A streamlined navy Italian wool jacket ($512) and coordinating trousers ($272) form a style called the Ludlow suit. A navy, gingham-spread collar dress shirt ($158) and a wool hopsack tie ($91.50, all from J.Crew, jcrew.com) complete a sharply suited look. (Supplied)
Although the release of The Great Gatsby movie, which was slated to debut this season, has been pushed ahead to 2013, its influence on the return to polished menswear classics is already here.
“We see The Great Gatsby as signalling a move away from the mid-century inspiration that’s been so prevalent in menswear the last few seasons … double-breasted jackets and pleated trouser are making a strong comeback and we view Gatsby as an influencer for design inspiration from an earlier era,” says Glen Hoffs, the men’s fashion director at Brooks Brothers in New York.
“Guys are definitely paying more attention to the garments and the details, down to the fabric, stitches and buttons. There’s a more polished look in general … guys are interested in quality and it's super important to them to buy pieces that they’ll have for a long time,” says Frank Muytjens, the head of men’s design at J. Crew in New York.
Along with double-breasted jackets, pleated trousers, crew and V-neck sweaters, there’s vested interest in suits and more.
Crisp white shirts and classic grey suits are on the books and few looks are complete without fancy furnishings like ties, pocket squares and cufflinks.
“The double-breasted jacket makes a comeback as a full suit or soft jacket worn layered over a vest with denim. Sweater jackets that are tailored in appearance, but with the softness and relaxedness of a sweater are also an important look,” says John Varvatos, a New York-based fashion designer known for his edgy style.
“We’ve seen a worldwide sartorial revolution, with the jacket being reduced to its most minimal … unconstructed and almost completely unlined with a natural shoulder and no padding,” says Hoffs.
Along with sweater coats, casual shirts, vests, crew and V-necked sweaters layer with classic coats.
“Wear classic coats with great Fair Isle, Shetland and cashmere sweaters. We have many amazing colours in cashmere sweaters and hats and scarves which are great ways to add colour to your coat,” says Muytjens.
“The coat is the big item for this season, whether it’s worn over a suit or paired with jeans and boots … and in some cases a scarf can replace a tie,” says Varvatos.
Flowing scarves casually draped around one’s neck might be said to offer a modern parallel with Gatsby era ascot ties.
Navy pea coats chart a classic course in wool and take a modern turn in corduroy.
Also topping the outerwear agenda are single and double breasted, belted variations on the camel hair “Polo” wrap coats that British polo players tossed on to keep warm between chukkers or periods of play.
“Brooks Brothers introduced the Polo Coat into America from England around 1910 and we’re offering it in several variations this fall,” says Hoffs.