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stylefile

It’s all about the sharp suit this season. But with so many options, where does the well-dressed man turn? João Paulo Nunes separates the sartorial wheat from the chaff in spring/summer suiting

THE

B

enjamin Franklin once wrote that, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” For those of us who spend most of our time during the day at an office desk or in business meetings, we could certainly add ‘wearing suits’ to that sentence. Truth be told, men spend so many hours of the day wearing suits in a formal work environment that quite often these garments become unappreciated. Without thinking, we can easily begin to regard our suits as uniforms that we need to wear and, in turn, forget that a nice suit can, in fact, be flattering and make us feel much better about ourselves. One thing that is unquestionable when it comes to suits for this year’s spring/summer season is that men have more options than ever before. Not only have designs evolved towards more sophisticated shapes and stylish patterns and colours, but innovation in fabric production and pattern cutting has allowed for suits to be simultaneously elegant and comfortable.

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➧ UNDERSTANDING FABRICS

THE IMPORTANCE OF COLOUR When it comes to choosing the colour of the perfect suit to wear at work or at a formal event, keep in mind that looking sombre is always more advisable than looking playful or adventurous. For spring/summer 2012, a number of designers are offering white, as well as bright red, pink, and green suits and, even though these can look good in the right context, they may raise a few eyebrows in the office and make your sartorial options a topic of conversation by the water cooler. In addition, think of the limited number of times and contexts when you would wear a suit in one of those colours. With that in mind, if you have to choose one suit colour this season, go for blue.

➧ TRUE BLUE lassic Re e d c 0, Austin t, €28 e n jack e n li d san €135 ouser, and tr

You may have read that some suit fabrics ‘breathe’, even though no-one has ever bothered to explain what that means. A ‘breathable’ suit that has an outer shell of 100% wool is actually the one that you want to pick if you are buying only one suit to wear during the warmer days of spring and summer. This kind of suit is made of a porous fabric that lets air circulate through, allowing your body to stay cooler.

192, cket, € nks ja a B f shir t, f e d J 116, an € , s r ams t r o us e ebenh €62, D

Even though we tend to associate wool with thick jumpers, light suits made of 100% wool are much better than those containing a high percentage of man-made fibres like acrylic or polyester. Suits made of artificial fabrics usually lose their shape quicker and tend to retain body heat closer to the body, thereby causing you to perspire more. Keep in mind that suits are graded by fineness of wool, which is reflected in the ‘super’ number that can often be found on the tag (or by asking the sales assistant). Look for a super number in the low to mid 100s range (finer and lighter than the courser 80s and 90s but not as thin as the upper 100s and higher). Linen suits and jackets are also options to consider. Such garments have started becoming acceptable in more relaxed work environments, particularly when the linen is mixed with cotton or wool to provide a crisp effect. Zegna, for instance, has some examples of stylish linen suits, but you can also find excellent designs at Magee and M&S.

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l ch ir woo May fa ackett H , €850

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Dark blue or navy suits have always been a classic alternative to black in an office environment, and a good choice during warmer weather. In general, the darker the colour of the fabric, the more heat it tends to absorb. As such, blue (even if in darker hues) allows you to keep a more comfortable temperature on a hot day. In addition, a number of psychological studies have concluded that blue is the most suitable colour to wear in the work environment or for a job interview as people tend to associate it with trust and reliability. This season menswear brands are offering suits in a diverse range of blues, from pale hues to vivid and electric tones that still look appropriate and smart in formal contexts. You can find suits in nice shades of blue at Austin Reed, which is available at Arnotts, Clerys, and House of Fraser, and Duchamp, which is stocked at Brown Thomas and Harvey Nichols. Alternatively look to Hackett, Hugo Boss, Kenzo (at House of Fraser), Penneys, and River Island.

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stylefile

➧ SILVER FOX

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ket, mp jac D u c ha €19 0 shir t, €630

uit, ione s Collez & M S €399,

Grey is another good colour option for a spring/summer suit and one that is readily available. Like blue, it tends to keep your body temperature cooler while looking stylish, and it can contribute towards a smart look when teamed with black or dark brown shoes and belts. Check stores such as Debenhams, Hackett and M&S, as well as brands including Magee, Austin Reed and William Hunt, which is available at House of Fraser, for some great options that prove it’s never too early to go grey.

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Re d erring Re d H 132, cket, € Line ja , €54 , o us e r s and tr hams D e b en

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5, et, £17 m jack u t u c s A q ua ey.com randall www.b

STYLE COUNSEL This season’s prevalent suit styles favour slimmer silhouettes. However, this does not mean that you need to have a skinny body or look like the model who wears the suit on the catwalk: in a jacket, the slimming effect is achieved at the designing stage by creating the right balance between shoulder width and the height of the button (or waist) line. Flat-fronted trousers that taper below the knee also contribute to this flattering shape and are very popular this season.

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➧ TO PLEAT OR NOT TO PLEAT? Pleated trousers are making a comeback but be mindful that they don’t always work to every body shape. Much depends on the positioning and the number of pleats, where the ‘less is more’ rule should be taken seriously. When given the option, play it safe and go for the plain, flat-fronted option.

s Skope se r s o r t d u pleate

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➧ CHECK MATE In addition to monochromatic mid and light greys, a popular option this season is the very elegant Prince of Wales pattern where light grey is intertwined in check formations with darker shades of grey, black, blue, or sometimes even yellow or green to provide a nice touch. Remember that Prince of Wales is already a pattern, so avoid colourful or overly designed shirts and opt for plain white ones. Luxury labels such as Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Tom Ford have all adopted Prince of Wales checks this season but you can readily find more affordable versions on the high street.

g r ey Hunt k William s che c of Wale it, u s Prince iece iece p se r a r three -p F se of u o H , €699

k s che c f Wale o e c rin eed G r ey P ustin R 520, A suit, €

“SUIT TRENDS HAVE NOT CHANGED DRAMATICALLY OVER THE LAST TWO SEASONS, BUT WE CAN IDENTIFY A SLIGHTLY SLIMMER SILHOUETTE THIS SEASON. TWO-BUTTON AND SIX-BUTTON DOUBLE BREASTED BLAZERS ARE THE MOST POPULAR. AS FOR COLOURS, THE TREND IS FOR MUTED COLOURS, MID TO LIGHT GREYS, AND LOTS OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF BLUE, FROM NAVY TO ELECTRIC BLUE. FABRICS WILL BE SUPERFINE AND LUXURIOUS, MAYBE WITH SOME SILK BLEND AND A BIT OF SHEEN” PAUL O’CONNOR, BUYING DIRECTOR, BROWN THOMAS

JACKET STYLES The popular jacket options this season are singlebreasted one- and two-buttoned designs (in the case of the two-button jacket, always remember to only button the top button) and six-buttoned double-breasted. The latter has been used to great success by blue-chip brands such Balenciaga, Prada, Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford. However, you can find many double-breasted suits in Hackett, House of Fraser, Hugo Boss and M&S.

➧ ON THE DOUBLE

, jacket it suit Slim f ex t €85 , N

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Contemplating a double-breasted suit? Bear in mind that the six-buttoned double-breasted style is not always forgiving if you are carrying a bit of weight. However, a good way to deal with this is to only button the middle button in the row of three, as this accentuates the waist line making your shoulders look broader and your mid-section slimmer. You may also find four-buttoned doublebreasted jackets in some shops but these tend to be considered more casual. ITM

te d -breas double l ia r o &S S ar t 199, M suit, €

3/29/12 11:46:29 AM

'The Cut', Irish Tatler Man, #vol.1, 4  

Article 'The Cut' in Irish Tatler Man magazine, #vol.1, 4

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