The New Suit

By / Style & Beauty / October 20, 2016

Forget everything you thought you knew about the shirt-and-tie look — we’re mixing up menswear for every occasion

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Occasion: Wedding party
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“We styled the jacket with a lavender lapel buttonhole for a touch of personal style,” Leahy says.

The retailer: Nicholas Joseph, 300 W. Grand; Customsuitsyou.com

What’s different: Color and pattern are the obvious methods of mixing things up — and, indeed, this jacket comes in emerald, burgundy and even paisley — but don’t forget about texture: in this case, soft velvet (your wedding date won’t be able to keep her hands off you). Embrace custom detailing to make the look truly unique. Here, the stylists added a polka dot pocket square and lavender stitching.

The experience: Come in, sit down, have a cocktail. From start to finish, creating your custom suit is a luxe experience at Nicholas Joseph, one of the only clothiers in Chicago with a staff of master tailors making fully bespoke suits locally. “We custom make each piece to suit [the customer],” says Managing Designer and Partner Jodi Leahy.

Get this look: Velvet jacket, starting at $825; tuxedo shirt, starting at $119; black tuxedo pants, starting at $275; velvet bowtie, $110; white polka dot pocket square, $45.

Closer look: The “ticket pocket” refers to the smaller flapped or jetted pocket above the right hip pocket. It gained popularity during the Industrial Revolution, when men needed a convenient place to keep train tickets during their daily commute.

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Occasion: Job interview
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Finish this look with a water-resistant, windproof coat for winter. This maroon one from ESQ’s Ballistic Collection ($3,000) has down filling and features Loro Piana cashmere.

The retailer: ESQ Clothing, 555 W. Jackson; Esqclothing.com

What’s different: “For interviews, leave the black suit at home,” says Ge Wang, president and creative director of ESQ clothing, which specializes in completely bespoke suiting (starting at $2,000), but offers ready-to-wear pieces like the ones pictured, as well. “The black suit should be reserved for formal occasions — think black tie or funeral.” Instead, Wang outfitted our model in a look inspired by the style icons of the 1950s. The fabric — a houndstooth print in tan, red and green — looks solid from far away, but shows off your attention to detail when you’re face-to-face with a potential employer.

The experience: “Each consultation begins with not just a comprehensive fitting,” Wang says, “but also a thorough discussion on how the individual pattern on each garment will be cut, ensuring that no two individuals will look the same walking out the door.”

Get this look: James houndstooth suit, $799; Gerard flannel shirt, $149; Antonio pin dot tie, $139; Wellington boot, $349.

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Occasion: Black-tie gala
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There are three main types of tuxedo lapels: notched, shawl and peaked. The latter, shown here, “has a little more flair,” de Gruiter says.

The retailer: Suitsupply, 945 N. Rush; Us.suitsupply.com

What’s different: When it comes to black tie, you can’t go wrong with, well, black — but that doesn’t mean you have to look ordinary. Amsterdam-based Suitsupply’s tuxedos are tailored to perfection, and it’s what you don’t see that makes them so flawless. “The beauty of our suit is in the construction,” says Suitsupply vice president Nish de Gruiter, noting the soft shoulders and floating inner layer that allows the jacket to mold flawlessly to your frame. Plus, if you’re going have a single tux for all occasions, this is the one: Made of Super 110 wool, it’s light enough to wear year-round, and can be dry cleaned after a night of partying.

The experience: Though they do offer made-to-measure suiting, the majority of Suitsupply’s business is ready-to-wear, and there’s no appointment necessary for an initial consultation. “Guys never plan ahead for these things,” de Gruiter says. “So we offer on-site alterations while you wait.” For bigger tailoring jobs, they guarantee a three-day turnaround, and offer Uber rush delivery if you can’t pick it up.

Get this look: Smoking jacket, $419; black tuxedo trousers, $150; Egyptian cotton white tuxedo shirt, $99; white pocket square, $29; black silk bow tie, $45; black patent leather tuxedo shoe, $249.

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Occasion: Date night
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Closer look: The term “Glen plaid” comes from the valley of Glenurquhart in Scotland, where a 19th century countess outfitted her gamekeepers in the checked wool pattern.

The retailer: Knot Standard, 220 W. Illinois; Knotstandard.com

What’s different: Say hello to winter whites. Light-colored pants like these cream cords are a refreshing update post-Labor Day, but in a material that still provides warmth. Make it unique with side tabs in lieu of belt loops, a custom option on all Knot’s trousers. As for the blazer, treat the bold pattern as a neutral and rock it with everything from jeans (for a more laid-back date) to chinos (if you’re really trying to impress).

The experience: The completely bespoke New York-based brand opened its Chicago showroom earlier this year. Each suit is a total collaboration: Stylists work closely with clients to determine the fit, fabric and details that reflect their personal style. 

Get this look: Signature Glen plaid blazer, starting at $595; Mileta shirt, custom shirts start at $145; Loro Piana corduroy pants, custom pants start at $195.


Photos by Ramzi Dreessen

Model: Sami Zabadneh, 10 MANAGEMENT AGENCY


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