Why style lasts and trends fade

24 June 2016

Why style lasts and trends fade

If you’ve ever been particularly fashionable chances are there is a period of photographic evidence that should be burned. Immediately. Neon colours, acid wash, ultra-skinny ties: they are all objectively awful, and a reality for so many of us. While we might have considered them stylish at the time, these are the trends and by virtue, fleeting. Fashion has a certain transience about it, which sees some trends dominate then linger while others disappear into obscurity just as soon as they arrived. Case in point: Skinny jeans that were enormous for so long and midriff-baring tops that were ubiquitous in menswear for a hot second—phew. Tailoring isn’t immune to trends and is susceptible to change, albeit it at a much slower rate. 

You might wonder how the humble jacket and trousers could differ substantially, but there are so many ways to cut and then recut a suit. Every decade has its silhouette: from slim to boxy, to generous to technicolour; and these have all reflected the time and the economic climate. Take the 1980s, for example, when lapels were wide, suits were double-breasted and everyone was high on something—the smell of cash or contraband. Big deals were brokered behind these bold suits of armour, which as we known when it came crumbling down, was all bravado. The Sixties had a slimmer aesthetic, although it served a similar purpose. Business was big, but less overt than the Eighties, and everyone still had to dress to impress. The principal difference between the two is that the Sixties was a reinterpretation of the existing and prescribed style that didn’t deviate from it too greatly—the Eighties was more a fashion that had its moment then moved on.

It’s possible to understand why we’ve had a resurgence in Sixties style after such shows as Mad Men, because no matter the individual, there’s a look to suit most. Proportions matter: A good suit has lapels that are neither too thin nor too wide and sit on the individual perfectly. The jacket buttons are positioned where they complement the body the best (Rule of thumb: four-button suits are routinely awful on everyone). Design options are practical—no pockets or trimmings for no reason. And good complementary colours always stay in style. You can only get it right when you keep it stylish over fashionable, and you tailor is there to guide you along the way.