A man should have a decent suit. Or even this: every man should have at least one decent suit. Aristotle would call this an axiom - a proposition that does not require proof; I, for example, overtook this axiom at the age of 17. I entered the University of Philosophy; First of all, my father took me to the third floor of the TSUM department store, where, as now, there was a section of men's clothing. There I received my first suit. Later I realized that I was very lucky: pure wool, gray color, two buttons, a "Prince of Wales" check. In fact, the suit came in handy only after five years at the defense of the diploma. Even then, there were few situations in life when he did not look too formal or too elegant. The time of big casual began.
Now, in the second decade of the century of information, creative professions and free style, the status of the costume is generally in question. Take, for example, Mark Zuckerberg, who appeared in a suit at a US congressional hearing in April. Zuckerberg is the main threat to the idea of a suit, it is he who is meant when they say that this "armor" of a businessman is a thing of the past. Silicon Valley's smarties have pushed bankers in the ranking of role models, the multi-billionaire of social networks always and everywhere wears jeans, a T-shirt and a hoodie.
Mark Zuckerberg © Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Prior to that, Zuckerberg was seen in a suit only a few times - at a meeting with President Barack Obama and at a wedding with Priscilla Chan. It is curious that approximately the same reasons, adjusted for the social circle, bring the average Moscow guy to costume stores. A field study on a Sunday afternoon somewhere in a mall will easily confirm that a suit is purchased in two main modes: "my first" - prom, wedding; and "suit for business" - managers, warriors of the business jungle, where the level of the suit reflects the place in the hierarchy.
For many decades, the costume has been synonymous with status, power, striving for success, a feature of an active and active person. Single-breasted, double-breasted, three-piece, with one, two or three buttons, with wide, narrow, pointed or oblique lapels, with welt loops or buttons sewn on tightly, with one or two slots, made of super 120 wool or mixed fabric, glued or horsehair, with silk or cupro lining, with and without trousers, fitted, loose, elongated and cropped, bespoke, made-to-measure, ready-to-wear. The most amazing feature of the costume is that it manages to change all the time, remaining unchanged in its essence.
Historians count its history from the time of the great dandy Bo Brummel, who preached the rejection of variegation and brightness in favor of verified details. But the costume as we understand it (that is, the finished product, top and bottom of the same color, pair, match), which appeared through the efforts of Brook Brothers in the middle of the 19th century, is not a product of someone's taste; it is a derivative of the industrial age, the time of cities and entrepreneurs, a kind of manifesto for democracy. The costume was born as a symbol of modernity and a new understanding of status. What is important is what you have achieved, not who you were born. And so the costume blossomed in the 20th century, along with cinema, photography, cars and skyscrapers, all the signs of what we consider to be "our time."
Al Pacino, still from the movie "The Godfather" © kinopoisk.ru
Just as a uniform can tell a lot about a soldier, a suit speaks of its owner. A jacket that slips off the shoulder a couple of centimeters, bought one size larger "for convenience" (although the suit is so comfortable), betrays a person who is forced to wear it, as if dreaming about how he will come home and put on sweatpants. The exact opposite - a cropped, utterly narrowed suit of modern Italian, emphatically youthful style - a sure sign that its wearer is registered on Tinder (and also wears sweatpants, but proudly). An overly well-fitting suit of too blue a shade (this is how Moscow and federal officials look now) as if shouting: "sheer ambition." The conclusion is this: in a suit, as in a uniform, nothing should be too much; There is only one way of wearing that suits both the suit and the wearer - easy and effortless.
Italian entrepreneur Gianni Agnelli © Vezio Sabatini / Pictorial Parade / Archive Photos / Getty Images
The last couple of decades have been challenging times for the costume. The idea of a uniform uniform does not correspond to the times where everyone is looking for their own individuality, their own unique avatar, on the Zuckerberg network or in real life. The costume idea split between two camps. The camp of classicism celebrates the costume culture, overgrown with its own legends (Savile Row, Italian sartorias, Neapolitan soft cut, super thin fibers). This culture presupposes dedication and knowledge of a not cunning, but still quite definite code of what button and where should be fastened. Here, the suit is ideally created in front of a mirror, paired with a tailor, and the main problems are how much the sleeve should cover the cuff, whether there is an "accordion" on the trousers and whether the armhole is wrinkled (and whether it sags, which is even worse). In this case, the costume is not supposed to change in any way.
Sean Connery, frame from the movie "Goldfinger"
In a fashion camp, a suit is an object of experimentation and transformation. It is not tailors who rule here, but designers, we are talking about the current season, not about a decade, and the goal is to catch the spirit of the times, to look for something new. Hedi Slimane, who in the early 2000s turned Dior Homme into an outpost of men's style, setting a new, emphatically narrow standard for the suit. Giorgio Armani, the pioneer of the new soft silhouette, still holds the brand of "custom" cut. Ermenegildo Zegna, the ideological flagship of the Italian approach, where the main mantra is “tradition plus modernity”. Dries van Noten, pushing the understanding of masculinity. Prada, built on the idea of a “new man”. Here, the costume is updated, developed, and moves forward.
Probably, it is in this division of hypostases that the power of the costume lies. Yes, now is the time of great casual, jeans and sweatshirts have become the uniform of a new manufacturing class (because, again, what a person does is important, not how he looks). A suit from casual wear has become a work uniform or outfit for special occasions. In a more general sense - from an axiom it became a theorem. But, balancing between tradition and fashion, the men's suit retains its main idea - it is a thing that embodies modernity.
The case of Zuckerberg wearing what the New Yorker magazine called “the moment of growing up,” wearing a suit at a Congressional hearing, is pretty compelling evidence that every man needs a decent suit after all. And that next year, when my son enters some university (I hope), we will go to the third floor of the TSUM department store.>