In the Northern Hemisphere, spring has arrived! We can finally enjoy longer days and warmer weather. Spring is symbolic of rebirth and renewal. This is the perfect time to elevate your spring style to new levels. Our style expert will help show you the ins and outs of spring fashion and pretty soon you will have strangers complimenting you on your new, elegant look.
Alright folks. So I know that some of you readers out there are thinking that the same clothes are worn in spring time and summer. Hold your horses. Allow me to share with you certain guidelines to look your absolute best in spring. Spring wear is more casual than both winter and fall wear and it is more formal than summer wear. These are my recommendations for what to wear this spring.
Ah, the perennial polo. This type of shirt is all-around, and can be worn on any occasion. Not too formal for going out and not too casual for the workplace. The Ralph Lauren Corporation has a monopoly on “polo shirts” for obvious reasons, but there are other companies that are well known such as Lacoste and Brooks Brothers. If these are too high priced for your budget, you can easily find them on discount across the web. You can even find some nice polo’s on the clearance rack at Marshalls or T.J. Maxx. If there’s one rule of thumb you should follow it is this: never pay full price for clothing, especially a polo.
Our Recommendations: Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, Brooks Brothers, Jos. A. Bank.
What to wear with: Historically polo’s were worn on the tennis court, polo field, and golf range but nowadays, they can also be worn with virtually any type of clothing. In my opinion, they do not go as well with jeans, so I prefer to wear chinos or shorts when wearing a polo.
The best thing about button down shirts is that they can be paired with any type of clothing. Button your shirt up and wear a tie for a more formal look. If you want to dress up yet still appear somewhat casual leave the top button loose.
Our Recommendations: Ralph Lauren, Guess, Affliction, Ed Hardy, IZOD, Thomas Pink, Gap.
What to wear with: Dress shirts can be worn with anything. The benefit to wearing them is that they give your outfit a more formal look. Wearing a tie will increase the formality.
Spring is one of the best time to wear a blazer. Blazers can be worn over t-shirts or a button-down to make your outfit look dressier. One example of an attractive outfit, is pairing a blazer with a V-neck and shorts. The possibilities are endless.
Our Recommendations: Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole, Guess
What to wear with: You can let your imagination run wild, because anything is possible with a blazer. Blazers tend to be a bit formal, but you can wear them with things such as jeans, chinos, or shorts. It really depends on the occasion you’re wearing a blazer to.
T-shirts are now universal across the entire world, and across all cultures. T-shirts are now one of the most common types of clothing. Still, there are ways to wear a T-shirt that will make you look like a cut above the rest. There are good t-shirts and there are bad t-shirts. Bad t-shirts would be those which are loose fitting. A well-fitting t-shirt can make the difference between being a well-dressed man and just being dressed.
Our Recommendations: Lacoste, Burberry, Tommy Bahama, Obey, Enjoi, Ralph Lauren.
What to wear with: T-shirts are strictly casual. So don’t wear it to your next board meeting, ok?
A good pair of jeans is a timeless classic. Nowadays, there are so many different variations on good old American denim jeans, that someone would be foolish not to own a pair. Make sure your jeans fit well and don’t sag. Jeans can quickly make you look sloppy if you don’t wear them right.
Our Recommendations: Diesel, Levis, Ralph Lauren
What to wear with: Jeans are casual wear for the vast majority of the time, but if you put a blazer on top of it, it can seem more formal while still being casual.
Warmer weather means shorts. Spring means brighter and lighter colors. That means, it’s the right time to have brighter and lighter shorts. Don’t be afraid to go for salmon colored shorts or even light green colored shorts. Any type of short color that falls outside the khaki paradigm is fair game… As long as it matches up with the rest of your outfit, of course.
Our recommendations: Volcom, Tommy Bahama, Vineyard Vines, Ralph Lauren
What to wear with: Shorts can be worn with almost anything, however, they are casual.
Chino pants are a year round staple. There’s no excuse to not rock these, unless you’re a jeans type of guy. Again, don’t be afraid to spring for the odd colors.
Our recommendations: Ralph Lauren, Converse, Frank and Oak, Gap, Old Navy
One could go without accessories. However, jewelry such as watches and bracelets can take you to the next level. Your outfit can go from good to super, with just one or two small pieces of jewelry. You will come off as more elegant and refined, compared to those who choose not to accentuate their look.
Watches: Michael Kors, Fossil
Bracelets: Ralph Lauren
There is not much else to say. You may have noticed that Ralph Lauren was mentioned throughout this article. The reason is because they are unmatched in this niche, and are leaders in the market for these types of clothes.
Now that you have this knowledge, go out and see if you can’t put these new tips to good use. You may be surprised to notice the men you encounter on a daily basis giving you more respect, as well as increased appreciation from women. Put your best foot forward in the season of revival.
The modern Chinese tunic suit is a style of suit traditionally known in China as the Zhongshan suit (simplified Chinese: 中山装; traditional Chinese: 中山裝; pinyin: Zhōngshān zhuāng,Zhongshan fu) named after Sun Zhōngshān (孫中山). In the West, it is known as the Mao suit, named after Mao Zedong who popularized the style. Both terms are interchangeable, however we will be referring to the style as the Mao suit throughout this article. The Mao suit is the Chinese version of a Western business suit. The name “Mao suit” comes from Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s fondness for wearing them in public, so that the suit became closely associated with him and with Chinese communism in general in the Western imagination. He founded a country, promulgated an ideology and fostered a zealous personality cult whose members terrorized all of China, so it’s only to be expected that Mao Zedong would start a fashion trend too.
When the Republic of China was founded in 1912, the style of dress worn in China was based on Manchu dress (qipao and changshan), which had been imposed by the Qing Dynasty as a form of social control. The actions of the majority-Han Chinese revolutionaries who overthrew the Qing were fueled due to the failure of the Qing to defend China against western imperialists and the low standing of the Qing in terms of technology and science compared to the West. Even before the founding of the Republic, older forms of Chinese dress were becoming unpopular among the elite and led to the development of Chinese dress which combined the changshan and the Western hat to form a new dress. The Mao suit is a similar development which combined Western and Eastern fashions.
The Mao suit was an attempt to satisfy modern tastes and needs without adopting Western styles outright. Dr. Sun Zhōngshān (孫中山) was personally involved in the process. He provided inputs based on his life experience in Japan. The Japanese school uniform, Gakuran, became the basis for the Mao suit. There were other modifications as well. Instead of the three hidden pockets in Western suits, the Mao suit had four outside pockets to adhere to Chinese concepts of balance and symmetry as well as an inside pocket. Over time, minor stylistic changes developed. The suit originally had seven buttons, later reduced to five.
During the first decade of the People’s Republic of China (1949-59) the Soviet Union exerted a considerable influence on Chinese economics, industry, art, education, and culture. Russian experts were invited into universities and colleges to teach students. Soviet artists also taught at the influential Central Academy of Fine Art in Peking, training artists in Socialist realist painting techniques. Russian language, Marxism and Leninism were compulsory subjects. During this period, Russian language skills improved a person’s social standing in Chinese society. The Soviets had an influence on Chinese dress, resulting in early Communist Party members adopting the Mao suit as a mark of joining the Nationalist Party, and as a wider Communist solidarity. Asian Marxist movements and governments henceforth would all consider this suit as a standard of political affiliation with Communism.
Who Designed the Mao Suit?
Despite its modern-day name, the roots of the Mao suit can be traced back to Sun Zhōngshān (孫中山) and the Nationalist government. Dr. Sun Zhōngshān (孫中山), known as the father of modern China, wanted to create a national dress. Sun Zhōngshān (孫中山) advocated wearing functional clothes. The suit was developed by Sun Zhongshan, and popularized by Mao Zedong, who would often wear it in public. Mao encouraged Chinese citizens to wear the suit. In an attempt to find a style of clothing that suited modern sensibilities without completely adopting western styles, Sun Zhōngshān (孫中山) developed a suit that combined aspects of military uniforms, student uniforms, and western-style suits. In the late 1920s civil servants of the Nationalist government were required by regulation to wear the suit which would later be called the Mao suit. Sun Zhōngshān (孫中山, 1866-1925), the Provisional President of the new Chinese Republic proclaimed in 1911, is credited with the modernisation of Chinese men’s clothing. It is said that he instructed Huang Longsheng, a Western-style tailor from Zhejiang Province, to design a suit based on one commonly worn by Chinese men in Japan and south-east Asia. The early form of Sun Zhōngshān’s (孫中山) suit had a closed, standing collar and center-front buttons. The design of Sun Zhōngshān’s (孫中山) suit changed significantly over the course of some 50 years. A major and lasting change to the design of Sun Zhōngshān’s (孫中山) suit was the incorporation of characteristics of various European military uniforms, including a turndown collar and four symmetrically placed pockets. Over time small stylistic changes were made to the design of the suit.
It is the later style of Sun Zhōngshān’s (孫中山) suit which was further modified and adopted as China’s national dress by Mao Zedong after 1949. During his 30-year reign as China’s Chairman and national hero, Mao regularly appeared in a proletarian four-pocket jacket as a counterpoint to the Western business suit. By the time of the tumultuous Cultural Revolution, variations of the Mao suit were everywhere. You could see green, gray or blue Mao suits everywhere. It was the uniform of choice for Mao’s young followers as they rooted out his supposed capitalist enemies.
When was the Mao suit Worn?
The Mao suit was mandatory in the 1920s and 1930s by civil servants in China. Nearly all men wore it after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Mao suits came to be widely worn by Chinese men as well as Communist government leaders as a symbol of proletarian unity until the end of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). People of both genders, in all areas, and in all different kinds of professions began wearing variations of the Mao suit on a daily basis. In the 1960s and 1970s the Mao suit became fashionable among Western European socialists and intellectuals. It was sometimes worn over a turtleneck. During the 1990’s, the Mao suit was mostly replaced by the Western business suit among the general public due to Western influences. They are still commonly worn by Chinese leaders, such as Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin, during important state ceremonies and functions. The Mao suit remained the standard formal dress for the first and second generations of PRC leaders such as Deng Xiaoping. During the 1990s, it began to be worn with decreasing frequency by leaders of Jiang Zemin’s generation as more and more Chinese politicians began wearing traditional Western-style suits with neck ties. Jiang wore it only on special occasions, such as to state dinners, but this practice was almost totally discontinued by his successor Hu Jintao. Hu Jintao still wore the Mao suit, however, on some special occasions, such as the ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic in 2009. By the early part of the 21st century, the Mao suit is rarely worn even on formal occasions. The dark green version of the suit is more often worn, usually by civilian party officials wishing to demonstrate control over or associate themselves with the Chinese military in their capacity as officials of the Central Military Commission. In Taiwan, the Mao suit was seldom seen after the 1970s. Moreover, given the subtropical weather much of the year in Taiwan, for a time a modified version became at least semi-standard which dropped the high-collar buttoned up original constriction in favor of a Western style unbuttoned, open dress shirt collar.
What Does a Mao Suit Look Like?
A Mao suit is a polyester two-piece suit in gray, olive green or navy blue. The Mao suit includes baggy pants and a tunic-style button down jacket with a flipped collar and four pockets.
During the Qing Dynasty, men wore a jacket with a straight collar over a bulky, long gown, skullcap and pigtails. Sun combined eastern and western styles by using the Japanese cadet uniform as a base, designing a jacket with a flipped collar and five or seven buttons. Sun replaced the three inner pockets found on Western suits and replaced them with four outer pockets and one inner pocket. He paired the jacket with baggy pants.
Mao Zedong recognized the power of dress to project nationalism and ideology. On October 1, 1949, at the grand ceremony in Beijing marking the founding of the People’s Republic of China, he wore a modified form of the Sun Zhōngshān (孫中山) suit. Mao had worn this style of suit since 1927 but it was only after 1949 that it was adopted by the majority of the Chinese population. It is known in the West as the Mao suit.
The five center-front buttons were said to represent the five Yuans or branches of government: legislation, supervision, examination, administration, and jurisdiction, all of which are cited in the constitution of the Republic of China. The three cuff-buttons were to represent Sun Zhōngshān (孫中山)’s Three Principles of the People (三民主義): Nationalism, Democracy/people’s rights, and People’s Livelihood. Finally, unlike Western-style suits that are usually composed of two layers of cloth, the jacket is in a single piece which is symbolic of China’s unity and peace.
Some people have found symbolic meaning in the Mao suit’s style: Long after Sun Zhōngshān (孫中山)’s death in 1925, popular mythology assigned a revolutionary and patriotic significance to the Sun Zhōngshān (孫中山) suit, even though it was essentially a foreign-style garment. The four pockets were said to represent the Four Cardinal Principles cited in the classic Book of changes (管子 or Guǎnzi, a compilation of the philosophical work named after the seventh century philosopher 管仲 (Guǎn Zhòng) and understood by the Chinese as fundamental principles of conduct: propriety, justice, honesty, and a sense of shame.
After Mao’s death in 1976, the look began to fall out of fashion. The style is still popular among older, rural Chinese. Nearly all markets in Chinese cities large and small sell Mao suits. Tailors can also make custom Zhongshan suits in a day or two. Almost without exception, today’s Chinese leaders wear Western business suits. The majority of young people favor Western business suits but it’s not uncommon to see older generations of men wearing Mao suits at special occasions. Today among the Chinese people, the Mao suit has been abandoned by some of the younger generation in urban areas, but is still worn during formal occasions.
What are your thoughts on the Mao suit? Is this something you have owned or worn before?
What do you think of whenever you hear the words “leisure suit”? The scene pictured in your mind might include anything from 1970s discos, “lounge lizards” who won’t take no for an answer when asking a lady to dance, or Mr. Furley from the television serial Three’s Company. These are commonly held perceptions of the leisure suit for the majority of people. These are the first things that come to mind. Maybe now you are wondering what in the world a leisure suit is? You came to the right place for the answers to all of your questions. It is now the year 2015, and leisure suits are back in style, but they simply aren’t the same attire from the bygone disco era. This guide will show you how to rock the leisure suit and it will also inform you about its history and context.
A leisure suit is a casual suit; sometimes three piece but usually two-piece, consisting of a shirt-like jacket and matching trousers. It is most often linked with fashion that was influenced by American culture and trends, especially during the 1970s.
The first appearance of leisure suits on the fashion scene was on the west coast of the United States in the late 1930s. They were worn in the summer as casual-wear for the wealthy. The early leisure suits were influenced by the heavy tweed Norfolk jacket worn by English sportsmen. They were made from lightweight fabrics and were worn until as late as the 1950s. They were especially popular in the Southwest where they became commonly worn at formal events. These leisure suits often featured collars and cuffs of contrasting colors. Suits of this pattern, embellished with embroidery and rhinestones, were made for 1950s Country and Western musicians, including the legendary and iconic Elvis Presley.
This way of dressing- suits as casual wear- became popular among members of Britain’s mod subculture in the 1960s. However, the style only achieved widespread popularity in the United States when synthetic materials such as polyester were developed, and marketed at low prices. This fact, combined with the American culture’s new tendency to shy away from formality, contributed to the leisure suit’s success. They are frequently associated with that era’s disco culture. Leisure suits gained critical acclaim by offering a fashionable, attractive, and inexpensive suit which could in effect, be used in formal business situations. Yet its defining characteristic was that it was casual enough to be worn out of the workplace setting. The leisure suit reached its peak in popularity around the mid to late 1970s, but fell from fashion in the very early 1980s. Today it is commonly considered an emblematic American fad of the 1970s.
In popular culture, the leisure suit quickly became associated with bars, gangsters, and ironically, with clueless dressing – the video game Leisure Suit Larry being an example of such misunderstanding. Many characters on the television series, The Sopranos (considered by many to be the greatest television series of all time) frequently incorporated elements of the leisure suit style into their own wardrobes.
There will be many occasions during your lifetime where you will have to get “dressed up”. At some of these events, you may want to wear a suit but wearing a basic suit and tie is just way too much for you. You still want to look your best though, and you prefer to wear stylish clothes. This is where leisure suits come in to play.
Leisure suits are still being offered and worn today, although not in the form of bellbottoms and pastel colors which is what many people first think of when hearing the term. Fashion labels such as Dior Homme and Dolce & Gabbana include casual suits among their collections. These are more similar to suits in the style of British mod than American disco. In recent decades there has been a lot of progress in the textile industry and the technologies needed to manufacture synthetic fabrics, such as polyester. This has fueled the creation of multitudes of new textures.
Leisure suits have come back in an elegant form that simply looks great for men who just do not feel like wearing a suit and tie. Some go far enough to say that leisure suits are a mix of formal and informal attires. The new leisure suit is something that can be worn with a dress hat such as a fedora. A fashion suit like a leisure suit is something to take every bit as seriously as a traditional suit when it comes to dressing to impress. You want to make sure you are wearing the right shoes with it and match it up with the right shirt as well. In order to take full advantage of the style leisure suits can confer upon you, they should be worn with an elegant pair of Italian-style dress shoes from labels such as Duca Di Matiste, or some high-quality suede boots, such as a pair of handmade Calzoleria Toscana. You could make a really flashy statement with a pair of crocodile skin shoes, handmade by one of the finest exotic shoes manufacturers, Belvedere. Our fashion team at SuitElegante recommends wearing casual style suits with either a nice button down shirt or a dressy mock turtleneck shirt. Most modern leisure suits also come with a lined jacket in order to make it comfortable and easier to move around in. Just because it’s called a leisure suit does not mean that you just throw it on and go. You should take pride when you get dressed up because, after all, it is still a suit. Leisure suits just aren’t the same 1970′s lounge lizard attire from that bygone era. We do not know what the future holds for leisure suits and casual suits. Having said that, the leisure suit can act as a suitable informal alternative to sports coats or suits.
What are your thoughts on the Leisure suit? Is this something you have owned or worn before?
Many people of the 1960s and 1970s may remember watching The Beatles perform at Shea Stadium in August of 1965. It was the bandsthird tour, and they opened in front of a world record crowd of 55,600. All four members, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were wearing what is now known as the Nehru Jacket, which quickly spread like wild fire in the wardrobes of millions of people in Europe and the United States. It was especially common among members of the mod subculture in Britain and the United States. However, people fail to realize how much history is behind the Nehru Jacket and how much went in to making it. This style actually is named after and was the commonly worn attire of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the First Prime Minister of The Republic of India. Before we discuss the Nehru Jacket, we must first delve into the history of how it came to be.
History and Origins
Formal wear on the Indian subcontinent has a long history dating back to the Gupta Empire. During the Gupta period of India, stitched clothing became popular, and was the sign of nobility and royalty. The suits had long, elegant sleeves and were brocaded, and were worn with a belt to accentuate the waist and to have a place to hang the wearer’s sword. Depending on the wearer’s wealth and status, the belt could be encrusted with jewels. This type of elegant outfit came to be called sherwani. The sherwani was the court dress of nobles, royals and kings of India. It has a knee length jacket, and is worn by men. It is a fusion of aristocratic Gupta clothing with some Persian elements incorporated. It was adopted by the general public in the late eighteenth century. This style of suit is commonly worn by the groom in the vast majority of Indian wedding ceremonies. There are many different styles of sherwanis, one style in particular is the achkan. Achkans, also with a knee length top half, are often made from lighter, finer fabrics, such as silk, and are generally without line. Depending on the fabric, achkans can also be embroidered. An achkan has only one breast pocket on the left side. On the other hand, Sherwani suits are made of heavier fabrics, have breast pockets on the left and right sides, with a presence of lining down the front, and are worn with a scarf-like dupatta. The achkan (Hindi: अचकन, Gujarati:અચકન) and the sherwani (Hindi: शेरवानी) were popular styles of suits in India prior to the arrival of the British, who introduced their own styles to the country. One in particular, the frock coat, caught on amongst the aristocracy. The frock coat is a men’s suit that is fitted, long sleeved, has a standing collar and lapels. Standing collars had been in use in Europe as part of the ecclesiastical and court dress, as well as civilian doublets. Frock coats originally emerged as a military suit worn by officers in European armies. This suit had variations depending upon the formality of the situation. For formal events the coats were double –breasted and had pointed lapels. For casual situations, a single breasted variation was worn with a notched lapel. Shoulder padding was not used for frock coats, as this was common among all coats of the time. There were no outer pockets on the frock coat until the Victorian and Edwardian eras, where a pocket on the chest developed to wear a pocket square. There were buttons on the front of the suit from the neck to the waist.
Slowly, there was a fusion of the two styles of suits, the achkan and the frock coat, resulting in the creation of what came to be called the Nehru jacket.
Nehru-The Man himself
Jawaharlal Nehru was born on November 14, 1889 in Allahabad in British India. Jawaharlal was the eldest of three children. He grew up in an atmosphere of privilege at elegant homes including a grand ancestral estate called the Anand Bhawan. His father had him educated at home by private tutors.
Later when Nehru had begun his institutional schooling in 1905 at Harrow, a leading school in England, Nehru went to Trinity College, Cambridge in October 1907 and graduated with an honors degree in natural science in 1910. During this period, Nehru also studied politics, economics, history and literature desultorily. After completing his degree in 1910, Nehru went to London and stayed there for two years for law studies at the Inns of Court School of Law (Inner Temple). Nehru passed his bar examinations in 1912 and was admitted to the English bar.
After returning to India in August 1912, Nehru enrolled himself as an advocate of the Allahabad High Court and tried to settle down as a barrister. But, unlike his father, he had only a desultory interest in his profession and did not relish either the practice of law or the company of lawyers. His involvement in nationalist politics would gradually replace his legal practice in the coming years. He would become known as the “Architect of India”, alongside Indian Independence leaders such as Sardar Patel, “Ironman of India”, and M.K. Gandhi, the “Father of India.”
Nehru at the Allahabad High Court
The Nehru Jacket
The Nehru jacket is a hip-length tailored suit featuring a mandarin collar (named after the mandarins of Imperial China), a short stand-up collar (1-2”/2-5cm) which is not turned down and has no lapel. The front of the suit is modeled on the South Asian achkan. Similarly, it is made from elegant, light, fine fabrics, such as silk. This characteristic makes it an excellent choice for the summer season, as it will keep cool. It is named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, who often wore this style. The apparel was created in India in the 1940s and originally called Band Gale Ka Coat (Gujarati: બુંદ ગલે કા કોટ, “Closed Neck Coat”) and has been popular on the Indian subcontinent since, especially as the top half of a suit worn on formal occasions. It began to be marketed as the Nehru jacket in Europe and America in the mid-1960s. The Nehru jacket was briefly popular in West during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its popularity was spurred by the growing awareness of foreign cultures and by the band The Beatles, who popularized the style. Sean Connery who portrayed James Bond in the film “Dr. No”, wore the Nehru Jacket. Several villains in the James Bond series of films, including Karl Stromberg in “The Spy Who Loved Me”, and Kamal Khan in “Octopussy”, have sported a Nehru jacket as well.
The Nehru jacket was once thought to be a possible new standard for formal wear for men. Some even went as far to say that the Nehru jacket could even replace the Tuxedo. However, the Nehru Jacket instead fell rapidly in popularity in the United States and Europe within just a few years of its introduction. In India, the Nehru jacket continues to be popular and is often referred to by its Hindi name “band-gale ka coat”. The Nehru jacket has also influenced military attire around the world, with various countries using the mandarin collar as part of their officer dress. The elegant suit worn by Narendra Modi, the current prime minister of India, on his visit to the United States with Barack Obama in 2015 was widely acclaimed.
There are variations in style of the Nehru jacket. A Jodhpuri suit (Hindi: जोधपुरी सूट) is an Indo-Western formal evening suit with a coat and a pair of trousers, and sometimes along with a vest. It fuses both the western suit with Indian hand-embroidery, along with a mandarin collar. It is often worn on occasions such as weddings or any other formal event. Jodhpuri suits can be made of any material, but are commonly made of silk or linen. Normally, the material is lined at the collar and at the buttons with embroidery. The weaving style can be plain or jacquard. The most elegant suits are woven in the jamewari fashion, which uses high-quality pashmina fabric. Normally, the material of the trousers match that of the coat. However, the most recent trend now is to wear trousers of a contrasting color than that of the coat’s color.
In conclusion, the Nehru Jacket is an elegant, formal alternative to the traditional western suit. It can be worn to any formal occasion and will definitely keep you cool and looking good in the heat. The remarkable look that is cultivated is peerless. You will stun the world with your style with this elegant suit.
What are your thoughts on the Nehru jacket? Is this something you have owned or worn before?