The Silhouettes of Jackets

I’ve paid less and less attention to Pitti Uomo photos over the years, largely because so much of it gets monotonous. This past tradeshow, however, I caught these three photos from Tommy Ton over at GQ and thought they’re worth highlighting, if only to underscore the importance of how a suit is styled and shaped — two aspects which are just as important as how a suit fits. 

How a suit fits and how it’s styled are two different things. Fit can be basic and not so basic, and we’ve written a ton about the subjectFor a suit jacket or sport coat, having a good fit means making sure the collar stays on your neck (even as you move your arms), the chest doesn’t buckle away from your body, the shoulders end near your natural shoulder joints, and that there aren’t any ripples or pulls anywhere. Somewhat straightforward. 

Style is different. Style is not just about the fabric chosen and pocket details, but also about how the jacket is shaped and cut. 

Take the first photo, for example, of the three young guys in blue suits. All three wearing slim, columnar silhouettes, with low rise trousers and narrow shoulders. The lapels are a bit wider than what’s normal for such looks, but it’s a style that was made popular by Hedi Slimane when he designed for Dior Homme. These kinds of suits have been tremendously popular for over a decade now, but they only really look good on very skinny guys, such as these three. 

In the next photo, we have Mark and Jake from The Armoury, who are wearing something a bit more comfortable and relaxed looking. On Jake (the dude in the darker grey suit and pink shirt), the shoulders are a bit extended, the trousers come up higher, and the notches on the lapel are a bit lower than what’s popular nowadays. Still soft shouldered like everyone else’s jackets at the tradeshow, but the overall effect is different. Perhaps more Armani than Slimane. 

Lastly, Antonio from Eidos Napoli in the third photo is wearing a dark brown suit that he designed himself. Slim fitting, like the first photo we saw, but less columnar, as the chest looks slightly more relaxed (giving the illusion of a more nipped waist), and the quarters (which is that part of the jacket just below the middle button) sweep away as it falls towards the hips. The overall line, going from the top of the lapel down to the hem, is a lot more curved. 

A suit should always fit well, but how it’s styled is a totally open question. Pay attention to the different shapes that a tailored jacket can take, and you’ll notice that they can be framed like As, Vs, Xs, or columnar Is. Some shapes will look good on you, some will not, but that’s where the fun really begins — finding the style that’s right for you. 

To learn more about silhouettes, you can read our old post here

(Photos via Tommy Ton)

Thoughts on Apparel Trade Shows
Pitti Uomo, the menswear trade show Pete recently wrote about, just ended last week. It happens to be one of the most publicly watched trade shows among menswear enthusiasts, but it’s hardly the only industry event. A number of “fashion shows” just ended in London and Milan, for example, and Bread and Butter is going on right now. After that, there’s Capsule, and then a few others. 
I actually went to apparel trade shows in the mid-1990s, when I worked in print media. At the time, we had streetwear brands as advertising clients, so we’d go to do business. We also needed to make contacts in order to organize fashion photoshoots. I’ve never been to Pitti, but I’ve gone to a number of Magic shows (one of the biggest apparel trade shows in the US) and ASR before they shut down. 
One of the things not captured by media coverage of these events is their size. Some of them are huge. At Magic, for example, you can almost walk continuously every day for the duration of the show (usually three days) and still not see every booth. Tons of brands are there, each with their own collections, and buyers from stores making their purchases. It’s kind of incredible to think of how much stuff is being produced, sold, and bought at these things. I mean, at the last Pitti Uomo alone, there were 30,000 attendees, 21,000 of which were buyers (21,000 buyers!). And after each round of shows, there’s another round in six months for the next season’s collections.
Anyway, it’s been about fifteen years since I’ve been to one of these events, but every time Pitti coverage comes up on my RSS feed, I’m reminded of an interview Move did with my old friend Jeff Ng, who’s a pioneer in the streetwear scene with his company Staple. On the issue of trade shows, he had this to say:

Fashion to me is a riddle. It’s this riddle I am always fighting with because, you know, you walk around a trade show like Bread & Butter and you see all these brands, and you’re just thinking to yourself, “how many jackets do people need? How many pants? How many jeans?” I feel kind of disgusted that I’m just adding more stuff into this world.
But I do realize that everyone sitting here is wearing clothes. Clothes are necessary, but what is the solution? Yes we do need multiple options, but do we need this many? […]
Fashion as you know works on calendars and seasons. You have to do a spring/ summer; you have to do a fall/ winter; you have to do a holiday. And as a designer and creative person, it’s like why? Let’s say I created a dope ass jacket in the spring. Why do I now have to make another one in the fall? Just because you have to make another collection? Maybe that one’s a great jacket and I don’t wanna make another jacket. But in fashion, no. “That was good, OK, but now do five more in thirteen different colors.” Like, really? Do we have to?

I’m certainly no saint, and I admit I like seeing new collections come out every season. I also enjoy purchasing new things, and the feeling of wearing them for the first time. But, every time Pitti coverage comes up on my RSS feed, I think about Jeff’s point. How does the cycle of seasonal collections and trade shows relate to clothing production, and how does that production relate to our consumeristic desires?
I don’t have answers to those questions (causality can run in either direction, or even both, I’m sure), but they’re food for thought.
(Image from Christian Boltanski’s installation No Man’s Land)

Thoughts on Apparel Trade Shows

Pitti Uomo, the menswear trade show Pete recently wrote about, just ended last week. It happens to be one of the most publicly watched trade shows among menswear enthusiasts, but it’s hardly the only industry event. A number of “fashion shows” just ended in London and Milan, for example, and Bread and Butter is going on right now. After that, there’s Capsule, and then a few others. 

I actually went to apparel trade shows in the mid-1990s, when I worked in print media. At the time, we had streetwear brands as advertising clients, so we’d go to do business. We also needed to make contacts in order to organize fashion photoshoots. I’ve never been to Pitti, but I’ve gone to a number of Magic shows (one of the biggest apparel trade shows in the US) and ASR before they shut down. 

One of the things not captured by media coverage of these events is their size. Some of them are huge. At Magic, for example, you can almost walk continuously every day for the duration of the show (usually three days) and still not see every booth. Tons of brands are there, each with their own collections, and buyers from stores making their purchases. It’s kind of incredible to think of how much stuff is being produced, sold, and bought at these things. I mean, at the last Pitti Uomo alone, there were 30,000 attendees, 21,000 of which were buyers (21,000 buyers!). And after each round of shows, there’s another round in six months for the next season’s collections.

Anyway, it’s been about fifteen years since I’ve been to one of these events, but every time Pitti coverage comes up on my RSS feed, I’m reminded of an interview Move did with my old friend Jeff Ng, who’s a pioneer in the streetwear scene with his company Staple. On the issue of trade shows, he had this to say:

Fashion to me is a riddle. It’s this riddle I am always fighting with because, you know, you walk around a trade show like Bread & Butter and you see all these brands, and you’re just thinking to yourself, “how many jackets do people need? How many pants? How many jeans?” I feel kind of disgusted that I’m just adding more stuff into this world.

But I do realize that everyone sitting here is wearing clothes. Clothes are necessary, but what is the solution? Yes we do need multiple options, but do we need this many? […]

Fashion as you know works on calendars and seasons. You have to do a spring/ summer; you have to do a fall/ winter; you have to do a holiday. And as a designer and creative person, it’s like why? Let’s say I created a dope ass jacket in the spring. Why do I now have to make another one in the fall? Just because you have to make another collection? Maybe that one’s a great jacket and I don’t wanna make another jacket. But in fashion, no. “That was good, OK, but now do five more in thirteen different colors.” Like, really? Do we have to?

I’m certainly no saint, and I admit I like seeing new collections come out every season. I also enjoy purchasing new things, and the feeling of wearing them for the first time. But, every time Pitti coverage comes up on my RSS feed, I think about Jeff’s point. How does the cycle of seasonal collections and trade shows relate to clothing production, and how does that production relate to our consumeristic desires?

I don’t have answers to those questions (causality can run in either direction, or even both, I’m sure), but they’re food for thought.

(Image from Christian Boltanski’s installation No Man’s Land)

Perspective on Pitti
Today marks the start of another Pitti Uomo, the sprawling men’s clothing tradeshow held semi-annually in Florence. Pitti is technically a garment-trade insider’s event, as only clothing industry professionals and press are welcome. With the rise of informal media coverage on blogs and social media, Pitti is today a #menswear bacchanalia of commerce, trend spotting, and peacocking, relentlessly documented by a phalanx of street style photographers. It’s become something to make fun of, which makes sense, because the clothing industry, like the tech or gaming industries or any other, feeds on hype and attention, and people do silly things to get that attention. It’s also emblematic of a retail cycle of constant buying and selling that can seem crass.
Especially to people who don’t make a living making or selling clothing, Pitti can seem decadent and ridiculous. But that doesn’t mean we should roll our eyes, shrug, and move on. It really is a menswear summit, where people from all over the world (ok; primarily the wealthy parts) and the clothing business mingle. Yes, people are trying to sell stuff, but in most cases they’re not just leaning on walls and exhaling coolly, they’re passionate about clothing, they have a vision, and they go in order to make it work. Pitti is where small manufacturers catch the eyes of retail buyers who can make or break their year. It’s where new brands take a gamble that buyers will pick up their lines, and they can survive to go home and start designing the next season. It’s where bloggers and start-up shops scour a fortezza-full of vendor booths for the next big thing. And it’s in spine-crushingly beautiful Florence, so those street style photos come out real nice.
Put This On doesn’t go to Florence for Pitti, because, as Jesse has said, we have jobs and live in the real world with normal people. But I’ll be checking in on coverage from a handful of sources:
Styleforum sent two members to cover classic (i.e., tailored) clothing and men’s contemporary (i.e., edgier) stuff. They’re writing ongoing journals of the trip and will be posting about individual brands later.
GQ sent photographer Tommy Ton to shoot photos of Pitti attendees. He’s been there before, and posts a good mix of the inspiring and exasperating.
Simon Crompton of Permanent Style is in Florence and posting.
Well-dressed retiree voxsartoria is live-tweeting Pitti even though he hasn’t been and won’t go.
(photo by Youngjun Koo)
-Pete

Perspective on Pitti

Today marks the start of another Pitti Uomo, the sprawling men’s clothing tradeshow held semi-annually in Florence. Pitti is technically a garment-trade insider’s event, as only clothing industry professionals and press are welcome. With the rise of informal media coverage on blogs and social media, Pitti is today a #menswear bacchanalia of commerce, trend spotting, and peacocking, relentlessly documented by a phalanx of street style photographers. It’s become something to make fun of, which makes sense, because the clothing industry, like the tech or gaming industries or any other, feeds on hype and attention, and people do silly things to get that attention. It’s also emblematic of a retail cycle of constant buying and selling that can seem crass.

Especially to people who don’t make a living making or selling clothing, Pitti can seem decadent and ridiculous. But that doesn’t mean we should roll our eyes, shrug, and move on. It really is a menswear summit, where people from all over the world (ok; primarily the wealthy parts) and the clothing business mingle. Yes, people are trying to sell stuff, but in most cases they’re not just leaning on walls and exhaling coolly, they’re passionate about clothing, they have a vision, and they go in order to make it work. Pitti is where small manufacturers catch the eyes of retail buyers who can make or break their year. It’s where new brands take a gamble that buyers will pick up their lines, and they can survive to go home and start designing the next season. It’s where bloggers and start-up shops scour a fortezza-full of vendor booths for the next big thing. And it’s in spine-crushingly beautiful Florence, so those street style photos come out real nice.

Put This On doesn’t go to Florence for Pitti, because, as Jesse has said, we have jobs and live in the real world with normal people. But I’ll be checking in on coverage from a handful of sources:

(photo by Youngjun Koo)

-Pete

Why Pay for Canvas?

As many readers know, suit jackets and sport coats mainly come in three types of construction: fused, half-canvassed, and fully-canvassed. A fused jacket will have a lightweight fusible interlining sandwiched in-between the two outer shell fabrics, and a canvassed one will have a canvas made from animal hair (usually horse or camel) mixed with either cotton or wool. Generally speaking, canvassed jackets will cost considerably more than fused ones. So why pay for them?

Well, one of the reasons is that a canvassed jacket will have a lot more three-dimensional shape. Animal hair can be molded using steam, heat, and pressure, much like how a woman’s hair can be shaped using a hot curling iron. With that shape, you get a much more beautiful garment. 

Take a look above. The top most photo is of Alan See with his lovely wife at the menswear trade show Pitti Uomo. He’s seen here wearing a three-piece suit by Liverano & Liverano, a bespoke tailoring house in Florence, Italy. Notice how his lapel line “blooms” as it moves from the buttoning point to his shoulders? It has a “roll” to it, rather than being pressed flat against his chest. Similarly, just below him are JefferyD and MostExerent, both of which also have nice, shapely lapels that “roll” near their buttoning points.

To understand how this is achieved, look at the bottommost photo above (also taken from JefferyD). Moving from left to right, the first material is haircloth, which is made from wiry horsetail strands. This is used to add shape to the chest and shoulders (ever put on a Tom Ford suit and feel like you’re wearing a prosthetic chest? This is because he puts in a ton of haircloth into his suits). The second material is wrapped haircloth, which is a softer, more affordable alternative. Next, we have a wool canvas (the brown material) and a fusible (the black material). These are added on top of the haircloth and extend from the shoulders to the hem (the haircloth is only in the chest). Notice that the brown wool canvas has a natural roll to it while the black fusible is limp. This natural roll is what gives those lapels their “bloom.” 

Of course, this isn’t to say that fused garments aren’t worth buying. They’re considerably more affordable, which is nice if you’re on a budget or if your tastes are still developing. It can take a long, long time for your tastes to settle and for you to develop an eye for what truly fits and flatters you the most. It would be a shame if you had to make your mistakes on much more expensive garments. 

If you have the money, however, and you feel confident in your choices, canvassed garments can be much more handsome. And once you own some, know how to best preserve their shape (after all, that’s what you paid for). Make sure your jackets aren’t smashed against each other in your closet and use hangers with wide, flared out shoulders. Our advertiser The Hanger Project sells some really nice ones, but if you want something more affordable, check out Wooden Hangers USA. Also, stay away from bad dry cleaners, as they can really press the life out of your jackets’ lapels, shoulders, and chests. I ship my stuff to RAVE FabriCare, but you can look for someone more local. Finally, be careful with garment steamers, and don’t hang your jackets in the bathroom while taking a shower. Steam will take out the wrinkles, it’s true, but it’ll also take out the shape. If that ever happens, you can send your jacket to a place that gives a good handpressing. That should be done every once in a while anyway, just so your jackets can maintain their form. 

(Photos via NY Mag, JefferyD, and MostExerent)

Nine SPREZZY STYLES Predicted By Our Experts!
Put This On’s Ultimate Sure-Thing Guide to Pitti Uomo Accessories
Every year, the menswear cognoscenti converge on Florence, Italy for an orgiastic style gorge-a-thon called Pitti Uomo. They’re always certain to bring their finest “duds,” and it’s a great place to spot the hottest emerging trends.
But why follow trends when you can make them? We’re not going to Pitti Uomo this year, because we have jobs and live in the real world with normal people, but we came up with some great ideas for future Pitti accessory trends! Check them out,  and soon you’ll be the coolest guy at the trade show!
Crampons. Leave one strap undone, just like Gianni Agnelli would have, had he worn fashion-oriented mountaineering gear.
Swords. Sabres, foils, epees, scimitars, who gives a shit? Swords!
Underpants. But they’re orange and you wear them over your pants.
Hobo Hats.The kind where the top is flipping up like the lid of a can of beans. 
AquaSox. But you wear them as earrings.  (These should be orange.)
Ice Cream Tie. Neopolitan.
Cigarette Holders. Super-long ones. Like Cruella De Ville.
Dalmatian-Fur Jackets. Also like Cruella De Ville.
Tiaras. Because this is your day.
Pocket squares. But they’re made out of cocaine. Also, they’re orange.
(Photo via GQ)

Nine SPREZZY STYLES Predicted By Our Experts!

Put This On’s Ultimate Sure-Thing Guide to Pitti Uomo Accessories

Every year, the menswear cognoscenti converge on Florence, Italy for an orgiastic style gorge-a-thon called Pitti Uomo. They’re always certain to bring their finest “duds,” and it’s a great place to spot the hottest emerging trends.

But why follow trends when you can make them? We’re not going to Pitti Uomo this year, because we have jobs and live in the real world with normal people, but we came up with some great ideas for future Pitti accessory trends! Check them out,  and soon you’ll be the coolest guy at the trade show!

  • Crampons. Leave one strap undone, just like Gianni Agnelli would have, had he worn fashion-oriented mountaineering gear.
  • Swords. Sabres, foils, epees, scimitars, who gives a shit? Swords!
  • Underpants. But they’re orange and you wear them over your pants.
  • Hobo Hats.The kind where the top is flipping up like the lid of a can of beans.
  • AquaSox. But you wear them as earrings.  (These should be orange.)
  • Ice Cream Tie. Neopolitan.
  • Cigarette Holders. Super-long ones. Like Cruella De Ville.
  • Dalmatian-Fur Jackets. Also like Cruella De Ville.
  • Tiaras. Because this is your day.
  • Pocket squares. But they’re made out of cocaine. Also, they’re orange.

(Photo via GQ)

howtotalktogirlsatparties:

GQ Italy brings their own Pitti street style heat…

"Give me back your little brother’s blazer, young man! He’s graduating from middle school today!"
"But moooooooooommmmmmmm…. it’s Pitti Uooooooomooooooo…."
(In all seriousness: some lovely shots in here.)

howtotalktogirlsatparties:

GQ Italy brings their own Pitti street style heat…

"Give me back your little brother’s blazer, young man! He’s graduating from middle school today!"

"But moooooooooommmmmmmm…. it’s Pitti Uooooooomooooooo…."

(In all seriousness: some lovely shots in here.)

Photographer Tommy Ton is at Pitti Uomo, the menswear extravaganza in Florence, and is photographing some of the slickest men in the world for GQ. A lot of wonderful inspiration.

Photographer Tommy Ton is at Pitti Uomo, the menswear extravaganza in Florence, and is photographing some of the slickest men in the world for GQ. A lot of wonderful inspiration.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

inpicturesandwords:

Another display of great Italian fashion. Maybe it’s Lapo Elkann, or maybe it’s just that being Italian ultimately correlates to amazing style. 

We don’t do a lot of what not to do here, but this is a great example of what not to do.

Here’s a guy photographed at Pitti Uomo, the huge menswear expo in Italy.  He should know what he’s doing.  He’s certainly on-trend, as they say in the magazines, with his white pants and double-breasted blue blazer.  The only problem: he looks awful.

Why?  His jacket is so shrunken it’s straining against his body.  The almost self-parodic waist suppression has taken him from “strong shoulders and desirable man’s figure” to “woman wearing a corset,” and the short jacket has only emphasized that problem.  His buttons are straining to contain his midsection.  Maybe if he were emaciated he could pull off this look, but with a normal man’s body, he looks absurd.  Which is too bad, because he’s a handsome guy who looks to be pretty fit.

Remember that tailored clothing should make your body look better.  No trend is worth sacrificing a flattering shape.  The reason you alter a coat to fit you is not to see how tight you can make it; it’s to make it as flattering as possible.  This means it should make you look tall, athletic and healthy.  This should be informed by your real body - you don’t need big shoulderpads or a huge amount of structure to get there - but it should always flatter.  This looks like an advertisement for girdles.