High fashion for men ofdiscernment

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

Sitting through the jazz at the Birchwood Hotel on Friday, rubbing shoulders with the black diamonds, I could not help but think of how many men the fashion police could have arrested for horrendous fashion offences.

While many males were garbed in beautiful and well-fitting suits, some wore sloppy and ill-fitting suits, or suits that went out of fashion decades ago.

According to Mark Gooding, head of branding for Cape clothing manufacturer House of Monatic, South African men, especially the corporate types, are not traditionally known for a tasteful dress sense.

But Gooding believes there is a definite trend towards a heightened fashion consciousness among the elite.

Gooding says this tendency can be attributed to South Africa's changing demographic climate, with many fashion-conscious black diamonds dominating the fashion space.

"This rapid increase in fashion forward-thinking has seen corporate men investing in lavishly luxurious suits designed in imported fabrics, Gooding says.

"We are also seeing the enjoyment derived from up-dressing and accessorising in this market."

He says consumption levels of high-end fashion labels such as Carducci and Viyella have hit an all-time high.

"Among the younger guys Banana Republic has gained increased popularity in conveying a casual but refined look.

Gooding offers various trendy tips to enable male professionals to unleash astute style in the rapidly expanding world of fashion:

lThree-piece suits are becoming increasingly important for professionals.

The addition of a waistcoat exudes flair and it can easily be worn with or without the jacket.

It will allow you to project a consistently smart and impressive image to the outside world.

lTwo-buttoned suits are becoming more popular than traditional three-buttoned suits because this style creates an elongated look and makes you look tall and slender.

lAccessorise, accessorise, accessorise. Gone are the days when men were able to get away with the bare minimum - a handful of suits and shirts with two pairs of shoes.

It's become paramount for male professionals to invest in a diverse range of apparel, accompanied by the right accessories such as belts, cuff-links and ties.

l It's all about how the cloth is cut and tailored. Mistakes commonly made by professionals include the purchase of garments that are the wrong size or feature unflattering cuts.

Another common misconception is that bigger sizes will be more flattering. The key is how the fabric is cut to flatter a myriad of different body types.

Seek advice from a personal dresser about which fabrics, cuts and styles will accentuate your good features to project a credible, strong and flattering frame.