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man in trench coat walking under the rain

What do Rick Blaine, Dick Tracy and Inspector Clouseau have in common?

Well, apart from dark hair, they all made the trench coat famous and they looked sharp doing it.

The trench coat has been around for the better part of a century. This piece of classic men’s fashion will not disappear anytime soon.

A trench coat is stylish and practical. There are many styles, materials and colors to choose from thus making the decision on what style fits you feel overwhelming.

This article has been written to help you understand the trench coat and ultimately make a good decision which style is best for you.

Trench Coats: Classic and Historic Menswear

British-based clothier Aquascutum developed a waterproof coat for officers of the Crimean War (1853-56) and Thomas Burberry, inventor of gabardine fabric, sent a waterproof coat design to the British army at the beginning of the 20th century.

20 century soldier in a trench coat under the rain

Both clothiers lay claim to the invention of the trench coat. Whoever was the first to invent the waterproof trench coat is always debated, but the point is that their inventions have been keeping soldiers dry in the wettest of conditions. 

After the end of World War I soldiers returning to civilian life brought with them their trench coats and the fashion quickly caught on.

From the muddy trenches of France to the streets of the growing metropolis, the trench coat is a staple in weather protection. When a gentleman puts on a trench coat he can almost feel the history and the value the trench coat has.

Trench Coats Are Practical

man in trench coat under the rain

Being rained on is not fun. The feeling of wet clothes, wet hair and skin can make a dreary, rainy day seem even worse. If you live in an area with heavy annual precipitation (Seattle, for example), you will undoubtedly find yourself having to walk through the rain.

A man’s umbrella is useful when the rain falls perpendicular to the ground and when there is no wind. Most storms, though, have substantial wind gusts and sometimes horizontal rain rendering umbrellas useless. A trench coat will keep a man and a man’s clothing dry.

Trench Coat Fabrics Give a Man Many Options

trench coat fabric

Here is a list with quick explanations of the various fabrics used to make trench coats:

1) Gabardine: Invented by Thomas Burberry, gabardine is a tightly-woven fabric that can be distinguished by its diagonal ribs on the face and a smooth backing. Traditionally made from worsted wool, gabardine can nowadays be found made from cotton, polyesters, or blends.

2) Leather: The hides of various animals (cattle being the most common) make for serious trench coats. Leather is known for its durability, softness and protective qualities. Any leathers, though, need consistent cleaning, conditioning and air circulation in order to have a long lifetime.

3) Cotton drill: Similar to gabardine, cotton drill is a tightly-woven fabric with a prominent twill weave. Cotton drill is strong, durable and breathable. The fabric has also been used to make work gloves, chef aprons, among others.

4) Serge: Military uniforms and greatcoats were made from serge fabric. Sometimes you will find a trench coat made from this twill fabric. Serge looks like gabardine, but can be distinguished from gabardine by its diagonal ribs on both sides of the fabric (whereas gabardine is smooth on the backside).

Trench Coat Colors for All Seasons

collage jpg

Trench coats for the traditionalist are khaki in color.

Rick Blaine and Inspector Clouseau wore khaki-colored trench coats and khaki is what most people envision when they think trench coat. However, there are many colors and shades that can compliment your wardrobe.

Understand what color fits best with your physical features and your clothing.

Black is a neutral color that compliments many other colors. Blue works well if you are of a thin build. Olives and greens are reminiscent of the trench coat’s military history. Brown is a great option if you want a leather trench coat. And, of course, khaki is king.

Trench Coat Styles Allow Every Man to Wear Them

man in trench coat walking under trees

Trench coats are classic pieces of men’s fashion. Little has changed and little will change in trench coat styles. What you buy today will look great tomorrow and twenty years from now.

However, there are trench coats specifically made by “avant garde” fashion designers. We suggest you stay away from these overpriced flashy coats.

The good thing is that these trendy trench coats only make up a very small percentage of what you find in the stores. Today you will generally see trench coats in the stores that would not look out of place fifty years ago.

Single Breasted or Double Breasted: If you are vertically challenged (5’7″ or less) and / or lightweight (150lbs or less), then we suggest a single breasted trench coat. A double breasted trench coat has more fabric that would envelop a small man and his features.

Belted: Trench coats should have a removable D-ring belt. Why? Trench coat belts were used so that a military officer could attach a sword or a pistol holster. But now a belt serves a purpose of accentuating a man’s physical features.

A trench coat should be fitted (see below), but by using a belt a man can bring in those remaining fractions of an inch of fabric which would otherwise be loose.

Vented: A long coat with no vents will slow a soldier, making him an easy target for machine guns and snipers as he goes over the top of his trench into “No Man’s Land”. Therefore, the single vent on the back of a trench coat allows for his legs to achieve his maximum gait. The single vent has been a standard since the coats invention. It won’t make a departure anytime soon.

Storm flap: Sometimes erroneously called a “gun flap”, this extra piece of fabric covers the right side of a man’s breast. It protects against water entering the jacket where the two folds meet.

Soldiers who shouldered their firearms sought to remain dry underneath; a trench coat without a storm flap would “open” at the fold and allow water to enter through the “holes” between the buttons. The storm flap keeps from any holes being created as a man raises his arms. It is a valuable asset to have during the heaviest of downpours.

Insulated Linings: Some trench coats do not come with insulated linings. These are reserved for tropical climates. Another version is a trench coat with a removable insulated lining; a gentleman who lives in an area with variable weather conditions will find a removable insulated lining a godsend.

The other variation is a sewn-in insulation. The trench coat will keep you dry and the insulation will keep you warm — best for cold, rainy spring and autumn weather.

Shoulder Tabs (Epaulets): Officer insignia were attached to the epaulets so that soldiers could distinguish rank among trench coat-clad personnel. The tabs protected the coat from damage caused by the insignia pins. Today they serve only an aesthetic purpose.

trench coat collar and epaulets

How Should A Trench Coat Fit

The length of a trench coat is traditionally to just below the knee. However, a gentleman can find trench coats in various lengths: full-length, knee-length, three-quarters and short are the most common.

Tall men can easily wear a knee-length trench coat, but should avoid wearing short trench coats.

Short men should avoid wearing long trench coats. Unfortunately for all of us, full-length trench coats have been associated with negativity, goth, and Morpheus from “The Matrix”. We suggest to accept the fact: a man should not wear a full-length trench coat.

trench coat fit

The shoulders of the trench coat should allow enough room for you to wear a man’s suit jacket underneath. About .5″ to 1″ of the trench coat should extend past your natural shoulders. This space is sufficient for layers underneath.

The chest of the trench coat should be roomy enough for you to insert your fist between the jacket and your chest without being too tight.

The sleeves of the trench coat should extend 2″ to 3″ past your suit jacket cuff. The trench coat sleeves should fall into the bottom fold of your palm.

Where to Buy a Trench Coat

Now that you are convinced that trench coats are great pieces of menswear, you ask where you can find a trench coat? Below are possible places where you can strike trench coat gold:

1) Brick-and-mortar stores. You can see, feel and put on the coat. There is security in knowing that you are buying genuine and quality coats.

2) Internet stores. Faster and more options are at your fingertips. A simple internet search will give you thousands of hits, but the problem are finding a trusted seller (see below) and not being able to see, feel and try on the coat. Use your intuition.

3) Internet auctions. Here is a great way of getting a trench coat for cheap, especially vintage trench coats. However, there is more inherent risk of false advertising than internet stores. Do some research before you bid.

4) Thrift stores. Scoring a quality trench coat is more a hope and a prayer than for certain. Persistence and knowing where to thrift could land you a vintage, lightly-used trench coat for pennies on the dollar. Our suggestion is to locate any thrift stores in well-to-do neighborhoods.

5) Within the family. Perhaps your father or grandfather, uncles or other relatives has a trench coat that fits you. If you are on the good side, you could get it for free or at least a small favor in return. It never hurts to ask.

Carefully research any “too good to be true” offers of otherwise expensive trench coats (e.g. Burberry). While the counterfeit / knockoff market for trench coats is not as prolific as luxury watches, wherever there is a famous name there are sure to be fakes.

Parting thoughts on the men’s trench coat

If you are naturally hesitant about purchasing quality clothing, we can reassure you that a classic trench coat will not lose its style. Your investment today will keep the rain off your back for decades to come.

The post Guide To Man’s Trench Coat | Stylish, Practical and Classic appeared first on Real Men Real Style.

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By: Antonio Centeno
Title: Guide To Man’s Trench Coat | Stylish, Practical and Classic
Sourced From: www.realmenrealstyle.com/mans-trenchcoat/
Published Date: Wed, 03 Jan 2024 16:24:05 +0000

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10 Ways To Give Your Outfit A Vintage Look

Man leaning against a tree reading wearing khaki chinos an oxford shirt with a knit red tie jpg

At some point in your personal style journey, you’re bound to take notice of vintage menswear and its influence over contemporary fashion today.

For many, their first exposure to vintage style is through movies and television, whether original media from previous decades, or period-pieces produced in the modern day.

Some are enamored with the “old money” elegance in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), while others find themselves more drawn to Robert De Niro’s flashy ensembles in Martin Scorsese’s mob epic, Casino (1995). Perhaps you’re into the exemplary displays of Ivy Style portrayed in Dead Poets Society (1989), or the 70s take on the look in The Holdovers (2023).

Man leaning against a tree reading, wearing khaki chinos, an oxford shirt with a knit red tie, a gray tweed sport coat

The real world holds plenty of style stimulation, as well. Maybe your favorite style influencer recently put you on to an especially cool retro look. Or you passed someone on the street with head-turning taste.

Whatever your source of inspiration, and whatever particular aesthetic that’s caught your eye, there’s one truth that remains consistent across practically all of these experiences and others like it: vintage style can be pretty darn cool, and a ton of fun!

Photo of man wearing vintage 50s style seersucker suit

But in truth, it can be challenging to know where to start once you’re committed to the idea of incorporating more vintage styles into your wardrobe. So, we’ve put together a list of tips and expert advice to help you experiment and achieve the perfect vintage look. Ready to retro-fy your style journey? Read on!

Tip #1: Shop Secondhand Vintage

This might seem obvious, but it’s worth stating. You won’t get a more authentic vintage look than by wearing authentic vintage clothing.

Besides being a sustainable practice, shopping vintage will help you learn to appreciate the styles of previous decades in a whole new way. It truly is a hands-on learning experience that will allow you to recognize vintage details everywhere, furthering your understanding of vintage fashion.

Thrift stores, flea markets, and online marketplaces like eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, Depop, Vinted, and more are filled to the brim with vintage offerings spanning across different decades and styles. It can take a bit of work and patience, but that’s part of the fun when it comes to cultivating your vintage style.

Thrift store rack filled with textured and colorful suits and jackets, and patterned shirts

Sometimes, you can find quality vintage-inspired pieces produced by modern brands. If this works for you, go for it! But always be mindful of quality. It’s worth noting that you can often find great deals on vintage designer pieces by shopping secondhand.

This tip is at the very top of the list because it truly is the best way to get started. Embrace the process and have fun with it!

Tip #2: Incorporate Tailoring Into Your Outfit

When in doubt, tailoring has got your back. And sometimes your legs, too!

What many outfits some may categorize as “boring” often lack is a degree of extra dimension or texture. That’s where tailoring comes in.

Take a look at pretty much any vintage photograph, and you’ll often see it front and center. Men wearing suits, jackets, wool trousers – the works! It doesn’t even need to read as formal if you opt for a casual suit or sportcoat. But it will undoubtedly add a touch of sophistication to nearly any outfit.

Blazers and sportcoats feature lapels that frame your torso and neck, while padded shoulders will compliment and accentuate your form.

Man wearing olive-colored tweed jacket over turtleneck sweater

This extends to bottoms, as well. Try swapping your regular work chinos for a pair of tailored trousers to elevate your ensemble. This can work any time of the year if you go with the right fabric. Try wool or corduroy for fall and winter, cotton for spring, and linen or seersucker for summer!

Man wearing linen pleated trousers

Looking to try a bit more? Wear a full suit!

Until the late 1990s, it was more common than you might think. Hence, the vintage association. If you have the option, opt for more casual suiting made from casual fabrics like tweed, corduroy, or linen. When the occasion calls for it, smoother, worsted wools should be your go-to for business or more formal settings.

Tip #3: Try Out New Silhouettes

A lot of modern, contemporary clothing has fit very similarly for a while now. Slim and skinny fits were all the rage in the 2010s. Even today, it remains a very common style. For the fashion-conscious, wider, roomier fits have been back for a few years now. But if you have yet to give it a try, maybe now’s the time!

Not all larger fits are the same, either. For example, during various decades across the twentieth century, the fit of pants, in both refined tailoring or casual workwear, was constantly evolving, much like our trends today.

The 1920s saw an influx of relaxed suits, with lots of room in the seat, thigh, and leg of the pants. In the 1970s, flared pants were accentuated with a slimmer thigh. Big shoulders in jackets and a tasteful excess of fabric characterized much of the look of tailoring in the 1980s.

Man wearing 70s flared jeans with western boots and western belt

If you’ve been wearing the same slim or skinny fit chinos and slim fit suits since 2010, it might be time to switch things up! There will always be a place for tasteful slim fits, but it can be a lot of fun to experiment with roomier clothes, too.

Man wearing wide-leg, chalk-striped wool trousers

Tip #4: High-Rise Pants Are Iconic

Sometimes, a low-rise jean looks pretty cool! The Ramones certainly had the right idea. But for a good chunk of menswear history, pants have traditionally sat significantly higher on the waist, falling closer to one’s natural waistline.

The rise of a pair of pants refers to how much fabric exists between the top of the waistband and the crotch seam. The more fabric, the higher the rise.

Aside from lending your outfits a classic, vintage look, high-rise pants can actually make you look taller by elongating your legs and breaking up your body proportions in a way that is almost always universally flattering to all body types.

With the right amount of room in the seat, sometimes afforded by pleats (see tip #6), they can be highly comfortable, and typically slip a lot less than many lower-rise pants.

Man wearing high-waisted, pleated corduroy trousers with a tucked-in oxford shirt and wool sweater.

Generally speaking, high-rise pants extend to around your belly button. But sometimes, they can be a little higher or a little bit shorter. Finding which exact fit is right for you can take some trial and error, but a good pair of high rise jeans or tailored trousers are a great way to give your outfits a vintage touch.

Tip #5: Frame Your Face With Retro Shades

There are tons of sunglasses with timeless, classic frames that stand the test of time. But if you want to make a statement, go bold! Big shades in tinted colors offer a lot of 70s appeal.

Tortoiseshell sunglasses have a bit of a softer touch, but work well with all sorts of classic menswear aesthetics.

Man wearing brown tortoiseshell sunglasses

Maybe you’re going for a 1980s stockbroker look? Keep things big, bold, and boxy! A good pair of vintage style shades can be a brilliant capstone on an already brilliant retro outfit.

Tip #6: Pleated Pants, Perchance?

One of the chief characteristics of classic menswear and vintage tailoring is the amount of depth and dimension afforded by the fabric, fit, and details.

Today, a lot of contemporary fashion can feel a bit flat. But if you keep an eye on the forefront of fashion, you may have observed that pleated pants have made quite the comeback in the past few years!

And for good reason, too. Gone is the somewhat dorky, dad-like association of ill-fitting, pleated khakis. Quality pleated pants lend an extra dose of visual interest to all types of outfits, from casual linen trousers to the most refined tailoring.

Man wearing double pleated brown houndstooth wool trousers, paired with a brown braided belt

Flat-front pants are just fine, but pleats offer a subtle yet noticeable charge of detail and dimension. They afford pants a bit more shaping, and as you very well know by now, silhouette is vital to getting a vintage look right.

And they can be practical, too. If you happen to have thicker thighs, you’re likely to enjoy the added comfort and room of pleated pants. A little pleat goes a long way!

Whether you prefer a single, reversed pleat, double, forward-facing pleats, or a different configuration, like double reversed pleats, they’re guaranteed to signal that your outfit considers classic detailing.

Tip #7: It’s Time For Ties

Modern menswear seems to be rather split on the necktie. Many have all but abandoned it, even at traditionally formal events like weddings or political forums. Others still maintain that traditional tailoring almost always required a tie.

Regardless of where you fall, the tie has certainly become less and less popular over the twenty-first century. But for most of classic menswear history, the tie has held a place across many shapes, forms, and aesthetics. And if you’re trying to go for a vintage look, the right neckwear can make a big difference.

Man wearing 80s style double-breasted pinstriped suit with art deco tie

Classic silk ties in simpler patterns will work best for formalwear, whereas bolder ties are more of a statement piece. Textured ties, such as knits or wool compositions, can really add to an ivy or academic look. Wider ties tend to be seen as more vintage – but bear in mind that skinnier ties were popular in the late 1950s and 1960s!

To stand out and really sell a vintage ensemble, it might just be time to revisit the necktie.

Tip #8: Prioritize Natural Fabrics

With the exception of 1970s style, which popularized polyester in the form of double-knit synthetic suits for leisure, disco, and more, vintage style is often entirely composed from natural fiber fabrics.

Today, a lot of modern clothing is made from polyester or other synthetic fabrics. This changes how a garment feels, wears, and lasts. Vintage clothing is often made entirely from natural fabrics like wool, cotton, and linen.

Man looking confident arms crossed thick wool cable knit fishermans sweater jpg

Unless you’re going for a 70s look, polyester or synthetic-blend clothing is often a staple of more modern clothing. A suit made from stretch-infused athleisure fabric might be comfortable, but it won’t exactly communicate a vintage style.

Prioritizing natural fabrics will ensure that most of your outfits read as more period-accurate, and they’ll likely last longer, as well.

Tip #9: Vintage Bling Counts, Too

Vintage jewelry can be a great finishing touch to your outfit, and an even better way to express your individuality. Like authentic vintage clothing, you often can’t beat the genuine article when it comes to antique jewelry.

Necklaces, rings, bracelets, and more, can often be found at flea markets or online marketplaces for competitive price points. Where you can, try to stick with genuine silver or gold. In the long run, it’ll often look a lot better than some cheaper alternatives.

Nervous about trying out jewelry? Start small!

A simple chain, pendant, or ring is an easy access point to experiment. Historically, rings have many hidden meanings and old-world associations, often depending on the finger you choose to wear them on. For an easy vintage look, a simple signet ring will most likely suffice.

Man’s hand adorned with a simple silver signet ring on his pinky. Ring has a tasteful coat seal engraved on it

Signet rings are adorned with seals, often bearing a family crest, signature, or similar, used to confirm authority on documentation and the like. Today, they just look great as a top-tier vintage accessory.

Tip #10: These Shoes Are Made For Walking

Don’t discount your footwear! When it comes to putting together an outfit, your shoes will sometimes be the first thing people notice, and they can truly make or break your overall look.

For more casual outfits, consider timeless classics such as Converse Chuck 70s, brown leather derbies, loafers, or even a western boot.

Man wearing classic, straight-fit blue jeans paired with brown tassel loafers and white socks

For more formal styles, choose authentic dress shoes. These will almost always be black, and unlike open-laced derbies, sport a more polished, closed-laced lacing system.

If you’re interested in investing in quality dress shoes, consider goodyear welted shoes and full-grain leather. These may cost more up-front, but they’ll age more gracefully, too, and can typically be expected to last longer.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget to Have Fun with the Process

Thought we were done, did you? Well, we nearly are.

But it’s worth noting that the most important part of experimenting with style, vintage or not, is to allow yourself to enjoy the process.

If you start to feel frustrated that your outfits aren’t looking exactly the way you pictured in your head – that’s okay! Fashion and style journeys are rarely completed in one trip. So, be sure to experiment. Learn. And enjoy yourself along the way!

The post 10 Ways To Give Your Outfit A Vintage Look appeared first on Real Men Real Style.

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By: Antonio Centeno
Title: 10 Ways To Give Your Outfit A Vintage Look
Sourced From: www.realmenrealstyle.com/vintage-look-outfits/
Published Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2024 16:12:15 +0000

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VENEERS FOR A MEGAWATT SMILE

shutterstock 2068648295 jpg

There are many men out there who are desperate to get their gnashers sorted to get that megawatt smile, so in recent years, there has been a noticeable surge in the number of men opting to have veneers put in. This cosmetic dental procedure, once primarily associated with women, is now gaining popularity among men seeking to enhance their smiles and boost their confidence.

So the good thing about veneers is the enhanced aesthetics: One of the most significant advantages of veneers is their ability to dramatically improve the appearance of teeth; whether addressing discolouration, uneven spacing, or minor alignment issues, veneers can create a more symmetrical and attractive smile, enhancing overall facial aesthetics. This will give you confidence, but who wouldn’t want a bright, flawless smile that can significantly impact self-confidence and self-esteem? With veneers, men can feel more confident in social and professional settings, making positive impressions and feeling better about their appearance. So, when properly cared for, veneers can provide a long-term solution for smile enhancement, and unlike other cosmetic dental procedures that may require frequent touch-ups or replacements, they offer lasting results and provide value for the investment.

shutterstock 2068648295 1 jpg

And this is the big one, the cost. One of the primary drawbacks of veneers is the cost associated with the procedure. Veneers can be a significant investment, and the total expense will depend on factors such as the number of teeth treated and the type of material used. While some may consider the cost worthwhile for the aesthetic benefits, it may only be feasible for some, and remember that having veneers put is irreversible. So what is the procedure? Veneers involve permanently altering the natural teeth by removing a thin layer of enamel to accommodate the veneer; this irreversible process means that once the veneers are in place, there’s no return to the original teeth. It’s essential for individuals to carefully consider this aspect before proceeding with the procedure.

While veneers can be unique, there is a potential for sensitivity, and some guys may experience increased tooth sensitivity following the placement of veneers, particularly during the initial adjustment period. While this sensitivity is usually temporary and subsides over time, it can be a discomforting side effect for some. And what is needed for maintenance requirements? While veneers are durable, they still require proper maintenance to ensure longevity; this includes regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups and avoiding habits that may damage the veneers. Don’t smoke, and don’t bite into anything complicated!

Despite the potential drawbacks, the popularity of veneers among men continues to grow, and many men are drawn to the transformative effects of veneers and the confidence boost they provide. Whether for professional reasons, personal aesthetics, or simply wanting to feel more confident in their smile, veneers offer a viable solution for those seeking to enhance their appearance and improve their overall quality of life. As with any cosmetic procedure, individuals need to weigh the pros and cons carefully and consult a qualified dental professional to determine if veneers are the right option.

shutterstock 2437759457 jpg

Now, this is the big one: when it comes to dental veneers, the choice of materials plays a crucial role in determining the quality of the result and impacting the overall cost. Porcelain veneers are renowned for their superior quality and durability, making them a popular choice despite their higher price tag. On the other hand, composite resin veneers offer a more budget-friendly option but may be prone to chipping over time. In the UK, veneer costs typically range from £500 to £1,400 per tooth. However, this price range can vary depending on various factors, such as the location of the dental practice, the dentist’s expertise, the materials used, the number of veneers required, and any additional treatments necessary.

Ultimately, while the cost of veneers may seem significant, it’s essential to consider the long-term benefits and their impact on your confidence and self-esteem.

The post VENEERS FOR A MEGAWATT SMILE first appeared on Mens Fashion Magazine.

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By: MFM
Title: VENEERS FOR A MEGAWATT SMILE
Sourced From: www.mensfashionmagazine.com/veneers-for-a-megawatt-smile?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=veneers-for-a-megawatt-smile
Published Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2024 07:50:40 +0000

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Fabric and Formality: What Makes a Suit “Casual?”

man casual vintage suit jpg

Nowadays, largely due to the prevalence of casualwear and the prioritization of comfort and simplicity, tailoring has become an increasingly rare sight. This trend can be recognized in all sorts of settings, even those where, not too long ago, suits were often considered mandatory. Or, at the very least, heavily encouraged.

Whether for a typical day at the office, or for an elegant evening out on the town, men used to don suits for all sorts of occasions.

But today, suits and tailoring tend to be thought of as wholly “formal.” Something you really only ever wear for very specific events, such as weddings. And even then, there are those who prefer weddings with an entirely casual dress code.

But this was not always the case. For much of the twentieth century, there existed the notion of the “casual suit.” This was more or less a middle-ground of sorts that existed between formalwear and casualwear.

Today, the concept of business casual often fills this gap. But instead of the drab khakis and cheap dress shirts found on sad discount store racks, casual suits still contain all of the depth and visual complexity of traditional tailoring!

man wearing traditional 3-piece suit

Believe it or not, the concept of the “casual suit” was once well-accepted. In the past, men understood that not all tailored garments read as formalwear.

And today, many menswear enthusiasts hold by the same truths and standards, educating themselves about the history and context for the various fabrics, patterns, and colors that qualify some tailoring as timeless, casual styles.

Read on to discover it all for yourself!

The History of Casual Suiting

Like so many western menswear traditions, the origins of the casual suit (and suits in general, for that matter), can be traced to England. In this particular case, we can look to the lounge suit, born out of Scotland in the mid nineteenth century, and the arguable granddaddy of all suits.

Typically made from heavier wool fabrics, the lounge suit wasn’t actually intended for lounging. Instead, it was essentially the sportswear of that era. Used for hunting and other outdoor activities, the coats on these suits were shorter than the longer frock-style jackets worn in town for business matters. This shorter length would accommodate easier movement for sporting activities. It was all about performance!

men in Scottish hills wearing thick tweed suits and tweed caps

Of course, the construction of these garments, often seen in three-piece configurations, was still rather elegant, using rich, earthy tones and quality wool. As the 1800s progressed, and the 1900s began, the trends of the lounge suit eventually made their way from the English and Scottish countryside to dense, bustling cities.

The business suits frequently seen in the professional world kept their darker appearance and their finer, subtler wool fabrics, but adopted the shorter coat configuration of the sportier lounge suits. And thus, the modern blueprint for the suit was born.

In the United States, suits followed the trend timeline set by the British, as Brooks Brothers debuted their famous “sack suit” in 1895, in accordance to the rising popularity of shorter coats.

Frock and tailcoat demand was down! And Brooks Brothers was there to claim the opportunity. The sack suit quickly cemented itself in the American fashion vernacular, while carrying over the cultural associations of various fabrics born out of England.

Rougher, heavier wools such as tweed became a hallmark of academia and the American Ivy League, a setting in which the aforementioned “middle-ground” of formality thrived. Meanwhile, just like in England, business suits and formalwear retained their smoother, sleeker look.

You may be thinking, well, thanks for the history lesson. But how does this apply to the idea of casual tailoring today?

What History Teaches Us About Fabrics

The rich history of tailoring and the fabrics used for different occasions, locales, and eras, all point to modern contextual clues we can use to determine a suit’s formality.

In the Scottish countryside, aristocrats donned heavy, three-piece tweeds to go hunting. It wasn’t really something they wore on their wedding day, per se. Or even to do business!

You may have heard the old phrase, “no brown in town” before. While this needn’t be followed so stringently today, it did refer to the practice of brown tweed and tweed-adjacent suits being designated for countryside wear.

man in the English countryside wearing a brown tweed suit

But the lesson remains the same. A gentleman had tailoring for recreation. For casual affairs. At the same time, he also maintained a wardrobe for more formal occasions.

This path of thought can still be followed today to determine the modern-day implications for a tailored garment. Because clothing is so strongly informed by our culture, those associations are often already there whether we’re aware of it, or not.

The gentleman’s difference? He understands the association and the historical context of different garments – right down to the fabric and pattern itself.

Therefore, the casual suits of yesteryear can still read as casual today to the informed mind. Where some may still just see a suit and equate it to a fancy vibe, the casual suit teaches us that one can still be “put-together” without sacrificing a degree of elegance.

Because good tailoring is three-dimensional. It drapes. It creates interesting shapes to compliment your figure. But it can still be casual!

How to Identify Casual Suits

Now that you know the history, and how that history influences our cultural aesthetics, you’re ready to discover casual suiting for yourself! Here are some tips on how you can do this successfully.

1. Fabric Is King: This is arguably the most important aspect of determining the formality level of a suit. Fabrics like tweed, flannel wool, corduroy, cotton, linen, and seersucker are all examples of fabrics that typically “casualize” a piece of tailoring. More formal suits are usually made from smooth, worsted wool.

man in flannel suit

2. Pattern Matters, Too: Usually, the bigger and bolder the pattern on a tailored garment, the more casual it’s intended to be. Look for big, bold stripes, windowpane patterns, houndstooth (often found on tweeds), and more.

houndstooth suit

3. It’s a Colorful World: Light-tones suits in shades of white, cream, beige, and light gray are usually less formal. An exception to note would be the white dinner jacket, which is the most important component of white tie attire (very formal).

white linen suit

While you don’t need to take “no brown in town” too seriously, do know that most shades of brown are still considered fairly casual. Less conventional colors, and especially anything on the louder end of the spectrum, also deformalize the overall look.

Dark suits aren’t always casual, however, as you need to take into account other aspects mentioned on this list.

4. The Devil Is in the Details: It pays to look out for the small things, as well. A less structured suit, for example, such as one with minimal to no internal padding in the jacket, is inherently a bit less formal.

Fewer than three buttons on the sleeve cuff are also often a dead giveaway, and are sometimes found on suits similar to those worn in the English countryside. Cuffed pants can be very tasteful, but they are also traditionally more casual. So are patch pockets on a jacket. The little things go a long way in identifying if a suit reads as formal, or not.

man wearing a cotton suit with a relaxed shoulder

How You Can Style a Casual Suit Today

So, you’ve learned all there is to know about the history, why it matters, and how to determine if a suit is casual-coded. Good work! However, you may still be wondering how to style a casual suit.

Maybe you’ve already got yourself a corduroy two-piece you’re itching to rock out on the town, or even a cream-colored, cotton, double-breasted suit.
Regardless of what kind of casual suit speaks to you, here are a few style tips to avoid clashing your casual tailoring against pieces that might be too formal.

1. Oxford Cloth Button-Downs Are Your Best Friend: Ah, the oxford cloth button down. Or, to its friends, OCBD, for short. Much like the sack suit, this style of shirt was popularized by Brooks Brothers, and it pairs magically with nearly any casual style suit. Tweed, corduroy, cotton, flannel, linen, seersucker, you name it – the OCBD is almost guaranteed to go well.

This is because, much like the less sleek nature of most of these fabrics, oxford cloth is typically made from a slightly more textured cotton. While some dress shirts can go well with some casual suits, it takes a well-trained eye. OCBDs have a built-in history and cultural association that allows them to just work.

oxford shirt

2. Avoid True Dress Shoes: Don’t pair your casual suit with black, closed-laced oxford shoes. Rather, consider something just a step down, like an open-laced derby shoe, leather boots, or loafers in a complimentary color.

wearing corduroy pants with brown oxford shoes

3. Appropriate Accessories: To really communicate that your outfit is casual, even to those who can’t quite distinguish the suiting formality scale, you can let your accessories do the talking.

For example, a braided or embossed belt is often considered more laid-back than a sleeker, simpler one. Or try a western belt if you’re feeling like a cowboy!

When it comes to ties, sometimes silk works just fine in casual ensembles, but something with a bit more texture, like cotton, wool, or a knit can really finalize a classic, casual Ivy League look.

braided leather belt

4. Consider a Denim Shirt: Going without a tie? With a more casual suit, that’s totally a valid option. But once you’re forging neckwear, you may as well lean into the playful nature of your outfit. A denim or chambray shirt can look brilliant under all sorts of casual suits. It works especially well with cotton, corduroy, linen, tweed, and seersucker.

man wearing a denim shirt paired with a tweed suit

5. Ditch The Pants: Well, provided you replace them with another pair of pants. The fun thing about many casual suits, is that unlike their more formal counterparts, they can be broken up into suit separates with ease.

Try combining a tweed jacket with some corduroy pants for an academic look. Or even the reverse! A cotton jacket is right at home with some linen or seersucker pants. Or perhaps pair a linen jacket with some cotton trousers!

There’s a world of possibility when it comes to casual tailoring. Experiment, and you might just find your new favorite outfit!

man wearing a tweed houndstooth jacket with corduroy pants

Well, that about concludes our deep-dive into the world of casual suits. We hope you found it informative!

There’s so much more to the deep and fascinating history of tailoring across all ends of the formality spectrum – this was really just a sneak peek!

But don’t forget, it’s the history of fashion that tells us how to best style our clothing – even in the modern day.

The post Fabric and Formality: What Makes a Suit “Casual?” appeared first on Real Men Real Style.

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By: Antonio Centeno
Title: Fabric and Formality: What Makes a Suit “Casual?”
Sourced From: www.realmenrealstyle.com/fabric-casual-suit-formality/
Published Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2024 14:57:38 +0000

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