Made to anti-fit, it’s time for the oversized suit again
The menswear edition of the Spring/Summer 2021 fashion weeks had baggy suits on display, but how likely is the trend to catch up in India?
Now that most of us are working from home, one might have thought that the suits in our wardrobe will gather mould till the pandemic is over. However, the recent editions of the Spring/Summer 2021 fashion weeks seem to suggest otherwise. The trend of the suit is far from dead, in fact this menswear staple has evolved and expanded.
While earlier it used to be slick and slim-fitted, the suit is now coming in softer constructions, with a more relaxed aesthetic, ranging from boxy to baggy. Sandeep Gonsalves, co-founder of the Mumbai-based menswear label Sarah & Sandeep, feels that this change was on the anvil, even before the pandemic. “A suit with a relaxed silhouette isn’t looked upon as formal wear. And a younger generation of suit-wearers have been dressing down a bit for work, provided they have had the concessions." The pandemic has further changed the game and accelerated the arrival of the baggy suit.
During the menswear editions of the Spring/Summer 2021 fashion weeks, a host of designers offered their reinterpretations of the suit. Ermenegildo Zegna used shirting fabrics for suits that looked larger than they actually were. Then there were Jacquemus suits with asymmetrical hemlines and a beachy look. Lanvin extended its jet-set travel style to its suits as well, with flared collars while E. Tautz paired suits with casual separates such as shorts.
Just like all trends, which are cyclical in nature, this one too harks back to the 1970s and 1980s when the so-called “power suit" was the rage. It was double-breasted, had large shoulders (but not drooping) and wider, peaked lapels. “But then the trend reversed in the 1990s and early 2000s, when the wearers wanted to look like supermodels, and showcase how fit they were. But today, once again people really like the “power" lapels because of the statement they make. The once change [from the 1970s] is that now people want these paired with comfort-led silhouettes," elaborates Gonsalves.
The double-breasted suit has been cast aside in favour of these anti-fit ones. The former used to make people feel constricted and uptight. “These days, people just leave the suit open, irrespective of whether they’re being paired with Athleisure trousers or sneakers. People have started incorporating other baggy garments for a unified feeling. It all flows together," he adds. The trend of down-playing such menswear classics has given birth to other informal styles as well, such as the belt-cinched suits or the shacket, also known as a shirt jacket.
However, even though the international runways have given the nod of approval to the baggy suit, in India, the conservative consumers will take some time to shift from the sleek fit to a more relaxed one.
He also points out that this change might vary from brand to brand and their unique consumer profile. “Our brand is known for an edgier aesthetic as opposed to a more classic one, and if the customers are open and receptive, they won’t mind these changes and suggestions," says Gonsalves.