leader for fashion in the Menswear field. Their biggest market is guys who don’t need to wear a suit for their job, but they choose to. So are younger men finally ready to trade their sweatshirt uniform for suits? All signs point toward yes, so think comfort, and a way to impress your boss, your clientele and your work-mates. The suit never went away, but now we are returning to the time where it is more and more of a style statement on a personal level. See your local tailor today, and look into the best way you can make your own ‘Suit Statement’.