In the 19th century, fashion for males was about tailoring and cutting. In the 20th century, it became about to fit again, with an emphasis on slimness that lasted through the 1980s. In the 21st century, menswear has become about non-fit again. Men are no longer interested in what clothes do to their bodies but rather in how they feel when they wear them. And unlike women’s fashion, men's fashion doesn’t revolve around seasonal trends (beyond the basic staples of dark winter blues and pastels), but rather an individual expression. There is no right or wrong way to dress as a man; it is all about personal preference be it punk rocker, preppy school boy or street Goth, there is something out there for everyone.
What to Look for When Purchasing Couture for Males
If you have ever wondered how one man can look so dapper in a blazer and another look terrible in a bespoke suit, there are a few things you should look for when purchasing couture for males:
- Fit - Enquire about the fabric and the overall fit of the garment. If you are buying a bespoke suit, the tailor will pick up on your measurements and build you a suit that fits like a glove. Make sure the tailor knows exactly what you want and how you want it to look on you.
- Fabric - Every fabric drapes differently and has a different feel. Depending on the season, go for fabrics like wool or cashmere. For summer, lighter fabrics like poplin or cotton are a good choice.
- Style - The type of garment you choose will affect how you will be perceived by others. A tuxedo, for example, is considered formalwear while a hoodie and jeans are casualwear.
Shirts and Trousers
The shirt and trousers are the core of a man’s wardrobe. They are the first thing anyone sees when they look at you and you are judged on how well these two items fit and match.
- Collars - The collar you choose can have a dramatic effect on your overall appearance. The most formal collar available to men is the stiff white collar, followed by the blue and pink. Blue is the most popular colour for business shirts and pink is popular for younger men.
- Shirt length - Shirts can be worn short or long. The length of the shirt can be adjusted by the type of cuff and collar you wear.
- Shirt texture - The texture of the shirt can dramatically change the way you look. A smooth fabric like silk or cashmere is formal while a textured shirt like linen or tweed is casual and can be worn on weekends.
- Trouser break - The break is the amount of fabric that folds up between your shoe and your leg. The most common break is no break, where the pants rest on top of the shoe. The moderate break is a half inch above the shoe and the full break sits an inch above the shoe.
Coats and Jackets
Coats and jackets are the most important pieces of outerwear a man can purchase. They are the most expensive item in your wardrobe and will last you decades if you take care of them.
- Jacket length - The desired length of the jacket is up to you. A longer jacket will give you a more elegant look while a shorter jacket will show off your legs and make you appear younger.
- Jacket colour - The colour of the jacket you choose will depend on the season. A light-coloured jacket like beige or white is best for spring or summer while dark colours like navy blue or brown are best for fall and winter.
- Jacket texture - The texture of the jacket will depend on the type of fabric. Lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen are best for spring and summer while heavier fabrics like wool are better for fall and winter.
- Jacket pockets - The more pockets the better. Pockets can be used to store your wallet, phone or even a pen and notecard. If a jacket does not have pockets, you can always add them to give yourself more storage options.
Men’s footwear isn’t just about the type of shoe you choose (although that is important), but also the condition of the shoe. You should make sure your dress shoes are polished and that they are shined regularly.
- Heel height - The heel size will depend on your height. Taller men will look best with a larger heel while shorter men should avoid high heels.
- Colour - The colour of your footwear should match the colour of your jacket. Brown or black are the most versatile colours and can be worn with almost any jacket.
- Condition - The condition of your shoes is just as important as the colour and heel height. You should make sure your shoes are shined and regularly cleaned.
- Laces - The type of lace you choose can change the entire look of your shoe. Laces can be decorative or hidden.