What’s the purpose in having your individual trumpet in case you can’t blow it from time to time? So let’s blast it out loud and clear; in the case of male’s model, the UK has at all times led the best way. And it’s achieved this by way of a timeless, and patented, mix of magnificence and eccentricity. As that celebrated iconoclast – and honorary Londoner – Oscar Wilde as soon as stated: “Be your self; everybody else is taken.”
Give it some thought; in different trend capitals – Milan, Paris, New York – the rule of thumb is to decorate like your friends, solely higher. In Britain, we like nothing greater than to take our unrivalled model heritage – from Savile Row tailoring to tweeds, tartans and paisleys – and subvert it.
From the dandies and the gents to the mods and the punks, from Ziggy Stardust to Tinie Tempah, British model has conquered the world by tweaking the classics. Premium menswear specialists Reiss is aware of extra about this than most; the model began virtually half a century in the past within the East Finish and nonetheless designs all its strains in London.
“We began off promoting fits, and we nonetheless have that formal basis, however we’ve steadily branched out into all areas of the trendy man’s wardrobe,” says Alex Area, Reiss’ menswear director. “British model has at all times been eclectic, however at this time the strains are much more blurred.” Amid these blurred strains, nevertheless, 4 attributes enduringly outline traditional British model, and we attempt every of them on for dimension beneath.
The British just about invented tailoring; Savile Row’s most venerable homes have been plying their commerce for, oh, 1 / 4 of a millennium or so.
What marks the British out from their European or American friends is their extra nonchalant angle to magnificence; sure, we’re simply as centered on minimize, material and element, however we’ll throw a number of curveballs by pairing an impeccably crafted double-breasted jacket with, say, a wool roll-neck or a white T-shirt.
Prince Charles is one in all Alex Area’s model icons, “as a result of, in fact, he’s extremely elegant and ever the gentleman, however it’s shot via with a person aptitude and a touch of eccentricity.”
Nonetheless, in an age the place even the likes of Goldman Sachs have adopted the dreaded “versatile costume code,” and Mark Zuckerberg solely forsakes his cashmere hoodie when he’s hauled shame-facedly earlier than Congress, fashionable concepts of magnificence have shifted considerably.
“A costume remains to be event put on, and there’s nonetheless nothing higher for feeling and looking out your finest,” says Area. “However at this time there are a lot of methods to make the costume much less ‘suit-y’ with out compromising on model, whether or not that’s chopping a slimmer silhouette or going for a softer development. I don’t assume British model has ever been about being brash or in-your-face; after I discuss ‘magnificence’ with the group at Reiss I believe it sums up a degree of understated tastefulness that’s a type of British hallmark.”
Bear in mind the denim onesie or the bondage trouser? British model is actually not afraid to go a little bit outre when the event calls for, however, as with all one of the best jazzmen, the occasional improvisation at all times returns to a rock-solid baseline.
As Cary Grant, who knew a factor or two about model (and was born Archie Leach in Bristol, lest we neglect) as soon as stated: “All it takes are a number of easy outfits. And there’s one secret – the less complicated the higher.”
Easy, nevertheless, ought to by no means be confused with plain. “For me, practicality is admittedly necessary,” says Alex Area. “Producing nice items that stand the check of time in a person’s wardrobe is our major focus at Reiss. Seasonal and trend objects are nice, however guys usually need to set up their core items first.”
For Area, these items would come with: “A white T-shirt in fact. A merino crew neck is a given. And, naturally, a well-cut navy blazer. For winter, our gross sales of roll neck knits have been wonderful. I imply, each man seems razor-sharp in a fine-gauge roll neck.”
And at this time, the British need to face out in all one of the best and subtlest methods fortunately coincides with the backlash towards quick trend. “With sustainability on the forefront of everybody’s thoughts, worth for cash and the lifeline of our product is vital,” says Area. “We wish folks to have the ability to depend on us for that.”
With costume codes in terminal freefall, the British genius for adaptability is within the ascendant. For a primary instance, Alex Area cites a person who places the “professional” in protean: Mr David Beckham.
“When the foundations are extra relaxed, you must comply with costume, and he’s at all times completely turned out for the event, from the blazer-and-tie combos at Wimbledon (when he’s enjoying the British gent) to the tattoos with T-shirts, leather-based biker jackets, and baker boy caps he wears when he’s with buddies.
“However he additionally mixes and matches in actually artistic methods. The important thing for many male at this time is to place collectively an outfit that works for the workplace after which out for a date, or with buddies to the pub. It needs to be thought-about, but additionally versatile.”
One answer, in keeping with Area, is one thing that the British male, going through the vicissitudes of a temperate local weather, has at all times been greater than adept at: layering.
“A wise coach with a slim-fit costume and gentle wool overcoat is fairly acceptable in most workplaces nowadays. But the layers will be peeled off after work and you possibly can be standing in a pub in a white T-shirt, slim-fit navy trousers, no socks and trainers, with out lacking a beat.” That’s one solution to bend the foundations like Beckham.
So far as British model is worried, consolation is the brand new rock ‘n’ roll. Or, at the very least, consolation achieved the stylish approach – that’s Damian Lewis’s soft-power hedge-funder Bobby Axelrod in Billions, along with his knitted blazers, chambray shirts and alpaca cardigans, relatively than Harry Enfield and Kathy Burke as Wayne and Waynetta Slob.
“You’ve bought to do consolation with out trying such as you’re carrying your Sunday hangover observe costume,” says Alex Area. “The profit for us is that Reiss advanced from a proper tailoring background, so all of the analysis in pattern-making and luxurious materials had already been achieved. The emphasis is on preserving the lustrous deal with and content material, however softening the wash and development of the items to make them extra versatile and simple to put on.”
This interprets right into a wardrobe that meets the very fashionable, always-on-call wants of those that discover that enterprise and leisure have gone into the blender to create a work-life smoothie.
“We’ve put stretch into our materials,” says Area, “elasticated the waistbands of formal trousers, softened the color palettes, and added linings or hybrid items that may be zipped out or added into coats to offer that feeling of ease – with out compromising on model.” As British model continues to evolve, Reiss evolves together with it: “You must know the foundations with a purpose to break them,” says Area. “That’s what British model is all about, and it’s one thing that Reiss is especially attuned to.”