arrow_drop_down edit plus-square save trash minus-square log-out upload-cloud file-text refresh-cw Title Text Hero Image Product Product Collection

Why Your Next Suit Might Not Be a Suit at All

We delve into the new season's approach to smart-casual separates.

While the season may call for a wider cut or a narrower lapel, the basic principles of suiting tend to remain the same: at minimum, a tailored jacket and trousers cut from the same cloth. 

But, of course, fashion loves nothing if not to break its own rules. At the most recent autumn winter shows several brands put forward an intriguing new notion: the ‘suit that isn't a suit at all’. Matching garments in a single fabric, yes, but nary a lapel nor roped shoulder in sight. Rather, these were two-pieces that riffed on the theme of workwear – such as the dropped-shoulder blousons with cargo pants on offer at Fendi and 3.1 Philip Lim, or the slim boiler-suit-style-shirt-and-trousers combinations shown at Jil Sander.

Others looked to streetwear for their ersatz suiting: Lemaire coupled a bomber jacket with matching wide-legged trousers, while What We Wear paired a Lagos-inspired printed set with fresh white Nike Air Max. 

The point of such endeavours? Experimentation's sake aside, the suit that isn't a suit provides a worthy solution to that age-old conundrum: the smart-casual dress code. A shirt or casual jacket with trousers made from the same fabric creates a similar feeling, with much less formality – as these pieces confirm – while very much retaining the sense that you made an effort and looked in the mirror before you left the house. 

 Pinstripe Casual

Pinstripes lost their rigidity at the AW19 shows, perhaps nowhere better than at Acne Studios. This brown wool-blend shirt can be worn tucked into trousers with smart leather boots, or open over a graphic tee with colourful sneakers.

Workwear Uniform

Nottingham-based brand Universal Works excels in a type of easy utility-wear that feels laid back but considered. This off-white cotton set is a shining example, which can be worn with a neutral T-shirt and sneakers all year round.

A Tailored Track

The shell suit gets serious in this Fendi reimagining, composed of a cotton twill coach jacket and razor-sharp trousers, both drenched in the house's tantalising double-F monogram.