Gianni Agnelli in a soft tailored suit

Richest man in modern Italian history, Gianni Agnelli in a soft tailored suit | Source: El Aristocratica

Soft Tailoring is Breaking the Mould of Men’s Formalwear

When it comes to men’s tailoring, the scope for creativity and variation of pieces used in an outfit are more limited than the wide variety of shapes, colours and silhouettes that women tend to wear. Most men’s tailored suits and corporate attire follow a set formula that is rarely deviated from.

Fortunately, the more diverse and comfortable fashion trend of ‘soft tailoring’ is making a big return right in time, as we leave our work-from-home attire behind and return to the office.

A clothing design philosophy that espouses less padding and silhouette-enhancing techniques, ‘soft tailoring’ favours the natural silhouette of the wearer.

This relaxed style is loved by those with a more carefree fashion sense who still need to be dressed in fine clothing of the highest quality.

Savile Row in London is one of the birthplaces of the trend. Dutch tailor Frederick Scholte famously outfitted the fashionable Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor in an “English Drape” style in the 1920s, leading to the proliferation of soft tailoring techniques, particularly in Naples, Italy.

The soft tailoring techniques of Savile Row, London
Source: Keikari

The English Drape is designed to feel roomier, almost as though the jacket is hovering around you. The chest seems a lot more sculpted and the shoulder line is much straighter.

Depending on how you want the jacket cut, the shoulder can be extended a little further without the collapsing seen in older jackets. The aim of the English Drape is a V-shaped silhouette, without the barrel-chested profile of a traditional business suit.

Most tailored businesswear uses three layers of material in the jacket; the canvas or fusible, a chest piece made from haircloth or wrapped haircloth and a layer of “domette”, which is a fluffy material used to prevent the wiry horsehair from poking through the jacket.

The scope for customisation with soft tailoring is fairly broad. Some jackets are missing shoulder pads, for example, so they have extra domette that runs up around the neckline or some have a lighter chest piece giving it a more natural silhouette.

The soft tailoring fashion trend is a reaction to the oversized silhouettes seen in the distinct shapes and styles of The Row, Beare Park and Tom Ford, and challenges the designer to embrace the natural lines and proportions of the human form. When done right, soft tailoring achieves a sophisticated yet carefree and casual look.

Soft tailored jackets are easy to integrate into your personal style and cast a unique, timelessly laid-back silhouette by combining English Drape-inspired tailoring with comfortable, airy trousers and high-quality footwear.

Here are some soft tailor style pieces that would make good additions to your wardrobe.

Shirts and jackets

Soft tailoring is all about the feel of the material and incorporating a luxuriously comfortable garment to the wearers natural silhouette. The result is a natural look that accentuates the wearers form and puts a casual spin on traditionally (read: stuffy) formal attire.

These are some shirts and jackets that will compliment a soft tailoring styled outfit and cast the right silhouette for the wearer to look sophisticated, yet at ease.

Boglioli Navy Blue Luxury Lightweight Cashmere K-Jacket, A$4486 | Source: Boglioli

Pants

Whether you decide to match your lower half with your upper half or let them offset your jacket or footwear, the pants worn as part of a soft tailored outfit are an important feature.

Modern interpretations of the soft tailored style make use of elastic and drawstrings to maximise comfort and practicality.

Loafers

Think buttery-soft leather or suede, soft tailored style loafers are made for a casual gathering in a comfortable setting and are just as good tiptoeing around the house as they are lounging at the wine bar with friends.

These loafers make a very handsome addition to an outfit. As soft tailoring is more casual than formalwear but still uses the finest materials available, these pairs of loafers will provide you with maximum comfort while providing a stylish accompaniment to the rest of your look. Or you can opt for these other fashion-forward, yet comfortable, footwear options: Loafers, Sneakers and Slides: The Complete Guide to Men’s Casual Shoes for Every Occasion.

Christian Louboutin Dandelion Leather Loafers, A$1080 | Source: Sense
Christian Louboutin Black Officialito Loafers, A$1275 | Source: Sense

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