‘Old School’ gets an Update

John P. writes: With Fall approaching my daughter says the time to shop is “now,” before the best options are gone. On top of that, she says my suits are ‘old school’ and need an update. I’m not sure what that means, but she probably has a point. Since I’ll be nearly starting from scratch, what should I be looking for?

TomTALKS: You are fortunate to have someone so thoughtful looking out for you. Your daughter is definitely correct that the best time to shop for clothing is before the season changes, especially if you are having anything custom made. No doubt there are some ‘old school’ practices – like the handwritten thank you note – that never lose their charm, but when it comes to your professional appearance, it’s important your dress reflect the fact you are keeping an eye on the trends!


TRADITIONAL SUITING – This Fall’s business suit is updated, yet timeless; fundamentally classic and masculine. Typically, a two-button jacket with three key elements:

  • Shoulders with moderate to sharp definition
  • A slim waist
  • Slim trousers (whether flat front or pleated)

Suiting fabrics that are a good investment would be solid neutral colors (navy and gray in particular), classic herringbones, muted stripes and classic Glen plaids such as the Prince of Wales (pictured below), especially in grey tones, using the accent colors mentioned below.

ON-TREND Suits have narrow lapels (whether notch or peak), as well as a shorter length. The look and feel is trim or closer fitting, though not demandingly tight, with all the areas of fullness cleaned up.

For those who are really “out in front”, double-breasted jackets should be on your list. A popular DB model is a clean, peak lapel, trim model, with just a touch of shoulder, …which buttons on the waist, in a classic British style.

Of course, when having your clothing made we can fit your jacket and pants however you prefer.

You walk a little taller when you sport a more updated look! Clients, co-workers, …even your daughter, will all take note!

Stay tuned for next week’s post when I will address what to wear on days and occasions that don’t require the formality of a business suit.

Sartorial regards,


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