The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those solely of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Highsnobiety as a whole.
So, when did you last wear a suit? Chances are it was for a job interview, a wedding, funeral, or maybe a court hearing. Maybe you work in corporate finance — but even then, the most traditional firms like JPMorgan Chase have seriously relaxed their dress codes in recent years.
Let’s rewind to a few decades ago, when a suit was arguably the most important item in a man’s wardrobe. Nowadays, most guys don’t even have one (an unofficial survey of the Highsnobiety Berlin office shows that less than 20 percent of male staff own a suit), and even if they do, it’s unlikely to be bespoke.
Sadly, suits and the institutions of fine tailoring that make them made-to-measure (such as Savile Row) have somewhat retreated from contemporary menswear to accommodate modern man’s suiting equivalent: jeans, T-shirt, sneakers, and maybe a hoodie. It’s more or less a reflection of the time. Perhaps menswear is just more profitable as a casual enterprise. People want casual clothes to support their casual lifestyles, casual sex, casual $30,000 student debt, and casual tonnes of Arctic ice melting into the sea.
The fact that some of the most wealthy among us wear jeans and a black T-shirt every day as a post-capitalist status symbol (e.g. Mark Zuckerberg) means that suits as a form of “power dressing” don’t quite add up anymore. It just doesn’t scream “flex” in the way a pair of Triple S and an ALYX chest rig can, but that’s changing.
Because maybe we don’t want to be so casual anymore. As Highsnobiety editorial director Jian DeLeon said recently, “Men just want to look handsome again” — and what’s more handsome than a suit? The trend barometers are ticking and it seems that suits and tailored outfits are about to come back, but not in the way you think.
Reflecting on this year’s shows, Browns menswear buyer Dean Cook tells Highsnobiety, “Tailoring dominated the runway, there’s no doubt about that. Designers such as Balenciaga and Dior unveiled this [tailoring] trend in a very soft way, from tonal colors to relaxed styles fused with a streetwear twist.”
And he’s right. If we look at the most recent Dior menswear show, it was the marriage of high fashion and streetwear incarnate. Newly appointed artistic director Kim Jones (an ardent fan of both streetwear and fine suits) set his runway around a 10-meter-high effigy of KAWS’ BFF character, an iconic figure from street culture.