These Suits Mean Business

Join us on a whistlestop journey through the ever-changing world of business tailoring.

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As we move further into the 21st century, more and more of the traditional vestiges of business dress have found themselves on the endangered species list. The necktie was, of course, an early casualty of society’s shift towards casual clothing, as men went from needing a dozen or so ties in their wardrobes to just one or two for special occasions, or – in some cases – none at all. Not far behind the tie was the business suit, its waning relevance underscored by a pandemic in which many of us found ourselves donning a daily work uniform of pyjamas or sweatpants.

But while the business suit – and the necktie – might have had a rough few years, it remains an important item of clothing and an iconic symbol of men’s style. It still has an army of devotees, and suffice it to say, we count ourselves among them (and we’re still very fond of ties, too, in case you were wondering).

The gradual democratisation of work attire has undoubtedly been a positive thing, but there’s still much to be said for really getting dressed for work. Few items flatter the male frame like a well-cut suit, and here at Paul Smith we take great pains to ensure that our suits fit perfectly – just ask the man himself. A classic business suit – cut from crisp wool, in either navy or grey – has remained essentially unchanged for almost 100 years, simply because it can’t be improved upon. When paired with a white poplin dress shirt, a sharp silk tie and some black oxfords, it creates an unforgettable visual impression, one which can’t help but imbue the wearer with confidence and a sense of self-assurance.

For all its elegance, the typical business suit can be somewhat limited, but with most workplaces no longer enforcing a dress code of suit and tie, there has never been more scope for self-expression when it comes to office tailoring. Navy and charcoal still look as good as ever, but perhaps it’s time to consider a more unusual hue, such as pale blue or dark green. And then there is pattern to consider. You might not want to make a full-on statement in something you’ll be wearing to the office, but a small houndstooth or faint windowpane check can look at once understated and imaginative. You can also subtly diverge from typical business dress with your choice of details. A peak lapel adds a note of difference, as does a patterned lining, and we like to sneak in a hidden Signature Stripe motif when we can. It’s these little things that push business tailoring into new territory.

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Published: 02.24

Words: Nathan Sharp