Consider this an apology. For years we – and the rest of the style world, in fact – have been telling you that suits should be neat and closely fitted. But as it turns out, everything we thought we knew is wrong. For the past few seasons, a slate of designers has been making the case for tailoring that is big, bolshy and purposefully oversized.
Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia arguably kick-started the Billy Big Blazer movement with his coat hanger shoulders, though lately it’s been the likes of Kim Jones at Dior steering the trend, using dress-making techniques to create softly draped jackets that hang away from the body instead of close to it.
With the high street now getting in on the act, this isn’t just a look for the catwalk or the red carpet, but rather a fresh new way to do tailoring while exuding big suit energy. Here’s how to do it.
Oversized Tailoring Style Tips
“There’s a fine line when wearing oversized tailoring – no one wants to look like they have borrowed their father’s jacket,” says MatchesFashion senior style editor Chris Hobbs. First and foremost, this means buying pieces that are purposefully overblown and not just a few sizes too big. Oversized will be exaggerated in the correct places, usually the shoulders and leg, rather than just being baggy all over.
By which we don’t mean pulling a Joey Tribbiani and wearing everything all at once. Nay, we’re talking about double-breasted jackets, “a trend that’s definitely building momentum” according to ASOS head of menswear design James Lawrence. “It gives a structured boxy silhouette which looks relaxed when worn open.” Look for styles with either four buttons (two rows of two) or an ultra-modern single-button closure.
One size fits all is certainly not a phrase that applies to oversized tailoring, which means this is one trend that should be approached with caution. “Personally I think you have to have a good stature and shoulders with some height so that oversized items ‘hang’ well,” says Hobbs. Men with a slighter frame should go for something with a more regular fit on top, experimenting instead with wide-leg trousers. Similarly, stockier men might be best sticking to a more tailored fit, as oversized fits naturally add bulk.
Keep Things In Proportion
There’s a fine line to be trodden when it comes to any statement look, with balance often proving crucial. With an oversized jacket, this means ditching your trusty skinny jeans, but also being wary of ultra wide-legs. “A slimmer silhouette or even a slight flare can work and balance anything oversized on the top half,” says Hobbs. “Chunky trainers work too – anything too dressy harks too much to the suit as a uniform and immediately makes anything oversized seem out of place.”
Think In Fabric
Not to sound shallow but material things matter. Especially when it comes to louche tailoring. As a rule of thumb, heavier fabrics work best for oversized proportions as they have more structure and tend to hang better. “Go for natural fabrics such as wool or cotton,” says Hobbs. “Any brightly printed or heavy fabrications should be avoided as they will engulf the frame and dominate the entire outfit – let the silhouette make the statement rather than the fabric.”
3 Ways To Wear Oversized Tailoring
The power suit is far from a new phenomenon. Back in the 1980’s, the best tailoring was boxy, double-breasted and in black, navy or grey pinstripe – think American Psycho, not Miami Vice. A crisp white shirt, fine gauge cardigan and a pair of chunky-soled Derbies or boots will help bring this look into the new decade.
The reason why oversized tailoring has become ‘a thing’ is that men are finally learning to have fun with suits. As well as overdoing the proportions, why not add in a little colour and texture to make things interesting? “An oversized blazer works well as separates with different coloured trousers,” says Lawrence. “The mixing of colours highlights the proportions.” Stick to contrasting but complimentary shades, keeping layering simple: a plain T-shirt or roll neck jumper should suffice.
The 1980s might have been when big suits reached their peak (lapel), but to play it casual fast-forward a few years to the ’90s, when tailoring was democratised and mixed with baggy, mid-wash jeans, high-top sneakers and baseball caps. This is a vibe that you can lift pretty much lift wholesale. Stick to structured blazers in wool or cotton blends, clashing traditional patterns like checks and pinstripes with graphic logo print tees and sweatshirts.
3 Celebrities Who Nailed Oversized Tailoring
Against all odds, former One Direction singer Harry Styles has become one of the coolest guys in music right now, thanks no doubt in part to an ongoing partnership with Gucci supremo Allesandro Michele. Regularly decked out in ’70s-inspired lapels, sweeping high-waisted trousers and plush velvet, this once teen star has become a man unafraid of pushing the boundaries. Follow his lead and whatever you do, do it with confidence.
Remember when A$AP Rocky made an entire music video dedicated to Raf Simons? The Harlem rapper is one of the biggest fashion obsessives in the game, and is usually well ahead of the curve when it comes to trends. Lately he’s been championing louche fits like this baby pink red carpet look. Cut long and slim in the jacket and wide in the trouser, it’s an excellent option for taller men.
Since retiring from football, David Beckham has settled into the role of menswear elder quite nicely. Gone are the attention-grabbing full-leather looks and questionable haircuts, with bulletproof tailoring – like this laid-back double-breasted number, dressed down with a simple T-shirt and white Converse – taking their place.
The Best Brands To Buy Oversized Tailoring From
For better or worse, Zara has built an empire off the back of copy-cat versions of high-end designs, with the oversized tailoring trend proving no exception. The high street giant is currently awash with double-breasted blazers that reference the ’80s through broad, sharp shoulders beefed-up lapels and checked fabrics.
Founded by Givenchy alum Alexandre Mattiusi, Ami is the sort of brand other designers wear on their days off. Generally, it has a slouchy, low-key feel, taking inspiration from sportswear and workwear, including tailoring that is subtly oversized but cut with precision.
Dunhill’s internal motto is said to be “old guard meets avante-garde,” which sums up pretty well its current line of tailoring. Heritage fabrics like chalk stripe wool and corduroy are given the oversized treatment, becoming wide-legged drawstring waist trousers and the sort of wrap-around jackets that are upending the usual single/double-breasted order.
The masters of Scandi minimalism at Cos has been championing simple, workwear-inspired fits for as long as most menswear observers can remember, something which has recently started crossing over to their tailoring offer. Its latest jackets reference the ’90s with a longer fit and simplistic notch lapel, best worn as separates with their pleated, cropped trousers.