We haven’t seen much of Colin Firth since his meteoric King’s Speech-era run, when he left red carpets and Oscar acceptance podiums in his Tom Ford-fueled wake. And then he showed up this week at the premiere of his new film, Gambit, looking like he hadn’t missed a beat. We’ll assume this three-piece was another Tom Ford joint, which Firth lends his quintessential British unassuming-dandy-ness to perfectly. The whole thing is harder to pull off than he makes it look—especially the peak lapels—but he does it by keeping it simple in the tie and shirt department. And having some American-born arm candy doesn’t hurt either.
Any time a man’s pulling off a bootlegger suit on a weekly basis, we figure there’s a lot we can learn. We caught up with Michael Pitt at Wednesday night’s Tonight We Tanqueray event in Brooklyn, where he weighed in on his history with grunge, 20s haircuts and the curative effects of the three-piece suit.
The fashion world is usually focused on the slim-fit set, so we thought we’d take a minute to celebrate the bulkier gentlemen of the blogosphere. As you might expect, the rules are a little different. Instead of darted shirts, we’re thinking three-piece suits, double-breasted jackets and flannel. Mr. Gleason, take it away…
It’s a time-tested rule: designers have all the fun.
Take Zac Posen’s latest three-piece as your first example, spotted at the Belvedere Bloody Mary launch. It’s the kind of outsized elegance most gentlemen don’t dare attempt, but all it takes is a good tailor and a knack for details. Our favorite touch might be the shawl-collar on his waistcoat, a trick you usually see on gentleman twice his age and double his belt size. Throw in a knit tie to complete the blue-and-gray spectrum, and he’s ready for the hall of fame.
The banker’s collar isn’t exactly on-trend—but when you’re wearing this kind of getup, you’re allowed to blaze a few trails. After this, we might have to break our own out of storage.
Hyden Yoo has been a New York boutique mainstay for some time, but after seeing his Spring/Summer ’09 collection, we’re ready for him to jump into the world of department store pop-ups and fast-fashion collaborations.
Between this angular three-piece and the asymmetrical cardigan after the jump, he’s earned a much higher profile than he has. Our only complaint is the Keffiyeh-esque scarf. It may be time to give that one back to the Palestinians.
Here we have the latest convert to the cult of Tom Ford, - the fellow affectionately known the world over as “Becks”. Mr. Beckham obviously did some research into what the well-dressed MOTH is wearing, and wisely opted to adorn himself likewise. At a fragrance launch the other day he sported a three-piece, single-breasted, peak lapel sand and ochre stripe, silk and wool homespun check “Buckingham” model suit with a ticket pocket, white shirt, brown silk tie and brown calfskin wingtips all from Mr. Ford's atelier.
The three-piece suit can be hard to pull off without looking like Boss Tweed, but if you pull it off well—like this patterned gentleman—you’re in memorable territory. In style as in all things, fortune favors the brave. The trick here is matching the suit to the narrow plaid in the shirt, then setting the whole ensemble off with a diagonally thick-striped tie. They even tuck in the tie as a victory lap. Trust us, the GQ kids are drooling.
The suit comes courtesy of Alabama’s Billy Reid, which explains the southern flavor. It’s not a look that New York or Los Angeles have seen very much of. They tend to be more focused on Milan or Tokyo than Savannah, but it’s a shame.
As for the model, he might be preening, but he’s got reason to.
A few months ago we appealed to *Vanity Fair* editor Graydon Carter—in an avuncular fashion—to discard the double-breasted suits which added an unflattering layer to his majestic midsection; the wrong kind of camouflage, if you will.
Out of all the Hollywood heavies stalking the red carpet at the 14th Annual SAG Awards the other night, bearded Canuck Ryan Gosling stood out for his superlative sartoriality.
Gosling, a Chet Baker fan and accomplished jazz guitarist in his own right, sported one of those signature Tom Ford single-breasted, peak-lapel three-piece suits we've been musing on lately, in a new incarnation. His was a steel-hued silk and linen herringbone number with oversized patch pockets, worn with a white-collared tan and gray checked shirt and black leather shoes also from Ford's closet. Adorning his lapel was a special tribute to unfortunate pal Heath Ledger in the form of a black ribbon designed by his sister Mandi, Gosling's date for the evening.
The *New York Times* may feel no affection for it, but Brad Pitt seems solidly behind the three-piece suit surge judging by what he wore to the 13th Annual Critics' Choice Awards in L.A. the other night. Of course there are two mitigating factors: a) he's *Brad Pitt*, and b) his threads are by Tom Ford.
Just as designers and the likes of *GQ* try to convince men to get back into three-piece suits this season, the trend-happy *New York Times* Styles section is taking the contrarian route, advising readers to forego the whole hog and simply sport the vest.
Note to *GQ* readers: think twice before following the advice on three-piece suits in the January issue too closely. While we're all for the return of vested interests, proper tailoring is absolutely essential when it comes to adding the extra element. You do not want your shirt and tie peeking out between the vest and trousers, and nor should your waistband be on public view, as has happened to *GQ*'s unfortunate model pictured here. Without a smooth, uninterrupted vest-to-trouser transition, “the entire elegance of a three-piece suit is destroyed,” as the great Alan Flusser notes. For this reason, low-slung pants, as on display in *GQ*, do not work on a three-piece, and belt loops have no place here either; side tabs are preferable, and braces are of course the classic choice.