The last few years have not brought about a great deal of change in men’s styles but all that changes this year – at least for some. I wonder how much of the style change is linked to the change in the White House. George W. Bush always wore a traditional suit – pleated trousers, cuffed with fuller legs, jacket with a bit wider shoulders and shoulder pads, wider lapels and a lower button stance. Now, Barak Obama, who is tall and very trim, looks great in his fashion forward suits.
So what ‘s different about this year’s suit? First of all, the silhouette is slimmer. The shoulders are a bit softer and narrower, less constructed. Armholes are higher and chests more sculpted, allowing a greater range of motion. Lapels are narrower with a slightly higher button stance. The new, more fitted jacket, features slightly shorter sleeves. This shorter sleeve requires a shorter shirt-sleeve as well. The shirt should extend ¼ “ to 3/8” beyond the sleeve with the new length being right at the wrist with the jacket just shorter. Trousers are closer fitting with flat front, slimmer legs and slightly shorter length. The new, shorter pants can be worn with cuffs of 1 ¾” to 2” or worn without cuffs. The pant should just “kiss” the top of the shoe having only a hint of a break.
Ties are also narrower – no wider than 3 ½” and may even be slightly narrower than that. Shirts also have softer shoulders, shorter sleeves and are more closely fitted to the body. In keeping with the shorter trousers, shoes are being shown with a narrower look and a higher vamp. There should be no sock visible between the shoe and pant. Belts need to match the shoe, not necessarily an exact match but in the neighborhood. A brown shoe requires a brown belt and suede shoes need a suede belt. As you might imagine, the new wallet is slim so that it will not create a bulge in the slim trousers. Topping the look off is a pocket square that blends with the tie but does not match it.
When studying this new fashion look, I wonder how many men have builds that can carry the new, trim look. It seems to me that well over half the population of the United States still need the fuller cut and pleated trousers. A pleated pant is very forgiving to large legs. Personally, I prefer slim, flat front trousers without a cuff. A cuff is needed to give “grounding” to pleated pants but is not needed for a slim, flat front pant. Also, on a shorter pant, cuffs will make the leg look shorter. This new slim look will exaggerate any hint of a tummy, and a large tummy trying to squeeze into that slim cut would be laughable. And how is a man with a wide foot going to fit into slimmer-cut shoes?
In conclusion, I find the new, slim look very appealing. In reality, it should be left for the very trim man who can carry off the look beautifully. But, don’t look for the traditional cut pant and jacket to disappear. Millions of men need to stick to traditional!