Sunday, 6 January 2013

Nothing suits men like a suit


HIMYM - Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit by Flixgr

I've been thinking about suits recently. In fact, I've been considering them since I was in Paris at the end of the summer. Everywhere I turned there was a well-groomed man in a nicely-tailored suit, talking to his friend who was wearing a completely different cut of suit. Both, however, looked dapper and sophisticated while also seeming comfortable enough that they could have a casual coffee or go out for a friendly drink without feeling overdressed. When we went out for breakfast in the morning, a steady stream of suited businessmen would cycle past on hire bikes. In London, it is considered reckless to take your chances in the city traffic without reflective jacket, helmet and all manner of other protective clothing; in Paris, everyone just wears what they are going to spend their working day in. I even saw two suited men on bikes having what looked like an important business discussion as they waited for the lights to change.

2 stylish guys in Paris
If you get the right cut, material and colour suit, you can wear it at a moment's notice and look instantly ready for anything. It is a universally flattering piece of clothing. Of course, there are many unflattering suits out there, but it is my belief that all men can find one to suit their shape and personality if they know where to look (and often if they have money to burn).
Shop window in Paris

But what is the female equivalent? I'm not sure there is one. Yes, women can also wear suits, but I don't think that the female body is quite so able to pull the look off, so only certain people can carry it off. The thing about men's fashion as opposed to women's fashion is that its changes are much more subtle. Line up a display of menswear over the past century and you will be able to identify the changing size and shape of collars, cuffs, ties, pockets etc. but from a distance, many of the outfits will look very similar. Compare that to the dramatic lengthening and shortening of women's hemlines, necklines and every other other possible aspect of a garment and you'll see why the it is much easier to identify which men's look is THE classic one.

Could the Chanel skirt suit be the female equivalent?


The problem is that the components of a suit stay much the same, while candidates for the female equivalent, such as, say, the little black dress, re-define themselves every season. The shape of a dress changes far more drastically than a suit does. It seems awfully vague to say that there's a 'dress' for everyone. A suit requires small changes in its tailoring or sizing to flatter a man, but to change a dress so that it suits various different women might require radical reshaping.

But then, perhaps you disagree, or can think of another item which is universally flattering to women. Let me know what item of clothing you throw on if you want to feel instantly well-dressed in the comments section.

10 comments:

Olive said...

Why don't men dress like they did during the Victorian era. Every guy should have a waistcoat, tails and a pocket watch and life would be so much better...

Chris.T.K said...

I think there's a bigger emphasis on women's body shape, and dressing to sculpt it into the latest fashionable shape, whereas for men, this doesn't seem to be the case. Perhaps there's an assumption that men's body shapes are more or less uniform,hence why, as you said, you only need a bit of tailoring for fit. I think that more or less consistently, men's suits have aimed for a strong masculine look over time, whereas styles for women change with the culture over time. Great post by the way :)

Aleksandra said...

To feel instantly well-dressed I wear A-line skirts or dresses, they're really flattering.
I really like it when men wear suits, but they have to be fitted really well or else it can destroy man's look... my bf doesn't get it, wears a way too big suit and doesn't want it to be fixed :(

Casandra Davis said...

What one notice about how well-dressed men whether in suits or casuals is that they rarely wear jewelry. The only jewelry that would never go out of style is the classic watch and a wedding ring for a married man.

Toby Howarth said...

Neil Patrick Harris can carry a suit well. I watched all the episodes of how I met you mother and seeing him wear suits every time inspired me to do such thing. I had confidence to wear a suit because of him.

Harriet Barber said...

Who did not dream to dance in the streets of New York in a suit? I don't know where it came from but this kind of scene is popular among American TV programs and films. It never ceases to get a good feedback from the viewers.

Matilda Hayward said...

I see suits as a versatile attire. It can be worn on corporate meeting and weddings but it can be also worn on a regular day, just modify some details then you're good to go. The association of suits to formality has changed throughout these years.

Summer Stewart said...

I very much agree. Boys look men whenever they wear suits, based on how I remember way back in high school during prom nights. And no suit will be perfect without those black leather shoes. I must say it completes the manly appeal.

Kate Stone said...

No matter what happens, suits are man's best friend, just like how diamonds are our bff. Seeing them wear suits make them a lot different, say, from a young lad becoming a man with responsibilities. Talking about how I love that apparel change us.

Leah Brennan said...

I agree with you, it does suit a man well. Makes them cunning looking and more presentable. But they are not affordable, how would a common person "suit up" without renting a suit. They should lower the its price and make it affordable to the public.