iStyle: Casual suits

Suits are enjoying something of a revival at the moment, helped in no small part by their more relaxed feel, says Lee Holmes

Suits you, sir! Beyond the Fast Show fast-gag, there’s truth to the phrase. It may have originated in the 17th century, but there’s no denying that, 350 years on, the suit is still a cornerstone of a man’s wardrobe. At least, most men’s. Away from Savile Row and City Boy suiting, there’s a faction of men who would rather run the proverbial mile than wear a three-piece. Their excuses range from feeling too constricted and trussed-up, to looking as though they’ve been dressed by their mothers for their first day at school.

Unfortunately for them, the suit is having a renaissance of sorts among designers and high-street labels. Even the clothing label Folk – which, as the name suggests, has designed casual, unstructured clothing rather than buttoned-up wools since its launch in 2001 – has  recently added tailoring to its services.

There’s a twist, though. Even the most suit-phobic chap will fathom that Folk’s take on tailoring fits in with its relaxed and informal vision for menswear. Naturally there’s the obligatory three-piece for the smarter gentleman, but with a waistcoat that has a distinctly artisanal feel. Likewise, trousers have a looser fit while shirts have bound cuffs and curved-back yokes. And the double- and single-breasted jackets are unstructured, which gives that all-important relaxed silhouette. Rather fittingly, these pieces can be worn as separates, too, working with the rest of your wardrobe, rather than standing as a working wardrobe by themselves.

So here at last is tailoring that is perfectly  tailored for the aforementioned man – namely, one who doesn’t want to look like he has tried too hard. And although formality hasn’t been given short shrift completely, it’s tailoring with a pared-down simplicity. Actually, what it is, is  tailoring without all the bells and whistles. Which is a very good thing indeed.