Men’s Style Tip: A Menswear 2012 Visual Guide to The Perfect Fit

Posted on January 24, 2012

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I don’t know what is it with most men and their dress sense- perhaps it’s a historical artifact to an age where mothers dressed their little boys in large outfits because “Junior outgrows his shirts too quickly”; perhaps it’s the male penchant to disregard form (an irony) and embrace function wholeheartedly in mistaken belief that baggy equals comfortable. Personally, I see nothing comfortable about ill fitting garb and like most Monsieurs, find great confidence in slim silhouettes.

A man’s jacket should be cut so sharply that he might never raise his arms too quickly in surrender – The Monsieur

Looking at the line up in Milan, Fall Menswear 2012 has presented one of the most creatively diverse collections in years and while there are many hits and misses (NYMAG has a pretty interesting read on the misses), here’s a visual guide to what I find to be one of the best put together options for a man’s sartorial arsenal. Most importantly, it comes with the most important men’s style tip since matching belts with your shoes- I’m of course talking about “Fit”- the perfect fit occurs when your uniform becomes your second skin; you may fit like a child in your father’s clothes it but it doesn’t fit you. Here’s a visual guide to what I consider to be the perfect fit.

The Double Breasted Blazer

Double Breasted Blazer as envisioned by Yves Saint Laurent (left) and Ermenegildo Zegna (right).

The common mistake: The most common issues associated with pulling off a double breasted blazer is that the material is either too thick or cut to traditional standards (this is ok if you’re slim NOT if you’re a gym or sofa junkie) you’d you end up looking like a mob boss or that you’ve gotten a size too large. Men’s style tip: Buy a size smaller than your regular. Also pay attention to the cut, modern double breasted jackets only button slightly past the centre line- the reduction in material cuts a slimmer figure as a result.

Shawl collar cardigan from Ermenegildo Zegna (left) and Knitted sweater from Gucci- look no odd bulges.

The Cardigan/Sweater

The common mistake: It’s important to realise that knitwear have a tendency to expand, even the more expensive brands. Aside from that, many make the mistake of buying a size too large in an attempt to take into account the cardigan’s status as outerwear (you wear it over tees and shirts). Men’s style tip: When trying on knitwear, assume it’s worn un-layered, treat it as you would a regular shirt. This would compensate for any “expansion” that might occur as a result of general wear. Additionally, if you’ve found that your current sweater has stretched beyond an acceptable limit, cold water wash ought to do the trick. It’s important to note that even when layering, your cardigan should still cut you a slim figure- you shouldn’t look like grandpa.

Louis Vuitton midnight blue suit (left) Bronze Viktor & Rolf three button peak lapel suit (right)

Suits and Suiting

The common mistake: It doesn’t matter if you’re American, English, Italian or Australian; save for the French, the tendency is for men of all nationalities to dress like they expect to “grow” into their suit. Quick hint- you won’t. Men’s style tip: Shoulder joints on the jacket should end right at the tip of your shoulder, the arm hole should feel snug at the armpit and when the blazer is buttoned, you should have a well defined waistline. Your suit trousers should caress your legs and fit your bottom snugly.

Viktor & Rolf fur lapel overcoat (left) and Yves Saint Laurent flannel peaked lapel double breasted overcoat (right)

The Others: Trenchcoats, Overcoats, Peacoats and Jackets

The common mistake: The practice to leave space to accommodate your suit or cardigan beneath. Men’s style tip: Don’t. If it hasn’t sunken in yet, the key take away from the last 4 paragraphs is that it should fit snugly.

An Overview of Featured Brands:

Ermenegildo Zegna

Whether you’re on a merging and acquiring warpath or jetting off with supermodel in tow to St. Barts, the Zegna gent is a man of action and the sartorial wonder of Ermenegildo Zegna’s fall 2012 collection will make sure that this monsieur is well suit (pun intended) for the occasion. The Prince of Wales check makes a strong return this season after cruising below radar throughout 2011- both jacket and trousers are printed lined- a contemporary twist to an outstanding tradition of tailored menswear.

Yves Saint Laurent

Worsted wool, flannel, linen- all materials associated with suits and the monsieurs that wear them. Yves Saint Laurent’s gentleman however wears a uniform of leather. Creative Director Stefano Pilati has created a complete collection for Yves Saint Laurent Fall 2012 built around sharp lines and subtle details, infusing a tailored look with charcoal and black tones to fur lined waistcoats. A collection built for the gentleman who feels like dressing like a rock star.

Viktor & Rolf

“Rada tebya videt” remember the words because it’s time to learn how to say hello to Russian babes as Viktor & Rolf fall 2012 menswear has gone distinctively Soviet. Edgy and constructed to cut a manly figure; angled shoulders and layering to emphasize gym built form and disguise the unsightly, Viktor & Rolf have outdone themselves again.

Louis Vuitton

Wonderfully nostalgic, a blend of the seventies and eighties, Louis Vuitton’s fall 2012 menswear collection will find a home in any budding Monsieur’s wardrobe- tailored cuts of two toned suits, pin stripes and well constructed trench and pea-coats.

Gucci

Gucci Fall 2012 is among the menswear collections this fall to revisit the past. Turning to the nineteenth century, Frida Giannini, Creative Director of Gucci has given a modern twist to what she calls Bohemian Grunge. The entire lookbook is filled with luxe investments- simple pieces with lush materials like velvet, silk and brocade, it’s a well rounded collection complete with sweaters and jackets. Although Gucci motif is rife throughout the look, it is done so tastefully and is only readily apparent on a second glance.

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Posted in: men's style