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October 2, 2012

Men’s Runway Report: Suit Yourself

By Chris Boyle

Z Zegna / Burberry ProrsumHermès / Louis VuittonParis, France – Reported by Jessica Michault for Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

The summer already feels like a distant memory and for many men the casual attire that goes with holiday vacations has no place in their wardrobe come fall. It is time to take things seriously, sartorially speaking, and that means investing in a well-tailored suit.

The business suit is the uniform of the corporate world. And just like with military attire, when a businessman goes into battle, he needs to look sharp and focused. The power of a well-tailored suit is so strong that its force can be felt even before the man wearing it comes into view.

I will never forget the first time I saw Tom Ford. It was from a distance and he was walking up the steps to the Petit Palais in Paris to catch a Stella McCartney show when he was in the thick of buying up brands for Gucci Group. I had no idea at the time that it was Ford I was glimpsing. What I did know right away was that, whoever the man was, he was wearing a fantastic suit.

Luckily for those men looking for the long-distance “Tom Ford” impact, there are a lot of suit options to choose from this season and a number of brands (like Z Zegna) are finally starting to make slimmer suit versions of their catwalk looks.

One of the biggest suit trends of the moment is the double-breasted variety. Burberry Prorsum came out with a dapper gray version in a higher cut that featured six buttons to create a super snug fit. And fit is the key to getting the double-breasted suit right. If you don’t want to look like a reject from a gangster film skip the shoulder pads and keep the double-breasted jacket trim and short.

The most popular suit option continues to be the two-button, but designers are trying to spice up the old standby in a few creative ways. At Hermès and Z Zegna the introduction of a bit of shine into the fabric gave the suits some extra pizzazz. At Dries Van Noten the addition of a pocket square drew the eye up to the torso, making it a great accessory for any man looking to keep the focus off his midsection. While at Givenchy, designer Riccardo Tisci went for tone on tone black suits that are a perfect way to look both sophisticated and cool.

But if you can only invest in one new suit this season then stick with the classic two-button gray incarnation. It is the male equivalent of the little black dress. It works in almost any situation. Just make sure that the gray shade is right in the middle of the color spectrum (not too dark, not too light). The gray Louis Vuitton suit designed by Kim Jones is a perfect example. Pair it with a white shirt and a dark solid tie, and you are guaranteed to get noticed both from a distance and then, if you are lucky, up close and personal as well.

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