We’re card carrying cheerleaders for colour. Black, grey or navy menswear is great, especially at the formal end of dress codes, but it’s very, very safe. This season your best way out of the quagmire of inoffensive uniformity comes via green tailoring.
The mere thought of coloured suits is usually enough to send sweat glands into overdrive and blame lies at the door of a pretty nasty smear campaign. Fancy dress shops are full of the stuff, conjured up in polyester and with fits so appallingly off the mark they make that school uniform your mum promised you’d grow into look like a bespoke number.
Change is afoot though. From among all that crappy coloured cloth, green tailoring has broken from the pack and – assisted by heavyweight designers and permanently well-dressed A-listers – ended up as this season’s freshest way to suit up.
How Green Tailoring Got Its Groove Back
Like any fashion trend, the green suit’s return to form didn’t happen through sheer luck. Bigwigs of the design world have been chucking their weight behind the cause left, right and centre. Sure, it may not have the moral weight of the #metoo movement, but for your wardrobe this is progress.
Where did it all start? Gucci’s SS18 Cruise collection kicked off proceedings with a jewel green three-piece, while fellow fashion titans Prada went into military mode for SS18, with pale khaki tailoring being their contribution to the green party.
It’s not only the puppet masters of menswear that are going full-on fanboy for green suits though: many prominent suit wearers are also helping fight the good fight. Awards season stalwart Timothée Chalamet has spent the best part of the last 12 months encased in an endless supply of green. Then there’s male model Oliver Cheshire – bellwether of anything that’s deemed to become a ‘thing’ – who has happily and repeatedly suited up in the shade.
There’s a spectrum of envy-inducing greens to choose from, too. Emerald and bottle green let you make a statement without straying into Diddy territory. Earth tones like sage and moss prove that business casual doesn’t have to be stuffy and military khaki is a good option while off duty.
The appeal of all green suits lie in their ability to shake up stuffy formalwear without scaring anyone in the process. “Green is a wise tailoring investment, and with carefully chosen accessories it can jazz up your wardrobe while still remaining both timeless and versatile,” says Paul Higgins, a stylist whose CV name checks Diesel, Reiss and Aquascutum.
So, now it’s brick-through-a-window obvious that tailoring has nailed its colours to the mast in green, here are all the practical reasons why it’s tugging at the heart strings of club menswear.
It Will Look Good In Linen
If Brexit has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t have your cake and eat it too: such is the case with linen suits, which are breezy and sophisticated on one hand, but will wrinkle at the slightest provocation on the other. When taken in green though, we’re willing to consider the latter a minor inconvenience.
“Green linen tailoring is contemporary and versatile,” says Higgins. “Yes, it will work with a white shirt, but a crisp white T-shirt and white sneakers worn sans socks will add a more modern spin. You could even try wearing yours with a navy knitted polo shirt and brown buckle loafers: the options are endless.” To dress it up, ignore the green-and-blue rule with a cornflower work shirt and navy tie.
The other advantage: a green linen suit will let you go smart and sweat-free without bestowing leathery-skinned international playboy vibes in the way a cream version might. The only thing you need be mindful of is those pesky creases, so do as much standing as you can.
It’s More Than The Sum Of Its Parts
If anything has so much has a whiff of versatility, you can be sure we’ll be furiously ‘adding to basket’. So, the fact that green tailoring works as separates is not only music to our ears, but a godsend for variety-starved wardrobes everywhere.
If you’re not convinced that each piece of a green suit can go it alone in the summer, then we raise you Pitti Uomo, where street style magnets often wear green suit trousers and never fail to look dapper.
The key to cracking the Pitti split is far simpler than it looks. It’s all about balancing light and shade, according to Timothy Lord, a stylist who has spruced up the wardrobes of Jude Law, Keith Richards and Michael Fassbender. “If you’re looking to get the most out of a green suit, try contrasting a pair of green trousers with white trainers and a crisp white tee for a casual cafe lunch,” he says.
This Italian-inspired mash-up can also be dressed up. “This contrast works in more formal settings too. To take you from day to evening add a shirt and jacket, again in pale hues such as cream and white,” says Lord. Or, if you’re making the jacket the star of the show, keep your trousers and shirt neutral.
It Will Work For Work
By definition the office is not the place for fun, unless that is you work in one of those young, creative ‘enforced fun’ offices – which nobody actually thinks are fun. As such, it’s easy enough to let your navy or grey tailoring become a sad, sartorial marker of monotony. A green suit is your way out of the darkness though: it won’t raise eyebrows at the water cooler, but it’s got a bit more personality about it.
The rules for wearing a green suit at work differ from those that apply to grey or navy tailoring. While green can be paired with a white shirt and tie may work for awards season, it’s too much of a statement for your 9-5.
You’ll need to switch up the default colour of your suit’s companions. “Make a green suit work appropriate by teaming with the right shades,” says Lord. The method for correctly pairing colours for work is pretty black and white: well, black and blue technically speaking.
“A blue denim or chambray shirt will work well with a green suit, then all you need to add is a black knitted tie and black suede Chelsea boots. If you want a little bit more colour, try a rust or burnt orange pocket square for a pop of colour.”
It Does Dressed Down
In another win for the green suit, it’s got the moves to work in your casual wardrobe too. It might sound a little difficult to pull off, but with a few canny styling tricks it’ll slot right into your weekend line-up. Think Johannes Huebl radiating maximum swag outside some exclusive menswear show and you’re on the right track.
“Dark pine green is an excellent choice for a suit that you’ll be wearing for dressed-down occasions,” says Sarah Gillifan, founder of men’s personal shopping and styling service Sartoria Lab. “It’s so obviously different from the default grey and navy options chosen for work and it has the added bonus of complementing lots of skin tones.”
It goes without saying that there are no shirts allowed here, instead look to your trusty casual basics. “Neutral basics (T-shirts/crew neck knits) in white, navy or grey work best,” says Gillifan. If you fancy going bolder though, there’s wiggle room to get creative. “To step things up a notch, add accents of burgundy or pink via your shoes or accessories.”