Introduction

The turn of a new year is an opportunity to add yet another rule to living.
Any edict affixed will be one spoke about in utter disregard come the time spring has sprung Mayfair into your left jacket pocket.

Let’s say that 2011 is the year of – but is not left to – chance.
A set or a series of circumstances that allow you to change every nuance of your one man show. If the rule you already plan to break can’t involve the abstinence of nicotine adoration, make it a labour to improve.

Perhaps it's a good thing you already plan to break your rule because 'Be yourself' is about the worst advice you can give to some people.

Moving into SS11

The spring/summer months are conjoined by name but apart in their necessitate. The confident man will give a barber the least amount of worry as he will sit in the chair – mirror facing – point straight forward and say, “make me look like him”. It’s the type of sanguine discourse that needs to follow in your preparation for the months ahead.

The trends that emerge preceding any removal of coats often fluctuate around the concept of a ‘like-clockwork’ variable. Colour, cut, lines, texture, print…you get the clichéd idea.

I could bet my bottom Christmas giftcard every year off the back of tailoring. Last year saw tailored shorts usher us into the short suit (often greeted by the unexpected wearer). In the spring and in the summer of the oh-11 we’ll be taking on a trend that won’t be put off until the pins are suitably displayed.

Men's SS11 Fashion Trend: Soft tailoring

Soft tailoring – sometimes referred to as relaxed tailoring – is the dumbing down of suit. The reason I choose to call it soft, rather than relaxed, is to avoid causing relaxed attitudes. Designers this season won’t be pushing exact fit on you, in fact, exactly the opposite.

Creases and folds look good on a man; call your suit Clooney if it helps at all. Suits erring around your frame rather than dragging on the floor is still a cardinal sin so don’t take it into your own hands. Cheap(er) suits flocked to market like sheep a good few seasons and many FashionBeans posts ago.

The high street in SS11 will be daring you to dabble in suits that act less like a suit. Jackets that slouched where their Mummas told them not to. And trousers that fancy saying F-U, I’m off work today.

They’ll be ushering you to go off-kilter with your pairing. Relaxed-fitting suits are to be paired with jersey basics and carefully considered accessories. The shock horror when a Sheppard (metaphoric, sorry farmers) decided he wasn’t a sheep and paired his blazer with a t-shirt soon died down after the gaspers soon realised… it looks bloody good! Spring and summer of this year is about making the gaspers gasp once again for a further five minutes.

The structured blazer against the rough grain of a t-shirt is to be replaced. Rough all round.
We’re taking your prim and proper suit, and making it dirty. Something you feel required to take on a weekend away just so your wife doesn’t meet her.

Soft Tailoring on Lookbook:

The looks featured on lookbook.nu, and the ones at the end of this piece*, are still using structured blazers as part of their dress up to dress down. It won’t be until the spring/summer collections drop at the close of February and the come around of March that lookbookers will be flocking to show off their relaxed tailored finds. Take from the pictures their ability to guise the stiff structure with neutral colour pallets, styling and accessories.

The Soft/Relaxed Tailoring Men's Fashion Trend Look Book

When attempting this in the sprung spring, keep in mind the need not to over-bundle yourself up top. The attraction of the trend is the 'I don’t give a f*ck-ness' so a relaxed blazer with a snood, with a low-hang chain, with a broach, with a pocket square and with your wayfarers (or nearest relevance) hanging off of the cuff might be a little too much. Don’t you think? No? Come back in a few months.

Trend Secret: Linen Suits

The secret behind every menswear buyer's lips is the linen suit. Now not all may be picking this up just yet, but the ones who have are telling you about it with a wink and a nudge. The linen suit is the traditional man’s summer stitch. Far from what is popularly believed, it’s not a busman’s holiday.

The material is what is going to be behind making this trend accessible throughout that summer we all predict/hope for/result in dismay over. Linen is made from the fibres of a plant. Serial dress-god, Hardy Amies describes it as having “a distinctive smooth shiny surface and keeps it pretty well throughout its life”.

Linen is the lightweight alternative when it comes to opposing the heavy gauge of traditional suits. The breathable material is one that is not only suited for summer but also for the trend. It creases with more class than just being creased and with each crease you get your own unique style.

Often found in America (with awful pleated pants), these suits are going to be the one to watch on the English high street. Opt out of the expected beige and stone colours seen over the pond and put a stamp on British fashion by going as bold or as slick as you like.

Dressing down your suit:

Going into this style, you’re always going to be compared with the wall of truth that people have been dressing down the blazer for years going from one extreme to the next, so aren’t you just the next stepping-stone in the process?

This trend is not about pushing a previous, but an effort to create a new one. We’re not to go over your attempt at the Mona-Lisa that is so bad it’s blasphemous. We’ve gone and brought a new canvas and locked the liquor cupboard.

The laid back approach to franticly compiling this look is what makes it so uneasyful. What I mean by making absolutely no sense at all (and throwing in the occasional made up word) is that you cannot be seen to give a sh*t.

The basic levelling of rules applies as ever.

  • Where layering is concerned keep pieces thinner towards the skin.
  • Don’t outshine, steal the thunder of or rain on the parade of your focus. If your main piece is your creased and wrinkled blazer don’t add the entire contents collected by the forty-thieves.
  • Play with breaking the suits colours, dressing up, dressing down, over-sizing (under-sizing not so much) because it’s a playful trend. If you take it seriously, you’re suddenly wearing a suit and if you do it half heartedly, you’re wearing a suit badly.

Our vaudeville heritage means the British like showing off, but we don’t like to be seen to show off. As with any trend, it’s a façade of how you want to be perceived with how you’re dressed for the day. Here are a few FashionBeans compiled lookbooks to not giving a sh*t – while actually giving many – through the tailoring trend of SS2011. *

Look Book
Look 1:
  • ASOS Slim Fit Zip Detail Black Blazer
  • White Stud T-Shirt
  • Supra Thunder Hightop Black Suede
Look 2:
  • Fosse Jacket
  • ASOS Jersey Leggings
  • Remedy Shorts
Look 3:
  • Universal Works Brisbane Moss Cord Jacket
  • AAA Gry Chainmail T-Shirt
  • ASOS Heavyweight Cable Snood