The Korea Herald


[Weekender] Menswear undergoes smart evolution

Menswear moves away from traditional suit pairings to more casual vibe

By Lee Woo-young

Published : May 2, 2014 - 21:31

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Spring has brought versatile items and light colors to menswear, allowing men to be free from formal dress and try new style combinations. Blazers and pants that are both adaptable to formal and casual looks are gaining popularity. Fresh, light color shades are lifting the mood for the warmer weather.

“The casual vibe has been prevalent in menswear for the past couple of seasons, and the hybrid items that can either work in formal and casual situations have been popular,” said Lee Hyun-jung, director of the design team of menswear brand Galaxy.

Tailored jackets with light fabrics and slim pants in diverse colors are this season’s hot items, he added.

When it comes to playing with diverse colors and prints ― dark with light and prints with solids ― there are only a few simple rules to remember. If the jacket is darker, choose light-colored pants, or vice versa. To play with prints, choose a matching item in a solid color. 
A customer checks a suit jacket at Shinsegae Department Store in southern Seoul. (Shinsegae Department Store) A customer checks a suit jacket at Shinsegae Department Store in southern Seoul. (Shinsegae Department Store)

This season, the details are in the colors. The fashion industry, in particular, is presenting varying shades of blue incorporated in suits and business casual clothing as this year marks the Year of the Blue Horse on the lunar calendar. The different shades of blue also radiate the spring and summer mood.

The menswear brand Rogatis invented its own signature blue ― R-Blue, which is lighter than classic dark navy. Another menswear brand, Palzileri, borrowed colors from Edward Hopper paintings and used them as dominant or key colors in its suit collection and accessories.

The unique, subtle colors of blue, green and orange revealed by the shadows and sunlight in Hopper’s paintings have brought an artistic touch to the straight, predictable menswear design.

“Traditionally, blue symbolizes the spirit of youth, challenge and positive energy. It has emerged as the ‘it color’ to reflect the anticipation of positive change in politics and economics,” said Choi Young-jin, researcher at the Samsung Fashion Research Institute.

With designers increasingly using sportswear for inspiration, the sports vibe is also prevalent in tailored menswear. Aside from the design aspects, functionality and comfort are increasingly emphasized.

Lightweight fabrics keep blazers and pants cool in warmer weather. Stain-resistant and deodorization fabrics help men adapt to any weather condition or occasion. Other special fabrics include one that blocks electromagnetic waves coming from cellphones, usually kept in the inside pocket of men’s jackets.

The Italian menswear brand Ermenegildo Zegna created a 3-D effect for its jackets by using a fabric that blends linen, silk and wool. It also added a fresh take on formal wear by pairing jackets and pants of different prints. The “broken suits” enable mix-and-match styles in classic suits that differentiate it from the traditional pairing of jackets and pants of the same color and fabric, according to the luxury suit brand.

Korean designer Kimseoryong, known for well-tailored suits for men, showed how menswear could be elegant and warm with the use of unconventional fabrics and patterns such as jacquard and embroidery in his clean-cut suits.

“Besides design aspects, functionality and comfort are increasingly being emphasized in menswear design. Fashion is undergoing a smart evolution with the development of functional fabrics,” said Lee Ha-na, designer of the Rogatis suit collection.

By Lee Woo-young  (