As you’ve probably noticed over the past 60 years, the borders of that little menswear town we call Tradsville is not wholly secure from outside influence. After all, the companies, large and small, that clothe us are in business to make a living.
While not full-blown Ivy royalty like Richard Press (grandson of Jacobi) nor self-made aristocrat like Charlie Davidson, Nick Hilton (son of Norman) is certainly a prince among trad clothiers. He’s also a talented court scribe, to continue the metaphor. Every so often he produces a piece of prose that must bear the lowly title of blog post, but the pieces are superbly written and occasionally contentious.
At the dawn of summer Hilton wrote a piece about the current state of menswear, saying it was reaching peak shrunkenness, or what he called “the apogee of small.” Since its posting Brooks Brothers has since announced it will discontinue the Thom Browne-designed Black Fleece collection, pleated pants are gradually returning to store shelves, and there is talk in the menswear media about looser, easier fit. Since fashion teeter-totters from drapey to trim, wide to narrow, it follows the laws of nature that we are witnessing the twilight of the shrunken suit and will soon begin returning in the direction of the image above, which Hilton used to accompany his piece.
Originally they called it “natural shoulder” tailoring. The Yankee sweater-sleeve slope is, after all, perfect for sport jackets. The soft, unpadded tailoring gives a feeling and look of sportswear and follows the soft drape of the tweed. In fact the shape derives from the cloth. By the mid-70s the “updated” natural shoulder style of Polo, Arthur Richards and such lines had reduced the chest and waist of the soft-shoulder jackets so much that they became literally uncomfortable; sort of like what the trendy dudes are putting on these days.
Hilton concludes by saying that the next big thing is bigness itself — relatively speaking, that is. Head over here for the full story, and prepare to get comfortable. — CC