What do the words 'mens fashion' conjure in your mind? A Dalston boundary-breaker, drowning everything they own in pleather and studs or the next big thing in the fashion world?
Or perhaps a drop-crotch slouch-hat wearing 'fresher' decked out in the latest unfunny Topman slogan t-shirt with JLS boy band-boots to top it all off? Or do you applaud an era when fine tailoring and razor-sharp style was the epitome of menswear? If it's the latter, then you and I share something in common. In more basic terms, bring back the typical suited gent.
Whatever happened to the everyday suit? The timeless staple that was a necessary addition to every office, high street and dance floor across the country? Despite subtle variations on a traditional style, the suit is synonymous with cool sophistication regardless of fleeting fashions.
A paragon of masculine finesse, every suit-wearer in every era is connected to some form of perfection. Sherlock Holmes, everyone's favourite 19th century dapper chap, wouldn't have been quite the same if not head-to-toe in tweed.
The Beatles proved the sex appeal of the suit, sending millions of women into a pheromone frenzy. And, despite a less than wholesome lifestyle, the global obsession with Mad Men only reinforces the public adoration of a suited gent (womanising and boozing aside).
The suit is the only existing style thread in every single field of expertise.The stockbrokers of the city pioneer Armani, Jarvis Cocker revisited the slim fits of the 60s - even James Bond was made that much cooler by espionage in pinstripes. Nothing quite beats the suit, and despite what most think, versatility lies at its very heart. The stiff-necked, top-buttoned look can be easily undone with the removal of a tie, shirts are replaced by tees and if The Strokes taught us anything, it was the success of school-inspired pumps teamed with the tailored trouser.
Why is it then, that the suit is rarely found on the modern gent? Save weddings, funerals and job interviews, it's rare we ever don anything remotely in the smart realms of a suit, myself included.
A sharp look shouldn't be reserved for special occasions only, and slowly, we're seeing a turnaround. The likes of Salvatore Ferragamo, Canali and fashion heavyweight Gucci revisited the classic 70s cuts during autumn/winter previews, and the prep-focus of Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger always involve some form of structured tailoring. Serial suit-wearers are also entering the mainstream; Tom Ford, Nick Wooster and George Lamb inject a little Saville Row perfection, delivering a sharp, put-together look every single time. Paving the way for a more stylish horizon, the upcoming 2012 adaptation Great Gatsby could well catapult the catwalk into a rage of 1920s-inspired pieces: such structure and style can only be a good thing.
Of course, I'm not saying that every day should be a planned plethora of polished brogues and well-adjusted braces. After all, wearing a three-piece plaid offering from Etro may be a little unnecessary for dinner with your gran. Instead, it's about a simple avoidance of style laziness - making a little extra effort and utilising the knowledge of big style icons. Many female companions of mine often swoon at the concept of the suited gent, so why not break some hearts and some stereotypes of 'men not having a clue' when it comes to fashion? Let's just take a little inspiration from our more presentable forefathers, and give the terrible trends of the current high street a well-needed push in the right direction. Follow suit, and embrace the suit.
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