Style / Fashion

Classic Men’s Style and the New Rules of Classic Elegance

There used to be a sartorial template of classic men’s style with singular flourishes, today, new rules of classic elegance dictate colours and textures

Aug 07, 2017 | By Jonathan Ho

if you haven’t yet noticed, it’s quite apparent that most men don’t dress like this anymore

It is my sad duty to inform you that other than on Suits, it’s obvious that classic men’s style is on the verge of extinction (an article to follow soon on this statement which sounds suspiciously like hyperbole but isn’t); that said, if you haven’t yet noticed, it’s quite apparent that most men don’t dress like this anymore. Officially, the barometer for classic men’s style points towards trends where the trending personal style radar tilts past the devil-may-care insouciance of classic Italian sprezzatura to a level of street style more appropriate described in street nomenclature of DGAF, translated: “Don’t Give A Fuck” style. From T-shirts with ties to loud prints, the old rules have been bent if not broken, but there are new rules of classic elegance which still allow a classic gentleman to endure and thrive a new era of style and dressing. Remember this maxim: Good quality and great taste will always survive tests of time (and trends).

Classic Men’s Style and the New Rules of Classic Elegance

It used to be that every gentleman followed a sartorial template of classic men’s style with room for singular flourishes (a pocket square folded differently or puffed forgetfully), a boutonniere here and there – it was as John William’s Star Wars symphony with recognisable leitmotifs and the familiar comfort of string’s of the Jedi’s theme or Yoda’s motif. Today, style is less Williams and more Hans Zimmer’s Dark Knight, jarring, discordant, rough but with oases of Batman’s theme – a point of sole familial comfort in otherwise attention dominating electro-string compositions. Men’s style today is less about fitting in and more about peacocking (without appearing to be).

Classic Men's Style and the New Rules of Classic Elegance - The Gucci Heritage jacquard suit from Gucci pre-fall 2017 is not quite your stuffy old suit but with traditional, tightly packed motifs, it bears a tonal quality approaching what one might wear classically 'cept that it's not. I'd advise on a different pair of shoes though

Classic Men’s Style and the New Rules of Classic Elegance – The Gucci Heritage jacquard suit from Gucci pre-fall 2017 is not quite your stuffy old suit but with traditional, tightly packed motifs, it bears a tonal quality approaching what one might wear classically ‘cept that it’s not. I’d advise on a different pair of shoes though

My recommendation? The Gucci Queercore brogue monk shoe: A double-strap monk style shoe mixes traditional brogue details with a punk aesthetic. Rounded studs and metal feline head embellish the front.

My recommendation? The Gucci Queercore brogue monk shoe: A double-strap monk style shoe mixes traditional brogue details with a punk aesthetic. Rounded studs and metal feline head embellish the front.

Men’s Style: The Balanced Look (punctuated with whimsical accessories)

Because you’re throwing down good money for men’s garments, the financial hawks that we are would prefer that you put money down on “investment grade” trend-proof pieces that would stand the test of time; to ease your transition (and gradual acceptance) into these new rules of elegance, we highly recommend Alessandro Michele’s Gucci Cruise 2017 collection – an eclectic but still very much English inspired collection of bags, accessories and suits but steroid enhanced in terms of colourways and motifs.

 

New rules of classic elegance dictate that one can get experimental with textures and colours without going the "full Ronald McDonald" - Here, Bally cotton jacket with wool sweater, cotton pants, leather belt and canvas sneakers - coincidentally, this is also a smart casual look

New rules of classic elegance dictate that one can get experimental with textures and colours without going the “full Ronald McDonald” – Here, Bally cotton jacket with wool sweater, cotton pants, leather belt and canvas sneakers – coincidentally, this is also a smart casual look

Playing with colour also means that that striking or even pastel colours transposed on masculine cut garments like this peacoat from Hermes serve to accentuate a classic gents bravado in the rainbow realm

Playing with colour also means that that striking or even pastel colours transposed on masculine cut garments like this peacoat from Hermes serve to accentuate a classic gents bravado in the rainbow realm

With the new rules of classic elegance, it might be time to re-look your travel accessories, starting with brave steps across the airport terminal toting the new Gucci Courrier GG Supreme suitcase. Travel continues to be a source of inspiration for Alessandro Michele. A collection of bags in the GG motif is enriched with a blend of contemporary embroideries-like the UFO-and vintage inspired details, including airmail trims. The appliqués are individually embroidered and then skillfully hand-applied to each piece by specialized artisans. This process ensures that no two items will be alike, giving each a one-of-a-kind appearance.

With the new rules of classic elegance, it might be time to re-look your travel accessories, starting with brave steps across the airport terminal toting the new Gucci Courrier GG Supreme suitcase. Travel continues to be a source of inspiration for Alessandro Michele. A collection of bags in the GG motif is enriched with a blend of contemporary embroideries-like the UFO-and vintage inspired details, including airmail trims. The appliqués are individually embroidered and then skillfully hand-applied to each piece by specialized artisans. This process ensures that no two items will be alike, giving each a one-of-a-kind appearance.

New classic mens style rules also mean going "vintage" - here, the new Longines Legend Diver ref. L3.674.4.50.6, equipped with the unique inner rotating bezel and Longines' L633 movement, now on "shark mesh" or milanese bracelet for a dressy or casual aesthetic depending on your ensemble.

New classic mens style rules also mean going “vintage” – here, the new Longines Legend Diver ref. L3.674.4.50.6, equipped with the unique inner rotating bezel and Longines’ L633 movement, now on “shark mesh” or milanese bracelet for a dressy or casual aesthetic depending on your ensemble.

Getting experimental with textures and colours

Sure, stick to the sombre staples of classic men’s style with a serious palette of blues, greys and browns but do punch things up a bit with bright patterns and motifs like those of Hermes, Bally and Gucci.

A Prada check cotton jacket or blazer with cotton pants pulls equal duty for a smart casual ensemble under the auspices of the new rules of classic elegance. To fulfil the "elegance" aspect of the bargain, I would probably go for something other than sandals.

A Prada check cotton jacket or blazer with cotton pants pulls equal duty for a smart casual ensemble under the auspices of the new rules of classic elegance. To fulfil the “elegance” aspect of the bargain, I would probably go for something other than sandals.

Following the same colour palette of the previous ensemble, I would suggest this pair of Dior Homme ankle sneakers by Kris Van Asche from the Spring 2017 collection - Prince of Wales check embossed grey leather covered with splotches of white or colour paint

Following the same colour palette of the previous ensemble, I would suggest this pair of Dior Homme ankle sneakers by Kris Van Asche from the Spring 2017 collection – Prince of Wales check embossed grey leather covered with splotches of white or colour paint

Alternatively, a Paul Smith wool suit with cotton shirt and Louis Vuitton canvas espadrilles also acquits itself as a dressy while casual ensemble

Alternatively, a Paul Smith wool suit with cotton shirt and Louis Vuitton canvas espadrilles also acquits itself as a dressy while casual ensemble

The new Men’s Smart Casual

The new rules of classic elegance also mean that with DGAF style, your casual weekend clothes can start beginning to pull their weight as parts of your weekday ensemble too. This revolution in classic style has given rise to streetwear which is now luxurious, sneakers which are now artisanal and leather jackets which are less for the motorcycle and more for the office – your weekend uniform now pulls double duty as weekday hallmarks of great sartorialism and stylish panache.

Here, this Prada cotton jacket - like the one Jude Law was wearing in the campaign visuals, is layered on a Prada wool vest, cotton shirt, pants, leather shoes and paired with their three tone leather shoes in brogues. The leather backpack is just icing on cake.

Here, this Prada cotton jacket – like the one Jude Law was wearing in the campaign visuals, is layered on a Prada wool vest, cotton shirt, pants, leather shoes and paired with their three tone leather shoes in brogues. The leather backpack is just icing on cake.

For an even more classic look, try these Jimmy Choo tassel loafers with dandy stripes and tassels

For an even more classic look, try these Jimmy Choo tassel loafers with dandy stripes and tassels

Luxuriously Old School

Fewer devotees to men’s classic styles also means an opportunity has risen to dominate a space in the fashion spectrum where plenty of men have vacated – time to embrace houndstooth patterns and checks again.

Special Thanks to sister publication Men’s Folio for shots and styling.

Image credits for Classic Men’s Style and the New Rules of Classic Elegance – Photography assistant – Alfie Pan, Styling assistant – Henry Boen Lim, Hair – Joanne Er/ Monsoon Salon Novena using Hatsuga, Grooming – Aaron Ng/ Decorum; Photography assistant – Marie Liang, Hair – Junz Loke/ Passion Salon, Grooming – Benedict Choo using YSL; Models – Stefan Fucina/ AVE, Xu Bin

 
Back to top