Using the right accessories brings the suit alive as a personal garment, and helps celebrate your distinct personality.
The one thing that we haven’t managed to change (and yet we evolve with every season) is the men’s suit. No other garment sees so much done to it which transforms it and yet helps it retain a certain basic common denominator of formality. In just one generation, we have seen single and double breasted suits come and go out of fashion, none to single and double vents, three to two and then down to single button suits, wide and narrow lapels, long and short lengths, fitted and relaxed silhouettes… come to think of it, few things have incorporated so much change and yet not morphed into an entirely new article altogether.
The latest craze to hit the suit rack is this: accessorising. It’s all about personalising the inanimate to bring it to life, about incorporating individuality into what has become repetitive and thus lacking in symbolism; the male suit today is all out to revive and celebrate the person who wears it. Here are a few quick changes to make your suit truly yours.
Pocket squares: Go crazy with them and always remember the cardinal rule: no matter how little you spend on them, it’s still too much. So, improvise. I have used the hems from my selvedge jeans, which were cut out to adjust for length as pocket squares. What’s your crazy idea?
Brooches: This is a new one, even for me. I have recently acquired all sorts of unusual paraphernalia (some from the brand Pero) which sits neatly on my lapel, inviting stares and even questions as to what it signifies – the perfect social ice breaker. Colourful brooches or ones shaped like animals are quite cool. Jewellery designer Gaurav Jagwani (under the brand Estilo) fashions metal brooches in the form of cats, spiders and other critters (in chrome) or sunflowers (in matte golden metal) which look classy yet cool.
Contrasted button-hole stitch: Working cuffs isn’t enough anymore, the aim is to incorporate an inordinate number of buttons on the cuff (one or five get the point across) and then to change the colour of the buttonhole, thereby showing an acute attention to detail.
Contrasted lining: This is mostly an extension of the above-mentioned technique, and one can match the thread and lining colour to create a very subtle yet classy effect. The lining of pockets too can repeat this fabric, thereby showing just how much time you have invested (wasted?) in getting your ideal suit jacket.
Buttons, patches: The small things that make up a jacket can all be easily personalised. One needn’t have a family crest to have personalised buttons, and elbow patches aren’t reserved for teachers any more. Also, they needn’t be only leather; contrasted herring-bone patterned tweed can do the job just as well.
Usually, all such gimmickry requires time and hence, it’s only the smaller brands or the personal tailors who cater to such whims and fancies, although Gucci will go all out, even with their prêt lines, to allow enough options to bring in a sense of your innate style through their DIY service. I’m sure other men’s brands, as they see the trends go, will hop on — adding and embellishing all in an effort to make you stand out, even as they let you fit in.