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FASHION

Strong suits

From expanding proportions to novelty patterns, Jeremy Freed breaks down fall's fresh takes on tailoring

Illustrations by Ted Belton

At Lemaire, bulked up suiting is the perfect pairing for fine knits

After a solid decade of tapered trousers and body-hugging suit jackets, the men's-wear pendulum is swinging back towards roomier silhouettes. For those who recall Richard Gere in 1980's American Gigolo, the suiting will be familiar for its broad shoulders, wide lapels and statement-making double-breasted cuts. A peak-lapelled jacket from Lemaire works well as a statement piece over a soft turtleneck, while the proportions of Giorgio Armani's new wide-cut suits look as powerful now as when Gere sported them strutting down Rodeo Drive.


Gosha Rubchinskiy creates knit neckties that are four-season fashionable

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While classic mid-century suiting is going the way of the three-martini lunch, knit neckwear is holding fast thanks to modern treatments from designers Gosha Rubchinskiy and Brunello Cucinelli. Defined by its knobbly texture and squared-off end, the knit tie is a diverse bit of neckwear that can look as good with a midnight blue power suit as a tweed sport coat. "I think an elegant man should never be too serious," says Cucinelli, who pairs the tie with a leather jacket and tweed trousers.


As Boss suggests, the best suit to break up includes pleated trousers

As influences from sportswear and 1990s culture collide, it's no wonder that pleats – long the scourge of men who could barely be convinced out of them 20 years ago – have reappeared. While pleats suffer from their association with billowy trousers pooled around square-toed shoes, they can be flattering. At Ralph Lauren and J.Crew, pleats look at home as part of slim tweed suits, while Emporio Armani and Boss cut their pants wider, pairing them with tuxedo jackets and wool sweaters.


Combine plaids and checks like the pros at Paul Smith

While plaid has equally strong ties with Scottish highlanders and craft-brew-drinking hipsters, it actually dates back to the dawn of civilization, with examples found in Western China from 2000 BC. Despite its ancient roots, designers are still finding new ways to wear this perennially popular weave. Paul Smith, ever the whimsical interpreter of classic British tailoring, provided fall's freshest take by combining a double-breasted tartan suit jacket with contrasting windowpane trousers and a pale plaid shirt.


With every hem length available, Dries Van Noten makes the case for cropped

While the classic rules of suiting dictate that a man's pants should terminate at the tops of his shoes with just the hint of a wrinkle, the most stylish new suits dispense with such thinking. At Dries Van Noten, JW Anderson and Jil Sander, high hems reveal low-cut boots, bare ankles or solid coloured socks. "A minimal break is still perfectly fine, but too much break can ruin an entire outfit," says Milan-based designer Christopher Bates, whose fall collection featured many an abbreviated trouser.

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