A New Suit, Part 2: Irrepressibly Modern

Words by: Andrew Williams


As you may remember from my last posting, I’m considering my next bespoke suit. I’ve narrowed my choices down to a few rough concepts: the weekend suit, the City slicker/Italian cool and, finally, the irrepressibly modern.

I doubt this last concept of ‘irrepressibly modern’ will get much sympathy in these pages. A flick through the back catalogue of articles, and comments, would show that we are an audience largely made up of classicists. And for the most part I would class myself as one also.

But, just as my taste in cars tends towards classic motors, my head still turns in admiration at a modern Aston Martin. As a rule, most car makers work to the theory that you can sell a young man’s car to an old man but the reverse doesn’t work.

In clothing this theory tends to work the other way around. Young men are frequently drawn to classic styles and forms, but they also possess the freedom of youth to engage in more experimental styles, and carry them off. Unless your name is Nickelson Wooster, older men on the other hand should really stick to the classics, less they wish to look slightly foolish.

I’m not an old man, but will be soon enough. If I’m going to experiment this is the time to do it. Failure is not half as pathetic as the fear of failure is.

From my extensive pictorial library of clothes and looks from which to take inspiration I found the above picture. It comes from the March 2009 edition of GQ and was originally part of that summer’s Versace collection. There is plenty wrong with this suit from a classicist’s point of view. I’m not ignorant of those defects, but it is in spite of them that I just love its square lines and utter simplicity, and did from the first moment I saw it. In many ways the angular lines remind me of an unbuttoned double breasted suit. Though it goes against all convention, this is an aesthetic I rather like, being just as happy to wear my DBs unbuttoned as I am buttoned – but I think that’s an English thing.

From the pictures of my last commissioned suit, you may have noticed that I’m quite a squared shape. I’m therefore convinced that the angles in this unconventional style of suit might just enhance my silhouette. Although the suit was shown in 2009 I think it’s dated rather well, helped by the ultra slim aesthetic still being in vogue at the moment.

Materials will be important with this one, and I’m thinking either cotton or a cotton linen mix to do this shape justice. To work it needs to be a cloth with a degree of rigidity to keep those lines crisp and sharp. For me this is an irrepressibly modern aesthetic, and fortune favours the brave.

In the next posting I’ll discuss my final concept, City Slicker/Italian Cool.