There was a time when casual clothing was relegated to a single day of the work week—Friday—and suits dominated the rest. Today’s millennials have given rise to the laid-back swagger of streetwear paired with the workout clothes-as-everyday attire trend of athleisure, which means you’re as likely to see gym shorts at the office as the gym. Meanwhile startup culture has turned the hoodie into the new formal wear.
Which raises the questions: Who needs a suit?
Much hand-wringing has been done over the death of your tried-and-true tailored two-piece, but don’t prepare the eulogy quite yet. Just look to the spring collection of British designer Paul Smith, which was filled with traditional suiting in colours ranging from saturated and rich to vibrant to squint-inducing. There was royal violet, traffic-cone orange, and neon yellow—often layered over exuberant floral printed shirts for added oomph.
Smith knows he’s going against the current current. “I’m very aware people are dressing in an increasingly casual way, and the influence of sportswear is finding its way onto the catwalk and into fashion,” Smith said. “But tailoring really is at the heart of Paul Smith.” He slyly added: “I wear a suit every single day.”
Smith said that his spring collection—now trickling into stores—was meant to convey a “sense of escapism and optimism,” serving as a “respite from all the madness going on in the world at the moment.” The core of the collection is a two-piece suit in the relaxed silhouettes that are currently favored. “For most days and most purposes, a more classic navy suit is probably most suitable, but for the right occasion, a more adventurous option might be worth considering,” the designer says.