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Fashion of Condoms and Candy Wrapper – Eco Fashion 2011

Trashion. If you’re green and fashionable, you’ve no doubt noticed it’s everywhere you look these days. And this “creative reuse” in fashion may have finally gone too far. It’s time to question, for the sake of eco fashion’s future viability, the plethora of “trash to treasure”initiatives touted as sustainable fashion genius.

It is time to do more with less, and this includes reducing our predilection for “trash to treasure” designs and stories that glorify less than marketable fashion.

The thing that concerns me as someone who also observes how trash is now utilized in eco-art and gallery installations is the message suggesting that we can increasingly find a tidy place for the trash in our lives. Creative reuse needs to move beyond the glorification of trashion and recycled art projects in order to address long term solutions for waste reduction and sustainable economic development. Our primary focus should be on managing this toxic bloom via critically important economic, environmental, and health initiatives.

For sure, timeless design has a transcendent and culturally revealing quality, particularly when it comes to the innovative reuse of materials and cast-off bits. Are we currently aiding or hindering the sustainable fashion movement if we do not make a distinction between designs that measure up as genuine fashion innovation and those that are clever, eye-catching creations that make “trashion” seem fashionable?

Junky Styling‘s recycled men’s suit coats: an empowering approach

Creative reuse projects can be large or small. In the case of fashion, several bold designer initiatives have genuinely overhauled the industry’s patterns of waste and excess via the resourceful recycling of textile surplus and unsold stock. Standout labels like From SomewhereJunky StylingGoodone, and Reet Aus, to name a few, effectively take yesterday’s unwanted goods and artfully re-shape them into tomorrow’s covetable items. This design strategy is genuinely empowering for the fashion lover who is investing in environmentally sound and fashion-forward design.

From Somewhere‘s upcycling of Speedo’s LZR Racer designs

The recent collaboration of From Somewhere with Speedo to create a capsule collection upcycled from unsold and obsolete Speedo LZR Racer designs might seem like an odd pairing to some. However, an industrial fabric challenge like this clearly demonstrates how unwanted waste can be transformed into eco-luxe couture.

Recycling should and must be an engaging activity, particularly when it comes to labor-intensive DIY projects. Some of the most rewarding fashion moments are definitely those where something useless or outdated takes on new life with imaginative tinkering and whimsy. As Kate Black of Magnifeco recently shared with us:

“When it comes to recycling, we have obviously been doing it for years, in all cultures. Textiles that can no longer be used as garments are incorporated into household items like quilts and pillows and now it’s not just recycled textiles making the news in eco-fashion: candy wrapper handbags, pull-tab accessories are front and center, too.  When recycling or upcycling in fashion falls short, though, I generally find that it is from a taste perspective, not necessarily a design perspective.”

I wholeheartedly support projects that provide fair-trade jobs to artisans who create one-of-a-kind accessories and art-objects out of dumpster and landfill pickings, so I am certainly not attacking these folks for the honest craft and handwork that they do.

Ecoist ‘Botero’ handbag crafted out of candywrappers

I do think, however, that we should exercise caution regarding what is an increasing inclination to sanitize and incorporate trash into art, fashion, and design projects for our own aesthetic amusement. Let’s not forget that this everyday refuse should not exist in the first place, at least not in the volume that we are now grappling with. We need to ensure that we do not become de-sensitized to just how out of control our garbage epidemic is. It is one thing to source from surplus textile stock, recycle trash in the waste stream, and get one’s hands dirty with some gritty DIY projects, but not at the expense of garbage becoming a part of our ongoing design lexicon, much less the focus of our attention.

Via Trendhunter: A condom hat may be great for ginning up clicks, but it’s bad for eco fashion progress.

‘Trash to treasure’ is a dangerous term, and one that might soon need to be upgraded or upcycled within the sustainable fashion glossary. Our long term efforts should continue to be focused on cradle-to-cradle design initiatives, zero-waste garment production, acknowledgment of indigenous technologies and crafts that actually aid specific regions, and sustainable economic development that improves the lives of people everywhere so that they can move beyond having to rely on garbage as a means of livelihood.

Chris Jordan photography

The ready-made object is a surrealist phenomenon. Fashion is about personal expression and the ability to be transported to new layers and states of being. Let’s not allow ourselves to get swept up by “quirky” design projects that demonstrate how clever we can be with Coke tabs, Barbie doll heads, condoms, or heaps of televisions and computer monitors, all in the name of recycling – but in reality only keep our movement one step further from legitimate entree into mainstream fashion or, worse, from being taken seriously by leaders in the fashion world.

‘Household goods’… deceased Estate by Claire Healey and Shaun Cordelro

This is not meant as an attack on the resourceful re-purposing of waste materials for home, fashion, and personal use. Recycling is definitely a significant part of the sustainable fashion story, but recycling without an ability to edit is doing us no good.

There is a time and a place for trashion and art of this nature, but we have a responsibility to shift away from scenes that mimic the dying “portraits of global mass culture” (a la work of photographer Chris Jordan) as we look to a greener future.

Lead image courtesy of Goodone; Household goods images via The Sydney Morning Herald.

Source: Ecosalon.com by 

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Women’s 2011 Fashion Trend; Lingerie as Outerwear!

The last time we saw a shift towards lingerie as outerwear was the 1980s, and while I exude a general disdain for that decade I can’t help but admit that certain fashion elements which emerged from it do have a place in this decade and the next. And so it is that we see various pieces of underwear return to the fore as outwear to feature amongst 2009 and 2010 fashion trends. And in many ways this may become one of the ubiquitous fashion trends; one that is transseasonal, and one that emerges as we pay fresh attention to tights and stockings as a feature piece, and not just an accessory, courtesy of the ripped stocking trend.

Underwear As Outwear

But what elements exactly? And how do women play to the racy element without going so far as to look cheap?

  • Suspenders and Stay-Ups
  • Camisoles and Slips

Stay-Ups and Suspenders

Of all the looks to emerge around underwear as outerwear, exposed stay-ups and suspenders are inarguably the most risque and the most difficult to pull off. But that hasn’t stopped the most daring of women trying, and I’ve already spotted it on the streets, in street style blogs, and on the celebrities such as Mischa Barton (see more updates on who has worn it below).

Though difficult to pull off, thanks to a come-back of patterned-stockings and tights women have a huge array of options. Take, for instance, Agent Provocateur’s snake stay-ups whose snake-motif will distract from the fact that these are indeed stay-ups.

Mischa Barton Underwear

One thing I would say in this area: avoid wearing stockings as outwear. Yes, Sienna Miller got away with it at the New York after-party of Factory Girl. But there are two points to make here: the first is that it already looks dated, the second is that she is Sienna Miller. And it’s the second point that allowed her to get away with it.

Sienna Miller Underwear

Slips and Camisoles

First emerging on the catwalks in Spring/Summer 2008, lingerie-inspired garments have their basis in corsetry. Back then bodices and boning gave way to free-flowing pieces that took, and continue to take, their inspiration from delicately feminine lingerie. styles.

Slips and camisoles may just well be the best use of lingerie as outwear as their intricate detailing and light fabrics often make their quality on par with dresses one might find on the high-street. This does have the detraction of making them only suitable for the Spring/Summer seasons however.

Slips and Camisoles as Outerwear

If you’re looking to try slips and camisoles as outwear look to pair it with other fashion trends, such as the sheer fashion trend. But remember it’s a feminine look, so one that is harder to pair with heavier elements (but not impossible; it’s not too hard to envisage a slip paired off against heavier, shin length boots). If you’re looking to take inspiration from the catwalks pair the look with bold accessories, leather belts and chunky heels.

Seasons This Underwear Trend Is For

As I wrote in the introduction, lingerie and underwear is trans-seasonal and will work in both Autumn(Fall)/Winter and Spring/Summer seasons; naturally individual elements and colours will lend themselves to either/or seasons but there are no strict rules here.

Source: Fashionising.com by Daniel P Dykes

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Fashion for Men in Suits: Fashionable Suit Styles for 2011

Men’s fashion trends are greatly different to women’s. They exist, yes. But their cycle moves much slower. Nowhere is that truer then of men’s suit trends. While there are distinct styles of suits that feature amongst 2011’s fashion trends I should note from the get-go that they’re not unique to the year – in fact, many of the key looks you’ll find in this guide will still be in-fashion come 2012 and beyond. Which is a great thing – it means you can afford to spend more on a suit thus buying a quality piece of workmanship that you’ll still be able to wear for many a year to come. The same can’t be said of most fashion trends.

But what styles, cuts and cloths should you be looking for? Read on to find out.

2011 suit

Read more on men’s suit trends
  • Modern Suit Styles
  • Double Breasted Suits
  • Three Piece Suits
  • On Trend Suit Fabrics and Patterns
  • Buying the Perfect Suit

While suiting and formal-wear trends for men aren’t seasonal (unless, of course, you’re talking about the weight of the cloth) and play out over several years, 2011 and 2012 continue the dominance of two qualities that any modern suit you invest in should aspire to have:

  1. classicism
  2. masculinity

Let’s deal with them both.

The classic part is the easy part. A good suit for this decade will take the best elements from the peak eras of men’s suiting (think the formality of the Victorian era, the savoir faire of the 1930s and, for some cuts, the skinny detailing of the 1960s) and apply them to a modern silhouette.

The masculinity of a suit is less easy to define; one can’t simply enter a tailors and say you want a suit infused with masculinity. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. Instead, suits for 2011 and 2012 are all about a cut that compliments the male physique, a suit that broadens the shoulders and trims the waist highlighting (or at least implying) an exercised body. In short, it’s about a cut of a suit that makes you, the wearer, feel more masculine and more confident. And feeling really is key. To some the masculine element will be a suit that is clean cut, with few flourishes, to others it’s means a suit full of extra details that it takes a certain attitude to pull off well (I’d say that Tom Ford’s suits fall into the latter camp – they’re highly masculine, but are made for a gent with a certain kind of attitude to life).

So knowing the fact that you’re looking for something both masculine and classic, what are the technical elements you’re looking for?

Suit Cuts: On-Trend Styles and Designs

You’ll find terms such as skinny and slim peppered throughout this tailoring trends guide, but fear not: I’m not referring to the ‘skinny boy’ suit popular into 2008 / 2009; with proponents of that style having themselves moved on to other styles, the skinny boy suit has had it’s day. But, despite this, the terms of skinny and slim remain simply because unstructured, boxy suit cuts are out of fashion. So there, from the get go, as we describe the suit cuts you should be looking for in 2011 and beyond we have to say it: you’re looking for a slim cut; and I use slim as opposed to skinny to describe the on-trend cut as your investment in a good suit should be in something that is neither overly-skinny nor overly boxy, but instead a suit cut that would appeal to a military officer, one that accents a sense of the masculine through three key silhouette elements:

  1. broad shoulders
  2. a slim waist
  3. slim trousers

With those three attributes in mind, let’s look at the actual cuts that are in fashion:

Single breasted suits

It seems superfluous to include single breasted suits in a trend article given they are never out of fashion. But despite being the default style, they’re also the dominant, on-trend suit cut for 2011 and 2012. This sits in contrast to the double breasted suit being the on-trend cut during 2009 and 2010.

The cut of the single breasted suit has evolved for 2011 / 2012 to have two dominant styles:

The sleek cut

The first of the two dominant single-breasted suit styles for 2011 is what I term a sleek cut. This is the suit for the slick chap who wears his suits in something of a toned down way. They’re still impeccably made and they’re never casual, but when it comes time to tick the masculinity box I referred to earlier, this suit is for the chap who does so with restraint.

To give you an instant mental picture of the sleek cut suit in 2011 and 2012, think of it as inspired by the continuing popularity of all things 1960s, a suit very akin to what the likes of Mad Men‘s Don Draper wears into the office though one cut with a trimmer waist.

don draper suit

If a sleek cut, single breasted suit is what you want to add to your wardrobe then you’re after the following details:

  • slim to medium sized notched lapels or a shawl
  • the upper button should be positioned around your navel
  • a breast pocket that accommodates nothing more than a pocket square (as opposed to a elegantly folded pocket handkerchief) – contrast Don Draper’s pocket square to the pocket handkerchief’s featured in the Tom Ford pictures below if the difference is not immediately obvious to you

The confidence cut

I’m still looking for the perfect term to describe this cut of suit. At first I’d termed it the flair cut, but it took only a moment to realise that that would imply that I was advocating a return to flared trousers and suits. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead flair was meant to describe the extra, potentially overt, details it has; this is a cut of suit for a gent who can comfortably wear those extra little details that Joe Average generally lacks the confidence to wear out of fear of derision.

So for those of you who are looking for that extra something, both in their clothing and in their life, I proffer up the (potentially temporarily named) confidence cut. As with all fashionable men’s suits for 2011 and 2012 it’s cut that’s about the male physique and the revival of classic suiting elements. Unlike the previous ‘sleek cut’ single breasted suit described, however, it features one additional key attribute: instead of a slim to medium notched lapel, 2011’s confidence suit cut is all about peaked lapels. In this regard, the suit cut sits as something of a 1930s and 1970s revival – back then peaked lapels were the only kind worth having.

peaked single breasted suit
A single breasted suit with dual buttons and pointed lapels.

With its obvious appeal, the confidence cut can be more than just a single breasted suit cut, however. When it comes to on-trend double breasted suits, it’s also the dominant cut.

Double breasted suits and sportscoats

If there’s one cut that I’m glad I’ve been able to return to my wardrobe it’s the modern, double-breasted suit. Those of you who recall the last time that double breasted suits and sports coats were in fashion may remember the boxy cut it inevitably came with. Fear not, that cut has gone. In its place is one that defies what double breasted suits were originally designed to do: hide a plump figure. Instead they’re now designed to accent and to heighten the perfect masculine shape: the V-shaped, well worked body.

Incidentally, if you’re still in possession of a double breasted suit from an earlier era, take it off to your tailor to refresh its life.

tom ford suit
Double breasted Tom Ford suits with pointed / peak lapels

If you’re purchasing off-the-rack you’ll note that there are a good number of double breasted suits available to you, each cut to a slightly different variation. What then should you look for? duke of windsor suitSuits for 2011 and 2012 are all about the same attributes that I keep reiterating: a cut that broadens the shoulders and slims the waist. With double breasted suits you also want to figure in to the overall affect what I earlier dubbed the confidence cut. And that means two additional things for a double breasted suit:

  1. that it has peaked lapels
  2. that its breast pocket is cut to accommodate a pocket handkerchief

As you can see from the picture to the right, the latter mention of a pocket handkerchief is less a requirement and more of a desirable flourish – the added attention to detail of a pocket handkerchief can not only make a look (and would make this one), it can be that one point that sets you apart in a crowded room, particularly when that room is full of chaps wearing their suit with disdain or if they spend their days stuck behind a desk. But the vintage photograph you see also leads to one other additional styling tip: when purchasing a double-breasted suit the “Kent” cut is the in-fashion cut. Named after a style popularised by the The Prince George, Duke of Kent, it’s a cut of double breasted suits where a longer lapel line extends into the waist. That is to say: the part of the double breasted suit that sits on the front buttons on the waist line (as pictured on the Duke of Windsor, right). This small detail will help convey you as being taller than you may actually be and, if cut correctly, also imply that you have a trim waist. You’ll find the Kent suit cut is offered by a number of designers, including D&G (pictured below), and all good tailors.

d&g suit
Double breasted Kent cut D&G suits, please forgive them for the snow boots but do note the differing lapels: a shawl lapel on the left and a pointed / peaked lapel on the right – these two styles are discussed later.

Sack suit cut

For every trend there is an anti-trend.

Despite suits in 2011 and 2012 being all about a cut that heightens a look of masculinity, this is still a world in which every day has become something of a dress-down-Friday. Thus a style of suit is gaining popularity that bucks the masculinity-focussed elements of suiting and instead takes its lead from the come back of all things vintage.

The neo-sack suit sports the rolled shoulders that inspired the cut’s name (hence the suit’s shoulders roll down the wearer’s, like a sack would) though with a slimmer waist than the cut of suit originally had, though not as slim as what’s on-trend.

sack suit
Two sack suits from Polo Ralph Lauren.

Three-piece suits

Let’s face it: the waistcoat has long been a dead item for most men, but thanks to a resurgence in its popularity in men’s street wear the waistcoat is back with vengeance. And it’s back as a statement piece, a piece that says that you, the wearer, is sartorially savvy and are likely to be a cut above your peers.

Having recently returned to men’s wardrobes as a standalone piece to be worn casually, the waistcoat’s new found popularity means the return of the three piece suit.

The three-piece in 2011 / 2012 is all about cohesion; forget the mismatching style prevalent in the early parts of the 20th Century and in the 1980s. The return of the three-piece means that the waistcoat has to be cohesive and, thus, in the same fabric as the suit’s other two pieces.

Tip: If you do want to venture outside the realm of three matching pieces, stick to a cohesive colour palette; you may want to pair a pinstripe black suit with a pinstripe charcoal waistcoat. Personally I’d embellish a two-piece suit with a cotton or wool sweater vest / tank top as opposed to a mismatching waistcoat.

On selecting the perfect three-piece suit I’d recommend looking for a waistcoat whose V shape breaks somewhere between the sternum and the base of the rib cage. I’ve seen waistcoats that accompany three piece suits from the likes of Giorgio Armani which don’t sport the V shape at all, simply finishing just under the collar; these are going to be a lot harder to wear and ignore the conservative subtlety this revival depends upon. Moreover, such a large waistcoat won’t convey a slim waist as effectively as one with a deeper neck, though they may imply more height on a particular figure.

three piece suit
A three piece suit from Simon Spurr. Note the peak lapels and flourish to the peak handkerchief while overlooking the fact that the second top button is undone: this is a mistake, the fact that the lowest button isn’t done up isn’t, however.

The Fabric / Suit Cloth

As we’ve returned to the classics with double breasted and three-piece suits, then it should come as no surprise that classic cloths, patterns and fabrics are those most sought after. As an added bonus, adding classic cloths to your wardrobe allows for the inclusions of fabrics and colours that you mightn’t otherwise have as an option (and helps you steer away from having the typical men’s wardrobe: black, grey, navy).

Which fabric cloth should you pick?

The fabric you buy your suit in will be on of the biggest factors in the price you pay, but selecting the right fabric will also play a big factor in whether you buy an investment piece or a one season wonder.

wool suit
Wool
The clear favourite for suits, but pick carefully. I’ve seen some very expensive wool suits fall apart within a few years due to the cloth being a terrible blend. My personal preference is towards a super-wool, with a thread count somewhere between 120 and 150. I tend towards 150 as it’s often works on both cold and hot days. If you live, however, in more extreme climates you’ll need both Winter (200 thread count) and Summer (100 thread count) suits in wool.
cotton suitCotton
Cotton can make a beautiful suit, but make no mistake it’s best only as an informal or fashion suit and, unlike wool, is going to crease like anything. I find it best in colours which aren’t black or grey, and your preference should be towards navy and tan colours. It’s definitely a spring / summer suit (and is great for weddings and other functions of the season) and many a European fashion house, as well as those who tailor in Europe, will have cotton suits amongst their spring / summer range. I’ve seen quality cotton suits sold off the rack amongst the ranges of Zegna and Ralph Lauren’s Black Label.
linen suit
Linen
So many men simply don’t understand linen, and it’s often those of us who have had the luck of a childhood in Europe that may ever truly appreciate it. But a linen suit can be perfect for those hot, humid summer days. Try wearing a cotton or wool suit once the mercury pushes past 30 Celsius / 85 Fahrenheit and you’ll see what I mean. Because of its nature, line makes a great summer suit and colours such as whites and creams and particularly suited.One final note on linen: don’t be scared of linen’s penchant for creasing, it’s all a part of the fabric’s charm.
velvet suit
Velvet
While we’ve looked at desirable fabric patterns for suits below, make a mental note now that there is also room in your wardrobe for a statement cloth – that is, a piece crafted out of a cloth that is itself the attention grabbing detail. The most on-trend cloth for this comes to us courtesy ofmen’s velvet. Follow the link to read more but, in essence: velvet makes a luxurious statement piece suited to evening wear, but most men will find it easier to wear the cloth in the form of a sports coat as opposed to a full suit.

Which patterns should you pick?

For those looking to invest in a suit that isn’t made in a solid colour, the following are classic suit patterns perfect for 2011 and beyond, but don’t forget that you can also work these same cloth patterns into components of men’s suiting without making it an actual suit; that is, sportcoats, blazers and trousers. In no particular order, these are the dominant suit cloths / patterns available for 2011 and 2012 that sit at the more conservative end of the spectrum.

Glen plaid
tom ford glen plaid

A mixture of checks, the Glen plaid (or Glen Urquhart plaid) has risen to become the most fashionable of all suit fabric patterns. It is actually a fabric of patterns, meaning that it can be woven into a great many colour and pattern size combinations. Of those, the Prince of Wales pattern is amongst the most popular (the Prince of Wales check is a combination of red, cream, black and gray), and like so many things sartorial derives its name from the late Duke of Windsor.

Glen plaid tends to work best in grey tones, with the checks in lighter shades currently amongst the most popular. It’s an autumn (fall) / winter pattern as it’s best when made out of wool.

Damier check
damier check suit

Another fabric pattern that has regained popularity of late, the damier check wasn’t invented by Louis Vuitton but has certainly been popularised by the fashion house as a menswear offering all the same.

In essence it’s akin to a gingham, but to call it that would be to turn you off the pattern altogether. Instead, think of it in dark, masculine colours without the white base typical of a gingham check. Because it is a rather busy pattern, however, this is one pattern that lends itself better to a fashionable sportscoat (paired with un-patterned trousers) then it does to a full suit.

Herringbone
herringbone suit

Herringbone has become something of the third place pattern in men’s suiting; solid colours take out first place and pinstripes second. While the fashionable fabric for 2011 / 2012 is a Glen plaid, herringbone remains something of the more conservative choice.

Traditionally made from wool, herringbone works best with suits autumn (fall) / winter and is typically produced in a alternating black / white colour combination. While the traditional colour way, this gives an overall bolder look and I’d recommend opting for a charcoal / light grey colour combination if you don’t find the black and white combination pleasing to your eye.

Harris Tweed
harris tweed

Harris Tweed has been making something of a come back for the past year or two – some put it down to the fact that the BBC opted to dress the latest incarnation of Doctor Who in it. We put it down to the fact that, in an age where everything old is new again, it was simply time for a comeback.

It’s place as a fashionable pattern is unique as Harris Tweed is both pattern and fabric, its fabric being a tweed and its pattern a mixture of herringbone and twill (the latter gives the alternating vertical lines you can see in the picture above).

Best suited to autumn (fall) / winter, Harris Tweed can be worn both as a suit and as a sportscoat.

Pinstripe
pinstripe suit

If you’re one of the many men who have never invested in a suit with a pattern then a pinstripe suit should be your starting place. Easiest to wear in a black with grey / white pinstripe, I’d personally recommend looking to a navy or grey cloth with a white pinstripe to differentiate yourself from everyone else. Do not, however, attempt a lighter cloth with a darker pinstripe.

A pinstripe cloth also provides a great visual trick of making the wearer look taller, so is a must for those men after such an affect.

Rope-stripe
ropestripe suit

The rope stripe is the pinstripe’s bolder cousin. Attracting all the sale ‘rules’ of a pinstripe, the rope stripe differentiates itself with a strip that is not ‘pin’ thin – usually the stripe is a few millimetres thick and is finished with a rope like, repetitive pattern.

If the rope stripe does appeal to you, you might also consider a chalk stripe (not featured here as it’s neither in or out of fashion).


Buying the Perfect Suit!

So far we’ve looked at a lot of the on-trend details of suits for 2011, 2012 and beyond, and hopefully by now you have a clearer idea of the style that you’re after – or at least the styles, shapes / cuts, colours and fabrics you should be picking from. There are of course many other elements to consider when investing in a good suit. Not all are trend related, so below you’ll find major elements you’ll want to consider in order to have a wardrobe of suits and sportscoats that mixes fashion with quality.

How many buttons?

A lot of people defer to personal preference when it comes to the amount of buttons a suit or sportscoat should have, but let me say this: when it comes to a single breasted suit, which this section truly applies to, unless you have good reason stick to one or two buttoned suits for 2011 / 2012. In greater detail:

One Button
A single button suit currently falls into the realm of both a classic and a fashion suit; the single button has been a trend before now and will eventually go out again (it was notably out of fashion in the 1980s, but then most everything good was out of fashion back then anyway).

Society’s fashion tastes aside what you want to really consider when purchasing a single buttoned suit is this: how tall you are. They might be very fashionable, but a single button has a shortening affect on a gent; generally speaking, the closer to the neck the button is, the taller a gent will look. A single buttoned on a suit is often closer to the waist, making your torso seem smaller. That’s not an issue if you’re 5’10” or taller, but can be if you’re not.

Take-away: A single buttoned suit or sportscoat can reduce stature and height on a short or stocky figure, so pay careful attention to this detail when trying on such a piece. Best for those over 5’10” or those whose main aim is to own a suit that is considered fashion forwards as opposed to being a fashionably classic.

Two Buttons
My preference for a modern suit. It conveys height, slims the waist, and fits perfectly within the realm of fashion and classicism.

Three Buttons
Very much a look of the 1990’s, thought it has been making a come back as a very fashion forwards option where the buttons are sewn on an angle.

The more traditional, buttoned straight-up-and-down three-buttoned suit is still out there, however, and has been seen amongst the tailored wares of Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label – though I suspect the former includes it more for his clients who are stuck on the style then because he sees it as forwards or sexual. Three buttons convey a greater sense of height than a two button suit, but are harder to pull off. I own several, and tend to dress them down opting to wear them over a quality cotton t-shirt from Ralph Lauren Purple Label then with a crisp shirt.

Tip: if you do opt for a three button suit, ensure that you only do up the middle button when wearing it.

jefferson hack by StreetFsn
A modern three buttoned suit as worn by Jefferson Hack. Note that the buttons are stitched to an angle and that the lapels are notched / stepped.

Four Buttons or more
Please don’t. I’m yet to see any four button suits which truly impress me or fit in with the current men’s suit aesthetics. Generally speaking, four buttoned suits are the thing of discount wedding stores.

The shoulder of a suit

A lot of suit terms can be mixed and matched, but I’m a fan of something I’ve always called the ‘British rolled-shoulder.’ Others might call it something else, but it is effectively where the shoulder padding finishes. A lot of Italian and US based designers prefer to have the shoulder padding finish precisely where the bone does. A British rolled shoulder has the padding extend over the shoulder and roll down into the sleeve. It’s a technical difference, but it’s also a visual trick that makes the shoulders seem broader and the arms better built.

Such a padded shoulder is perfect for the masculine figure a modern suit is meant to convey, hence it isn’t an element of the preceding sack suit. If you’d like to try on such a fit, Ralph Lauren’s Black Label features such a shoulder in their Anthony cut of suits.

ralph lauren black label suit
A suit from Ralph Lauren Black Label in an ‘Anthony’ cut. Note how the suit’s shoulder extends beyond where the model’s shoulder actually would be, and rolls down, implying broader shoulders and a more masculine physique.

Suit vents

Suit vents are the splits on the tail / rear of the skirt of a men’s suit. This one is really simple: preference a suit which offers two vents (with either, effectively, placed over the buttocks). Let me explain:

A suit without vents will not sit right for day-to-day suit wearing, and is only recommend for a dinner suit.

A single vent is a cut predominant to American, and often Italian tailoring. Sitting down the centre of the rear of a suit it still allows movement but not as effectively as a dual vented suit. Duel vents also allow one to easily put their hands under the suit and into their trouser pockets without damaging the overall silhouette.

Lapels

There are three types of suit lapels generally available to the modern male:

Step lapel
A notched lapel, or the step lapel / collar as it’s known in British parts of the world, is the most prevalent style of men’s lapels. In essence the lapel has a ‘notch’ taken out of either side. The angle of that notch steps down. Hence you now know both the style and how it has come to have different names associated with it.

Takeaway: suited to single breasted suits with any combination of buttons. If you encounter a double breasted suit that offers a notched / step lapel: run.

notch lapel suit
A two button Zegna suit with a notched lapel.

Pointed lapel
This is the on-trend lapel style for 2011 / 2012, with the actual cut again given away by the name: pointed lapel / peak lapel (the difference again comes down to which side of the Atlantic you lean towards). Cutting across the chest, the pointed lapel enhances the much coveted V shape of the male physique, enhancing that elusive masculine quality I’ve referred to throughout this guide.

The only question remains as to what size the peak should be, which is really a question of confidence: how large to you dare wear them? Personally I opt for a natural balance, where the peak sits half way between the top of my arm and the lapel’s natural line. Anything more I find excessive, too 1970s-comeback, and anything less feels pointless.

Takeaway: the most fashionable style of lapel for 2011 / 2012. Perfect with both single breasted and double breasted suits.

gucci pointed lapel
A peak / pointed lapel from Gucci.

white suit jacket

Shawl lapel

A style of lapel that features neither a notch nor a peak, but instead is one continuous, fluid lapel. Generally speaking a shawl lapel should solely be worn with a dinner suit, though as a flourish on a sportscoat / sport jacket worn as evening wear it can be very effective.

A white dinner jacket from Ralph Lauren with a shawl lapel. Note that this rounded finish where the shawl meets the top button is not the on-trend cut, but nor is it out of fashion.

shawl lapelA Tom Ford suit with a shawl lapel. Note how the shawl finishes with a defined cut, as opposed to the roll of the Ralph Lauren jacket on the left.

Other Trends

Naturally, there a number of other fashion trends in 2011. A word of caution however: amongst all of the year’s trends you’ll notice dominant, recurring themes such as the influence of 1970s fashion. Overlook these. Yes, they play some small part in influencing the size of a peaked lapel but they do not, however, have a overarching influence upon men’s suits. At no stage should the trends collide to bring back into fashion bell bottom suits. Suits for 2011 remain about sleek, masculine classics, the more casual trends which we’re also writing about are not.

Source: Fashionising.com by Daniel P Dykes

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Autumn / Winter 2011; Textile Colour Trends

It’s time to gaze into the crystal ball and take a look at the colour trends that will sit as a part of autumn / fall fashion trends. Understandably what we’re seeing so far is largely aspirational: a year’s colour trends are always less about particular styles and more about evoking the imagination.

Read on for more.

fall 2011 colors

Fall 2011 Textile Colour Trends

These textile trends come from Spin Expo, an international trade fair for yarns, fibres, knitwear and knitted fabrics that is held in both New York and Shanghai. They’ve picked and described the topical / thematic colour trends for autumn / fall 2011 textiles as follows:

Time to play

An energising palette of clear whitened winter greens, dusted with modern brights and a dark purple.

The exploration of ‘self’ through playfulness, and activity. Making time to have fun, experiment and be ever changing.

Sport is re-invented through a new sense of colour making it merge seamlessly with everyday life.

Looking at culture for the techno age generation who are easily bored and in need of constant stimulation.

  • Natural and synthetic of equal importance
  • Drape, fluidity and movement
  • Compact, dense and peached
  • Polished sheen achieved by fibre choice or mercerising
  • Yarns and fabrics that can perform and energise
  • Technical finishes and new innovations
  • Stretch and movement
  • Graphic plays of colour and pattern
  • Fresh stripes
  • Simple micro textures
  • Iridescent glow and rich lustre

The colours for this theme:

fall 2011 color

Colours: dawn blue, blackberry cordial, calypso cordial, mineral green, porcelain, mustard gold, amazon, apple green, mallard green, rifle green

Time to escape

A powdered level of colours using pinkish taupes, warm copper and soft browns, enriched by deep rose and blue grey.

A sense of protection is swathed in discreet luxury, enhanced by subtle beauty searching for a new perfection.

A rough, raw dimension that hints at femininity with natural charm, rustic yet delicate, wild yet precious.

A time to luxuriate in our own space, relaxation time, making time to improve, beautify and rejuvenate.

  • Powdery finishes
  • Soft shimmer and lustre
  • Diffused surfaces through hair and brushing
  • Feathery, twisted and ruffled
  • Smooth luxurious shine
  • Burnished metallics
  • Warm soft textures
  • Broken surfaces with a natural patina
  • Delicate sheer textures and transparent looks
  • Layering from fine to very chunky
  • Extreme exaggerated stitches
  • Blurred and subtlety broken plays on colour

The colours for this theme:

fall 2011 color

Colours: cream tan, copper, burlwood, chateau rose, desert sand, beet red, incense, whitecap gray, lead, bracken

Time to explore

Rich, saturated levels of colour in warm tones of russet orange, strong reds, golds and bronzes contrasted by vibrant teal and pinks, all merged together to give a moody, painterly dimension.

Making time to explore our own creativity and explore new ideas, looking at art activities such as painting, printing and crafts, but reinventing them in a futuristic way.

Expressing our own individuality by making good use of our hands and enjoying embellishing, enhancing and creating new looks in a modern way.

Finding time to create our own identity through freedom of spirit.

  • Appearances are deceptive with handmade or rough looks, but with a soft to the touch feel
  • Lots of surface interest
  • Novelty textures and novelty fibre blends
  • Volume and rounded looks
  • Hairy and raised surfaces
  • Rich vibrant gold and metallics
  • Velvety looks and touch
  • Multi colour effects in neps and marls
  • Printing and hand painting
  • Chunky but weightless
  • Irregular textures
  • Boiled and compact
  • Rich bold use of pattern and colour

The colours for this theme:

fall 2011 color
Colours: chili pepper, beeswax, boysenberry, buckthorn brown, molten lava, seaport, beetroot purple, fuchsia red, partridge, decadent chocolate

Time to shine

Mysteriously deep and intense shades of inky blues, greys and blacks through to futuristic purples from dark to light. Shimmering yet burnished highlights of silver and gold offer decorative relief.

A time to visit an era when things were special, cherished and refined, yet reconstruct it into the future to make it relevant to modern life.

Combining a decorative legacy of the past with a streamlined futuristic vision enhanced by technology.

A time to find exquisite beauty and perfection by looking at decorative form and modern adornment. Creating drama and intrigue, desire and satisfaction. Regaining our status to face the modern world.

  • Fine, threadlike counts, highly twisted
  • Polished surfaces from bright shine to subtle sheens
  • Sparkle of all kinds
  • Burnished and aged metallics
  • Fur and plush looks
  • Feathery effects
  • Rich velvety finishes
  • Lace and ruffles
  • Aged appearances
  • Silky drape and fluid looks
  • Subtle crinkle surfaces and delicate textures
  • Extreme softness and lustre
  • Exquisite embellishment and jewels used with finesse

The colours for this theme:

fall 2011 color

Colours: lily white, pewter, orchid hush, peacoat, heron, surf the web, true navy, gothic grape, champagne, jet black

Source: Fashionising.com by Daniel P Dykes

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