The menswear industry has finally recognized that while a gentleman may be out of the office, it doesn't mean that he is not working. Whatever the individual's profession, he is still a representative of the image and brand. That’s why, for Spring/Summer 2018, the soft jacket with a business casual shirt or custom casual dress shirt are must-have pieces.
Sportswear and tailored clothing
Since the late 1990s, when corporate North America moved to casual Fridays and the ideology manifested into casual everyday, the approach to being well-turned-out has become quite lazy. In recent years, designers, clothing manufacturers, brand labels and suppliers have been keenly interested to define a more inspirational, aspirational and appropriate approach to dressing. It includes all aspects of a man’s closet: business tailored, business casual, leisure and weekend wear. This new approach combines sportswear and tailored clothing.
The soft sports jacket
The most important item within the sportswear/tailored clothing arena is the soft (sometimes referred to as “deconstructed”) sports jacket, i.e., a soft fabric shell with minimal or no canvas lining or padding. The Italians have been crafting these exquisite garments in luxury fabrics―think Boglioli, Canali, Zegna―for two decades. However, the deconstructed sports jacket has taken awhile to gain an understanding in the North American marketplace. Increasingly, there is a much greater appreciation of the versatility, practicality and fashion quotient of this menswear staple.
The new shirts
With the evolved approach, men have become more adept on how to break up aspects of their wardrobe and wear pieces as sportswear. The incorporation of knitwear, business casual shirts and custom casual dress shirts has become important. In fact, business casual shirts for men are currently featuring a burst of fresh color palettes, fun and whimsical patterns, along with heritage looks, and innovative blending of new technical fabrics with traditional cottons, linens and (Viyella) wools. Paisley and modern floral patterns in a multitude of both conservative and bold color schemes have emerged in both men's custom dress shirts and business casual shirts to complement the contemporary sensibility.
The only acceptable office wear?
Clearly, gone are the simple days when the only acceptable office wear was a full, pressed suit paired with a shiny black lace-up shoe. The new menswear approach mixes a button-up men's custom dress shirt or a business casual shirt, without a tie, under a blazer or jacket. The look is incredibly sleek. Buttoning the shirt all the way, or leaving one or two buttons undone at the top, makes for a very masculine, understatedly elegant appearance.
Colour and patterns
The new color palettes and patterns, particularly featured in men's custom dress shirts, allows the modern man to explore and improve his color scheme. Rather than appearing like a “corporate drone" in khaki trousers and a white or blue shirt, such pastel colors as lavender and dusty rose, or bold, intense ultramarine, tangerine and sunflower, heighten flexibility in coordinating with a variety of trousers and jackets.
Add a layer
It’s also important to note mixing sportswear with tailored clothing has solved a huge fashion challenge for men: notably, the T-shirt/jeans or business casual shirt/khakis combo. This look is complete at a single glance; there is nothing to hold this visual. But layering a jacket with a stylish business casual shirt makes for a more compelling and complex appearance. Since there's more to take in, one's eyes linger longer. Mixing and layering also provides the practical benefits of changing the look on the go. Keep the jacket on, or shed a layer when the circumstance requires for the man in or out of the office.