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Men’s formal suit segment undergoes alterations

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The traditional classic readymade men’s suit will always stay relevant in the premium formal wear retail segment, even if its popularity has slightly waned in post-Covd dress-down times. With an USP of making the wearer stand out whenever and wherever, this is a forever style even when bespoke or made-to-measure suits that create a new model for each customer are now competing neck-to-neck in premium outlets.

Growing love for tailored suits

The global market for tailored suits is rapidly growing with increasing number of luxury brands tailoring made-to measure suits while displaying a versatile portfolio of readymade suits. The post-Covid global formal wear market is highly dynamic with a growth projected CAGR of 4.1 per cent between 2020 and 2026. Within this, the sub-segment of tailored suits is expected to grow rapidly geographically with Europe being the main consumption region followed by North America.

As Jatin Malik, well-known fashion designer for men’s party and wedding wear explains, a global shutdown for two years, and a remarkable shift towards casual, streetwear and unstructured silhouettes, year 2023 saw the return of tailored fits, like three-piece or double-breasted suits. Malik says, the change is happening not just in India but around the world, as people are beginning to choose comfort over fashion on many occasions. However, one always chooses the classics for special occasions, regardless their current fashion choices.

The transformation of classic suits

However, the traditional men’s classic suit as the seasonless attire is now also making way for innovative styling and rule-breakers that include anti-fit silhouettes, unexpected sporty layering and broken tailoring. These suits that need tailoring and eliminate large costs have been a strong trend season after season and mainly appeal to the younger generation.

The recent edition of Pitti Uomo, a bi-annual Italian menswear trade show hosted in Florence in January 2023, showcased a selection of made-to-measure double-breasted suits crafted in heritage fabrics. And there were many other innovative designs.

Many Indian menswear designers displayed their innovative portfolios at the trade fair. They point out, this new popularity of bespoke tailored suits with new iterations will be the way forward for men’s formal dressing in India and around the globe.

Designer Raghavendra Rathore known for his famous bandhgalas opines, on one side, it will be the coterie that understands and imbibes the values of classic culture and on the other side, a more sustainable and post-covid lobby that will push for ease through cut, style and fit across products in one’s wardrobe. Rathore believes, fast fashion brands make more profits in non-structured clothing. They have, therefore, speeded up the process of emulating brands like Zegna, to offer non-fitted ready-to-wear formal looks.

E-commerce push up sales

Though these tailored suits are a cut above when it comes to fitting and style, there are disadvantages such as the long waiting time and frequent visits to tailor's shop for trials before the final outcome. However, now many e-commerce stores are offering tailored suits from the fashion capitals of Italy to receive them directly at home. There are apps that give the effects of being in a trial room as the suit can be seen from each and every angle with its detailing. Despite this, the physical store is still the distribution channel preferred for bespoke tailored suits while online purchase continues to affect the ready-to-wear segment.

Bespoke suits are a luxurious experience that balances tailoring and craftsmanship making the wearer feel like a king. Three-piece double-breasted suits may be taking on a whole new look as the only thing constant in life is change. But it’s a forever style that has been and will be handed down for generations of men for all formal occasions around the globe.


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