Pitti Uomo is the the most important menswear trade show, held every six months in Florence, Italy. This January marked the 93rd edition with more 35,000 visitors in attendance. Our style correspondent Simon Skottowe visited the fair in search of new partners for his eponyomous shop. Here he reports on the most intriguing tendencies in men’s tailoring for the year ahead.
The Cut: The last decade or so seen men wearing their tailoring on the short and skinny side. While still many visitors were seen in too tight clothing, a growing number of attendees opted for a classic silhoutte, consisting of a longer jacket (covering, as it should, at the seat) and a slightly wider pair of trousers with a small break at the hem. While trends come and go, a well proportioned and comfortably looking suit will be always appropriate.
The Colour: According to the classic British tradition of men’s dressing, shades of brown are not acceptable in a city environment. This “rule” no longer seems so de rigueur these days, given the changes of dress codes around the world. In fact, brown tailoring was most prominent at Pitti this season, from overcoats to double breasted suits and tailored separates. A dark brown wool sportcoat is as much versatile as a navy one, just make sure to pair it with shirts and trousers in contrasting colours. That way you can make sure to avoid “grandpa” connotations.
The Fabric: Another British country classic, corduroy, is back with a vengeance. While I always had a sweet spot for this casual cotton fabric, it’s popularity rose to previously unprecedented heights this season. A great alternative to jeans, the fabric is easiest to pull off as a pair of trousers. However daring propositions like suits and overcoats were seen on a number of attendees. Italians prefer it in muted earth colors, while the British stick to the classic colourways like burgundy, bottle green and ochre.
The Pattern: Big, bold checks like windowpane or glen check still play a part, but small patterns were all the rage, for a change. Houndstooth, gingham or the gun club check, all work best as a sportcoat, giving the needed visual interest, while being discreet and subtle. Another clue of men’s fashion going into the direction of quiet sophistication instead of loud “peacock” styles.
The Fashion Item: Classically tailored or knitted for a fresh take, the waistcoat is now seen as a style statement. Either as a part of a three piece suit or worn on it’s own under a sportcoat, waistcoats are a stylish addition in any man’s wardrobe. Other than it’s visual credentials, when knitted in soft wool, the extra layer of warmth comes in particularly handy in the colder months.
The Jolly Joker: Another true menswear classic, the turtleneck is winning back it’s place in the modern man’s wardrobe. Comfortable and chic, it substitutes a shirt for a great effect. Depending on the thickness of the yarn and the style of the knit, the turtleneck is appropriate for a number of different occasions. From thin merino wool (great under a suit or jacket) to heavy, complex knits (think old fisherman style, wear it with a pair of dark denim) every imaginable style was present at the show.