Monday, 24 January 2011

Suited & Booted this Winter

My editorial - as published in the current issue of Fashion Insider, the Luxury issue AW10/11

Sam Outing advises we go suited and booted this winter

London has long been a popular stage for fringe fashion, churning out eccentric designers, abettors and wearers of clothes for centuries. From Viv West to Nicki Haslam, London's cool, somewhat slovenly, grunge attire has ignored the demands of work and climate. The recent popularity for top coats, trench coats, boots and ‘proper shoes’ however, is born from the necessities of the working day and biting weather. It’s in the cold, dark and often bleak recesses of winter particularly that the ‘city man’ comes to life creatively with his clothing. The city dweller now has the excuse to layer up, wrap up and generally adorn himself - in rich colours and luxury trims. The need to stay warm, but still look our well attired selves produces a challenge to be risen to. The answer is the art of layering and at the heart of this is the suit.

Since the nineties the suit was seen as a practical necessity, a symbol of the working week’s drudgery. Yet it is no longer the symbol of conformity and gloom: the suit once again, finally and thankfully, has become both the perfect all day attire, and most treasured wardrobe party piece. A mix of our new-found taste for conservatism, the post-dip nostalgia for money and our generation's thirst to forge our own ‘revolutionary’ identity has brought the suit into its own. It is now the choice of the sartorially minded.

The new flurry in fashion to ‘break’ the suit and create something altogether more alluring has produced some highly desirable changes in its make up. No longer mundane, drab or shapeless the new suit is a salute to timeless classic cuts and reinvented twills. It is now an item of extremes. It’s been shrunk, pinned and pinched, giving it a desirable, ill fitting school boy uniform, mixed with a snappy 60’s tuxedo feel. This preppy rebirth also incorporates thick, warm, and rich fabrics like corduroy, velvet, and tweeds as well as fine silks and wool twills. Add the wild mixes of colours and patterns, like bright plaids, checks and pinstripes and we have ourselves a modern classic. New suiting strays from matching top to bottom, instead favouring complimentary mixes of patterns, fabrics and colours. Many designers have gone beyond the call of suit duty, including Dior Homme, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Tom Ford and D.S Dundee all following this modern mantra.

A short sharp silhouette of a double or single breasted jacket (only the top button done up for added emphasis of the pinched waste) and the embraced borderline fascist cuts, manifestos of designers like Thom Browne with his shortened cuffs and hems and narrow lapels, conjures a feel of sexy, confident, and even dandy supremacy. A tight smooth fitting suit, combined with a perfect set of gentlemen’s accessories; tie, tie clip, bright socks and gleaming brogues, all shown off by short cuffs and hems, is the best way to be decked out this winter.