Across Europe’s spring-summer catwalks this season, a big suit trend has emerged . . . literally.
The skinny suit has reigned supreme since the turn of the millennium, when the boxy three-button suits of the 1980s and ‘90s made way for a snugger cut, but suits are now loosening up, with designers shifting away from skin-tight cuts to a breezier, more comfortable fit.
The big suits of 2017 are a reincarnation of the style of the 1940s and ‘50s, rather than the bulky office wear of 20 to 30 years ago that the new President still deems worthy of the White House. Jackets are longer, lapels are wider, shoulders are broad but not padded and hefty, there’s more room across the back — basically the fit is looser, more fluid, and looks more comfortable than the skinny fit we’ve become accustomed to over the last decade.
Pants are also loosening up — pant legs are longer, the ankles are cut wider, and the waist sits higher, which has a slimming effect. This is part of a general trend towards more chilled-out trousers after years of squeezing into pants so skinny they could’ve easily been taken from the women’s section — enjoy this shift back towards more flowing trousers that allow your thighs to breathe for the first time in a long time.
Not strictly confined to suit pants, graphic ‘racing stripes’ running down the side of trousers is another menswear trend that’s gathering steam. Not quite the velvet stripe down a tuxedo trouser and not quite as informal as a tracksuit pant, the side stripe adds a pop of colour below the waist, and signals a trend towards suits becoming less formal. These breezier suits are also being styled in more adventurous ways on the European runways, paired with printed T-shirts, informal footwear, and daring accessories.
What should you do?
Don’t go ditching the wardrobe of slim-cut bespoke suits you’ve accumulated over the last decade — although suits are generally becoming slightly looser, it’s unlikely this billowing big suit trend will overtake the classic cut on a large scale (it’s called ‘classic’ for a reason). One of these breezy ‘40s-style suits will make a statement if you can pull it off, but there’s nothing wrong with a timeless, well-cut grey or blue classic, which remains immune to the fickle ebbs and flows of seasonal trends.