Scrolling through some websites today to shop for my almost adult son it hit me again: The menswear in the regular stores looks sad, badly made, ill fitted, not stylish, and no fun. What choices have you when looking for a good shirt? Wide spread collar, ultra wide spread, floppy collar, frumpy collar in the colours white, blue, light blue and maybe a little stripe or understated print. For trousers you can find chino's that are not too bad, personally i very much dislike slim fit jeans, or god forbid skinny fit. The latter is also the fashion for suits, men all look like they will burst out of their jackets any time (the incredible Hulk springs to mind)way too short trousers (with no socks) which is fine when you are an Italian, they somehow get away with it, but please not for too white hairy ankles. It's not flattering. The legs look shorter, the torso looks heavier.
Something has gone wrong here. Don't we all (men and women and transgenders alike) want to look taller and slimmer? Enhance what we like, or what is typical needs style. Not fashion.
A already tall and slim person has two options: try to look shorter and bigger or enhance what you have got. I would go for the last option. What does help is make the shoulders look wider and a good dress shirt already does that for you, especially when combined with a good waistcoat (well fitted, that means snug) and jacket shoulders look wider, waist looks slimmer thus creating the V shape that makes men look like men instead of little boys. Embrace your length, add a nice pin stripe to even enhance it more. try various collar types to find what suits you best. Look at the lapels of the jacket, very narrow, wide, peaked they all look different. single breasted or double breasted makes a world of a difference in image. Watch the button placement: too high or too low will make it look out of balance.
For a bigger person, enhancing the length is always a good idea. Pleated front high waist trousers with inward pleats create a smooth line when seen from the side when matched with a waistcoat in the same fabric. Horizontal lines will cut the silhouette and leads the eye to areas where you don't want the attention to.
All this styling needs choice. I haven't even touched the topic colour (for the next blog) Menswear should be a joy to try and experiment with. For women there is quite a lot of choice. For men, except a few designer brands, it is dull, not inspiring, and mostly comfort. The Netherlands has a particular sad culture when it comes to style and clothing. "Be normal, that is strange enough" is much heard saying. Please don't be normal. Be strange! Be colourful, inspiring, joyful, stylish, stand out, get noticed!
I hope my designs will bring back a bit of style, fun and possess. And for all the ideas that float around in my head and in my sketchbook I feel the need to make them. I do hope what I have made so far is the beginning and I will get the chance to execute more of what is screaming for being made, worn and loved.
Sunny van Zijst
I am maker of vintage inspired couture. I was trained as a designer for theater costumes. Now I enjoy making vintage inspired clothing for men and women.