Trend Spotter: Time to suit up

As a fourth-year student, all I can think about is doing my best to pass exams, making sure I meet all my major’s requirements and most importantly, buying myself a well-tailored suit. Contrary to popular belief, suits are not exclusive to Sauder students; suits are for everyone, so don’t be afraid to wear a blazer or suit pants even in casual settings.

Tailored fashion has been my style ardor ever since I discovered the brand Berluti. The way Kris Van Assche (former creative director for DIOR) manipulates colours and fuses traditional and new-school tailoring is as refreshing as it gets. Properly styling yourself with a well-fitted blazer and suit pants is perhaps the easiest way to tell people ‘I am fashionable.’ However, executing it well can be confusing, so here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind.

Tip one: Blazer shoulder cuttings

The amount of blazers you might see when you walk into stores like H&M and Zara is… alarming, but finding one that actually fits you is harder than you might think. There are so many different blazers to choose from but it seems like none of them have ever truly satisfied me; their shoulder cuttings are all so ill-fitted. Once again, just to ensure that we are on the same page, oversized DOES NOT equate to ill-fitted. One looks good, and one means that it just doesn’t fit you at all — big or small.

Why is this the first thing I highlight about blazers? It’s because the way that it rests on your shoulder determines the rest of the structure and how it is presented on your body. There are two main types of cutting to be aware of: fitted or oversized (for skinny cuttings, check back later for part two).

Fitted blazers are mainly aimed for formal or smart-casual events (interviews, weddings, work, your first or fifteenth date, etc.) and they are intended to showcase your body frame and give a ‘tidier’ look, fitted on the shoulders (with a moderate amount of shoulder padding depending on how slanted/skinny your shoulders are) and slimmed down at your waist. There should not be any divots and creases around your shoulder or armpit areas, as those are signs of being too tight. One easy way to test if a blazer is too tight for you is to simply raise your hand; if the movement is restrained and brings the whole blazer up with you, then it is too small. A fitted blazer should hug your body, not hover or squeeze.

Oversized blazers are for more fashionable purposes; they are designed to look big on you.

This type of blazer usually refers to the bigger shoulder fitting, slightly larger sleeves and a longer-in-length jacket, but it is not limited to this formula. Due to the flexibility oversized blazers provide to designers, sometimes they can come with a long sleeve and waist length, or big shoulder pads to help maintain a boxy look, or even one without any padding to achieve a drapier fit — all of these are classified as oversized. However, if you find yourself swimming in the blazer or if it keeps sliding from side to side, or back to front, then it is not an ‘oversized design’, it is just too big for you.

Of course, it doesn’t always have to be ‘designed to be oversized’ for anyone to enjoy the fun of styling. Found a blazer in your closet or your parents that align with all the ‘yeses’ without the ‘nos’ I mentioned? Go ahead and style with it!

Tip two: Shoe colours

Colour-matching is a highly subjective topic in fashion, and well... in anything, really. If you think that you look good with a black suit and light brown oxfords, by all means, dress for success. All I’m trying to do is make sure that the basic idea of suit-shoes colour-matching is introduced to those who are getting started — or those that are still a bit confused about how to properly match them.

With that said, I do not agree with the black and light brown colour combo at all. The combo creates too much of a contrast, the shoes take the spotlight away from your suits and makes for a weird image. But again, that’s just my opinion.

Did I hear a voice asking what shoe colour options there are for black suits? Black and dark brown. I’ve seen dark green during a photoshoot before, but it wasn’t something I would recommend. This picture below is the overall recommendation I have for you, a safe start if you will.

 Longer blocks are suits, shorter ones are shoes.
Longer blocks are suits, shorter ones are shoes. Ryan Yip

Colour matching is really straightforward, but at the same time, it takes a long time to understand proper colour harmony. With that in mind, you can never go wrong in buying a pair of walnut brown shoes; they’re the safest choice because they go well with suits of many colours.

Part two coming soon

There is so much more that I want to cover regarding tailored fashion but it is impossible to do it all in one article. In the meantime, study the colour scheme, try and find a blazer that actually fits and check back for the second part in a few weeks where I will be covering ‘lapel thickness and suit linings’ as well as ‘single vs. double breasted blazers.’