Breaking the suit introduction:

Suiting has long been central to men’s fashion. They say that the suit makes the man.

The suit is the uniform of adulthood; when one passes from a boy to a man. Of all the clothes available to men, the suit has been longingly established but by no means repetitive. When you put on a suit you join a piece of history and heritage. It is a signifier of elegance, the thoughtful and the hopeful.

Men’s suiting has been back in the minds of the sartorial self-conscious for some time now. It has grown and evolved from catwalk to sidewalk respectively, as has the desire to experiment; not do things as they have been done before. The suit personifies tradition, respectability and measured sensibilities. However, that measured approach is being hijacked, being replaced by the eccentric, the cheeky and the miss-matched. The sensible is set to be transformed.

Style icon:

TV star George Lamb blends the cut and fit of modern tailoring with the colour palette and cloth of old English tradition. It takes a brave man to ‘break’ the suit and miss match jackets to their accompaniment. As you see in Mr Lamb, results can be as far from subtle as you necessitate but forever yet eye catching.

George Lamb Knows Just How To Break Up a Suit

Editor Addition: The Separates Trend

Over the last year we have seen a move away from the traditional suit within the fashion elite. We are no longer confined to one tone suits or even one fabric; we are free to experiment and create an individual look day to day. The idea of separates was pushed hard in A/W09 by designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, as well as Marc Jacobs. The idea was to create individual tailoring pieces that can be mixed and matched to the individuals tastes. You may take a charcoal wasitcoat and match it with beige trousers and a grey jacket, or black trousers with a herringbone blazer.

As Grant mentioned above, George Lamb has proven to be a true innovator when it comes to formal wear. He manages to effortlessly mix different tones, patterns AND fabrics within his outfits in order to create a distinct look which is instantly recognisable as his. We should all be striving for this creativity each and every day, as we look to push our personal style and stand out from the rest of the crowd/workforce. If you look at any of the main images provided in this article you will see that even if you do free yourself from the social “norm” attitudes to work dress (one tone suit, shirt and tie), you do not look any less sharp or professional – in fact I think it could only help your career if you are remembered and stand out from all the other companies/clients/customers they have met that day. Obviously you will need to check what is appropriate for your personal working environment and the industry you are in, but we are in the 21st century now guys and there is room for us to evolve and progress compared to our Father’s and/or Grandfather’s.

The last idea I want to put into your head is to try and experiment not just with colours and patterns, but with texture as well. This is what truly separates those who know what they are doing within fashion and the innovators/leaders. Using different textures such as wool, cords, tweed and the like within your suits creates almost a 3-D layering effect where at each angle you look there is interesting detailing compared to your traditional flat cotton shirt, blazer and tie. Winter is the perfect time to experiment with these fabrics as they are released in abundance for the cold weather. So incorporate pieces like sharp cord trousers, a denim or chambray shirt, a tweed tie, or thick wool blazer into your wardrobe and have fun creating YOUR look.

Product picks:

It is the necessity of man to create a look that shrugs off the conventional genre. Modernism is breaking free from the shackles of its historical stereotype. Designers of both high end and the high street are building tailored outfits that complement rather than match. Houses are crafting suits that use traditional and heritage cloths such as corduroy and tweed. It is a continuation and a development of the preppy style popularity; the English gentleman on a country jaunt that wishes to dazzle the establishment. Here are some key products to do just that, dazzle away boys:

  • Brown Felt Blazer
  • Gibson Chelsea Olive Check Sports Jacket
  • SB2 Brown Shetland Overcheck Shooting Jacket
  • Mimone Waistcoat
  • 471K-172 Navy Waistcoat
  • ASOS Slim Fit Purple Trousers
  • SB2 Rust Overcheck Shooting Jacket
  • ASOS Slim Fit Green Jacket
  • 9083-172 Navy Jacket
  • Paul Smith Jeans Classic Fit Chambray Shirt
  • ASOS BLACK Piped Seam Slim Shirt
  • ASOS BLACK Pintuck Panel Shirt
Top tips for breaking the suit:

Variety is the spice of life. Experiment with brightly coloured socks with your suit. It could introduce a spot of character to your suit.

  • Fairisle 5 Pack Socks
  • Mixed Pastel 5 Pack Socks
  • Polo Ralph Lauren All Over Polo Player Socks

Why not try a bow tie? It could give that splash of quirkiness that you are looking for.

  • Champagne Paisley Bow Tie
  • Gingham Bow Tie
  • Grey Highlight Herringbone Bow

Try corduroy. Its re-emergence has been spotted on all the catwalks this year and could make your outfit.

  • ASOS Slim Fit Cord Stone Jacket
  • Paul Smith Jeans Slim Fit Cord Jeans
  • Burgundy Heavy Cord Shirt

Hopefully this will help you to build a complementary, interesting and exciting tailored outfit. Be brave, be stupidly brave.

“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.” – Oscar Wilde