Joe Ottaway reflects on the changing landscape of contemporary menswear in recent years, and, with our shopping habits evolving faster than ever owing to recent world events, recommends his wardrobe staples as we adjust to a post-lockdown world.
The world of men's tailoring and formalwear has changed drastically over recent years, with relaxed tailoring being both popular and relevant to a modern man's lifestyle. Despite being a great believer in not following trends or being dictated to by the so called “on trend moments” in a season, I can’t ignore the fact that the landscape of menswear is evolving to suit the needs of the modern day man, especially as we approach a post-lockdown period. But I also believe that more than 200 years of formalwear heritage can’t just disappear overnight. As we move into an era where sustainability is at the forefront of peoples shopping habits – influencing what, where and how much we spend on clothes – it is important, now more than ever, to look at investing in well-crafted garments that are timeless in style while providing the wearer with maximum versatility. Whether you are continuing to work from home, planning to go back to the office or looking to reschedule your holiday and social events that have been cancelled due to COVID-19, having some key go-to garments that can help you be ready for the new normal is so important. Here are my recommendations…
Made to Measure Shacket
Shacket, over shirt or shirt jacket – the beauty of this garment is that it provides versatility for its wearer, making it a staple piece for your wardrobe, whether it be for elevating your 'working from home' style or as a substitute for your classic blazer. The shacket transcends seasons. Pair it with a basic crew neck t-shirt for spring/summer, or why not opt for a shirt and tie or a roll neck for the autumn months. If you are preparing for any last minute holidays this summer or looking ahead to next summer, consider a linen/wool mix for a lighter weight shacket – the wool providing body and structure while the linen will keep you cool and make the garment breathable. Now is a great time to start preparing key garments for the colder months ahead. Add depth and texture to your winter wardrobe with a Harris tweed or wool herringbone shacket. However you choose to style it, the shacket will become a mainstay of your wardrobe and ensure you look on point 24/7.
Double Breasted Blazer
Be sure to keep that summer feeling alive with a double breasted blazer. Separates are becoming a cornerstone of a man’s wardrobe, and the addition of a Benson & Clegg made to measure blazer will be one of the best investments you can make. The styling options are endless and this one garment alone will be the anchor to bring a look together - pairing it simply with a block colour t-shirt or a white open collar shirt is the easiest way to look effortlessly stylish, and, more importantly, will ensure your look stands the test of time.
Arguably the ultimate must have, my preference would be a high waisted double pleated trouser in a classic drape. But remember – always dress to your body shape. The beauty of Benson & Clegg's London Bespoke is that it not only provides an opportunity to design and craft an item specifically for your body shape, but also to your lifestyle. And, with sustainability as important now more than ever, investing in London Bespoke will reduce the need to purchase a high volume of pieces – yes, having a bespoke garment does require an elevated budget, but it will enable you to curate a wardrobe built around quality, not quantity. I would recommend a wool mix trouser in a classic colour such as navy or charcoal, which can be styled with a pair of classic brogues or a pair of box fresh sneakers for a more contemporary relaxed feel.
By Joe Ottaway