Trendwatch: Why The Suit Is Going Soft

How fashion is ditching the structured Don Draper look in favour of something a little more laid-back 

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It was in 1979 that Giorgio Armani, then a silver-haired whippersnapper, founded his eponymous menswear line. Famed for his unique approach to tailoring, which was defined by a deconstructed jacket shape with a soft shoulder, and a drapey trouser, Armani initiated the oversized suiting trend that dominated the Eighties.

Responsible for Richard Gere’s super-louche two-pieces in American Gigolo and the entire wardrobe of The Untouchables (which saw Sean Connery sporting some expertly layered, outsized tailoring) Armani’s laid-back aesthetic demarcated that of a generation.

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Though the late noughties saw tailors adopt a more dandy-inspired approach (thanks in no small part to the style world’s seemingly insatiable obsession with HBO’s Mad Men) – all too-tight, fully-canvased three-piece suits; ubiquitous bow ties and more handkerchiefs than Noel Coward could have shaken a, well, handkerchief at – there’s been a notable shift over the past few seasons.

Burberry, A/W '15
 
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Designers across the board have taken a far more relaxed approach to their tailored garments for Autumn Winter ‘14. From slouchy pleated trousers teamed with string vests, silk shirts and floaty trenches at Burberry; to the just-oversized-enough double breasted suits worn with T-shirts and oversized overcoats at Louis Vuitton; to the slope-shouldered jersey sports jackets and comfortable looking technical trousers at (you guessed it) Giorgio Armani – the fashion world is swinging back towards softness.

Louis Vuitton, A/W '14 
 

The key to achieving the artfully deconstructed look, à la Armani, is to keep things simple and understated. Jackets should be soft-shouldered and cardigan-like; trousers loose-yet-tapered; while suits should be worn with neutral T-shirts in heavy fabrics and trainers (slip-on, preferably) should be worn with everything.

Oh and if in doubt, ditch the tie – ties are so 2010.

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