Those of you who have read my guide on men’s suit trends will know that I pin the current evolution of men’s tailored wear on a fusion between classic cloths and motifs, and modern cuts. Having long provided such a look across their labels, the Ralph Lauren house is expanding its suit range for Autumn / Fall 2010 with a new style of suit. A modern interpretation of a classic it is, but amongst recent suit trends you shan’t find it. You see, by way of their Polo Ralph Lauren / blue label, Ralph Lauren are taking the modern sack suit to men everywhere.
In reinterpreting the sack suit Ralph Lauren are both playing to, and bucking, current men’s suit trends. While releasing the suits in a two-buttoned tweed is on the money, the cut of a sack suit isn’t a natural fit with the modern male silhouette – the modern suit, in traditional cloths or otherwise, favours the arguably more flattering drape and Continental suit cuts.
The Ralph Lauren label isn’t, of course, the first to try to revitalise the look: Michael Kors tried the same for Autumn (Fall) / Winter 2009 on a Mad Men inspired catwalk (below). The results were varied, and the problems of the sack suit cut obvious.
What is a sack suit?
The name gives it away. A sack suit is a largely unshaped cut of suit. Though not literally like a sack, it features the same natural shoulders of the drape cut, but is devoid of any front darting. The front darting results in a suit that is hard to marry with the hourglass or V shaped cut preferred by most men. And despite being a classic, a quick check of my Mad Men DVDs reveals that the sack suit has even been abandoned by Don Draper for a drape cut come season two of the series.
Of course, in saying that it’s hard to marry the sack suit with a style preferred by the modern gent, I need to also point out that it’s not impossible given some clever tailoring. The pictures Ralph Lauren have released (top and bottom) would indicate that they may have achieved just this, but there’s nothing to say that they simply haven’t pegged the suits and sportscoats to imply a slender cut in their look book; aficionados of the Ralph Lauren labels will know that this is common in both Blue Label and Purple Label look books.
As for their explanation of the styling, for their Autumn / Fall 2010 collection Polo Ralph Lauren are keeping the undarted front but updating the overall cut from the classic:
The new sack suit “does away with darts and shoulder construction, but it’s shorter length and two buttons keep it current.”
It’s likely that, in keeping with their American styling, the suits and sportscoats in the sack cut will also feature a single vent at the rear, as opposed to the double, British style venting also found in men’s tailoring.
To read more on men’s suits follow the link.