Wear what Suits you

  • Business
  • Saturday, 29 Mar 2003


GENTLEMEN, your credibility may be at stake. Ladies, kindly turn the page. Today's highlight is about what's inside your man's closet. Lest you women think he is so vain and worries about how he looks, it is best you accord him some privacy. 

Now, gentlemen, you have all read about the suit’s comeback after the demise of casuals-at-work. But in what form has it made a comeback? 

Bryan Manning, founder of London’s Manning and Manning, Savile Row, London, is of the view that the world is still at single-breasted with three buttons in front, a trend set three to four years ago.  

But while you can still get away with that, the world has become so rapt with – yes, other than the war in Iraq –formality that it has gone to the other extreme; the double-breasted jacket with slanting pocket with flap.  

The double-breasted is about as formal as you can get, says Manning during a trip to Kuala Lumpur for a business tie-up. 

He says by winter, double-breasted will be back in London and most of the fashion capitals of the world.  

The colours in season right now, in London, are bright; deep purple, avocado green or some other darker shades of bright hues other than black or grey, all with some degree of metallic sheen.  

For the older gentleman, blue, grey or even green would be fine. Pin striped or chalk-striped would be nice. Linen is good in this hot humidity. 

For those who feel safer in grey, navy blue and blue, that's fine too. But for the sake of variation, you could try them with stripes. 

Here in Malaysia, the Italians have a greater foothold than the British, simply because the Italians' sales pitch seems to be more persuasive. But really, British suits have a certain understated elegance, with softer looking shoulders. Italian lines are classy to the last stitch. 

But how many suits does a corporate executive on the go really need? Manning suggests five to six suits, two sports jackets and one blazer (or one sports jacket and one blazer), three to four pairs of trousers and one tuxedo. But he's from London. So you could drop the tux if you wish. 

But go for quality. Even young people are buying expensive casuals. So where does that put the corporate high flyers? Wear a Brioni suit, a Zegna shirt and Gucci loafers along with Patek Philippe and you mark yourself as someone who knows the value of elegant design and workmanship. Incidentally, Brioni suits are all hand-stitched, from pocket to buttonholes, lapel to cuffs. 

Headquartered in Rome, Brioni makes ready-to-wear suits that retail at RM8,500 right up to whatever takes your fancy. You can even have them with gold-trimmed threads. The Brioni tailor comes once a year, likewise the Canali tailor. 

For the young male executive, if you are going to have only one change of suit, opt for one that is discreet, middle to dark grey, so that when you change your shirt and tie, you create a different picture.  

Generally, the suit should not scream for attention. That's what the tie and shirt are meant to do. 

Go for quality natural fibres that can “breath” in this hot weather and make sure the cut is good. Fabrics, cuts and even the way you tie your tie makes a statement about refinement. To be elegant is, after all, a matter of detail. 

As Manning says, it’s not so much chasing after fashion, but for the sake of credibility, you need to be stylish. Conversely, wearing khakis and a T shirt does not mean you're not worth a billion bucks. 

The women can join the party now.  

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