How Men's Suits Have Changed | Styled By Sally

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How Men’s Suits Have Changed – From Mad Men to Seinfeld and Back Again

Fashion is full of cycles. Retro looks make new appearances years after they are first innovated. Trends, like hemlines, rise, and fall, sometimes quickly, and sometimes as part of a gradual continuum. Seasons bring with them echoes of years gone by, and we are sure to find some beautiful classics, as well as classic cringes, in the back of almost any wardrobe.

On the surface it appears women’s fashion is more the fickle half of the picture, but when you pay proper attention, it is evident men’s fashion too, transforms dramatically over time. A prime example is the suit.

In the 1960’s men’s suits started to be more than utilitarian attire, and entered the realms of true fashion. Achieving popularity in part with help from The Beatles, the suits of the 1960’s were stylishly form-fitting, with tapering stovepipe trousers and skinny ties. Even the classiest men, like the character Don Draper in Mad Men, wore suits with slimmer silhouettes, and chose tasteful accessories, like tie pins, to personalise them.

Don Draper likes suits, but he also likes sports jackets and straight trousers which mimic the look of the suit. He is always neat and well groomed, and his suits follow his personal style.

Over the following decades, the form of the suit became more casual and boxy. In the 1990’s, Jerry Seinfeld exemplified the look, wearing his large sized, wide shouldered, low-buttoned suits with sneakers. This kind of ‘suit’ didn’t even require a tie, making do with a high-banded collar, and block colours for interest. It was a casual and comfortable approach to what had been quite a rigidly designed suit.

In equal parts extraordinary and predictable, we have some full circle again. The fashionable suits of today would make Don Draper swish his scotch with a smile. Men trying them on should note that suits on the rack are designed to be tailored to fit, so choose one that fits well in the shoulders, and don’t worry if the sleeves are too long initially. After purchase it should be altered just for you. Pocket squares and tie pins are also totally back, and with those slender, plain ties, you will be on point for the current season.

So what is your favourite era for suit styles? Leave me a comment and share your favourite looks.


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