Tailored clothing for the last fifteen years has trended towards the skinny and narrow. Part of this is a reaction to the baggy Italian suits of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and part of it is a re-introduction of a certain 1960s look – a look that combined slim suits with narrow ties, which were designed to be worn alongside furniture pieces that felt equally modern and austere.
On the right guy, that kind of slim, razor-sharp silhouette can look very striking (I’ve always liked it on Sammy Davis Jr). It does have a tendency to choke the life out of fabric though. When clothes are that narrow and slim, there’s often not enough material for the fabric to express itself. Slim down the suit, and all the other elements have to shrink proportionally – the tie, the lapels, and (in recent times) the shirt collar. So much so that they typically lay a bit flat.
One of the nice things about a slightly fuller suit is that you can bring these details back out again. If the tailoring has been done well, a fuller lapel will have a nicer roll, a bigger collar will have a bit more life, and an equally proportioned tie will look a little more elegant. If you think fuller proportions means something will just look baggy, remember: jackets, collars, and ties all have interlinings. If the clothes have been made well, those interlinings will give your clothes shape.
Pictured above: a handsome, fuller-proportioned jacket, tie, and (half hidden) collar from Ethan Newton’s Instagram (here’s another great example). Slim suits can look very modern, but they also feel very cold. If you widen things out a bit, and let the fabric express itself, things can feel warm again.