Discussing formal fashion with our Sales Manager Howard Bibby
- Do you feel that COVID, and working from home has changed the way in which people view formal workwear?
Yes, it’s definitely had an effect, more than we’ll realise for years to come and I think in a way by default it’s almost hit the pause button and allowed us to review what we do wear for work, rather than continue on the seasonal purchase treadmill each year. It’s certainly done that for me, as working from home became obligatory, people reinvented their prevailing wardrobes. In turn, this led to the popularity of ‘separates’, pairing complimentary fabrics and colour choices in favour of a traditional three-piece suit. As people utilised their staple suiting pieces, an air of confidence surfaced as people redefined their style, whether this was to maintain a professional demeanour or to focus on simplicity to adopt a relaxed and casual approach.
2. How have styles changed in reflection of working from home?
We have seen styles take a relaxed and less formal approach as day-to-day attire varies daily to complement personal calendars and meeting requirements. As zoom calls took precedence, and face to face meetings were cancelled, there was an increased emphasis on the comfort of clothing which maintained a fundamental stipulation throughout. We joke about people wearing ‘lounge suits’ or ‘joggers’ as I call them but people were seeking out garments that would be seen as being smart and professional whilst working from the home office – elasticated waists on formal trousers started to make an appearance, a lot of it came down to personal choice, as colleagues weren’t around to impress or pass comment so it created a whole new place in between formal and casual wear, which as we move back to normal will start and fizzle out.
3. What are the trends which we are going to see throughout 2022?
I think there’s a general positivity and overall upbeat feel as we return to offices around the world – people are back in the office, meeting colleagues and resuming face to face meetings which have led to people wearing more professional and polished attire to regain their individuality, there’s nothing like a bespoke suit to inject a little positivity around city centres. Formal suits will always have relevance within professional services, often in line with the expectations of their customers, but I think we’ll see a trend towards one or two well-tailored suits in blues and greys in sleek contemporary styles worn for meetings and formal commitments. Suit trends move at a glacial pace and I think the trend will be to move slowly away from the tighter fitting suits – jackets narrow in the shoulder and tight and short trousers towards looser broader jackets and wider legs, maybe a 1930’s or 40’s style which is quite exciting.
4. Separates vs Formal Suiting – the big debate
This is a tricky one as I’m a formal man myself there’s nothing like a bespoke garment as the pinnacle of fashion, and it’s easy to pick out in the morning. I think that the majority of individuals tend to write off separates as it’s too hard for them to plan an outfit. I think the trick is knowing when to wear them and which complementary colours and textures go well together. Once they have managed to crack that, their wardrobe options will increase dramatically. Going into 2022 I think we’ll see an increase in separates, slightly more informal, but done right to provide a sense of professional attire in the workspace, but remember don’t mix seasons.
5. Is there a main difference that you see design-wise when suits are tailored seasonally?
The main difference which we see seasonally with tailored suits is colour rather than weight. The thought of wearing a pink suit outside of holidays strikes most men with fear but yet currently would seem terribly fashionable, it seems the suit is constantly looking for a home outside of work. A shift from dark sobriety to more pastel tones, nothing too blinding but more washed through colours like sapphire blue and emerald green. Whether it’s a crisp white shirt or a tonal variation, I think that’s a matter of choice.
6. What do you think we will see in the future for fabric design and colours?
Traditionally, suiting has been associated with dark, yet timeless colours, spanning the spectrum of navy and black with some trepidation to bolder and vivacious colours. The future trends are set to bring vibrancy to tailors across the world with colourful choices encompassing many, in stark contrast to the more subtle classic tones. For example, our Carnival bunches offer some of the brightest and most intricated colours around The accelerated rediscovery of sensuously textured weaves within suiting to pair a stylish twist with an elegant depth. This trend is set to be highly successful and will traverse across the seasons. Evoking a bygone era and answering the demand for cloths of today with vintage handwriting, our ‘Churchill’ fabric presents an exemplary bunch reflecting these trends.