Remember those two words. It’s not a trend, really, but more like a current attitude among the top menswear designers and the international suiting community. Here's a definition: the practice of dressing down to dress up, or combining tailored items of clothing with more casual items. A "casually formal" suit would be one that fits quite well but is soft in the shoulder and made from a comfortable fabric. A casually formal outfit might involve a blazer paired with slim cargo pants or a more loose-fitting, neutral-colored trouser. A sweater might also be involved.
It's a modern style that comes across as effortless, and for me the brand that's doing it best is the Italian tailoring house Boglioli. Founded in the early 1900s in Gambara, Italy, by the Boglioli family, the brand makes all its clothes by hand and specializes in garment-dyed items—meaning, the fabric is dyed after the jacket or pant is made, which ends up looking surprisingly different from when you make the same thing from a ream of fabric that comes predyed.
In the mid-1990s, the company, under the direction of Pierluigi Boglioli, took a sharp turn and abandoned the slim, structured Italian tailoring it had been churning out for nearly a century. Instead, the Boglioli brothers started making deconstructed blazers—ones without the canvas underpinnings that make many standard suits hold their shape. The result was, you guessed it, casual formality. Suits hugged the shoulder more naturally and moved less stiffly on the wearer.
I first became aware of the brand when I encountered one of its signature garment-dyed sport jackets on a photo shoot about five years ago. At the time the coats were a highly praised but hard-to-find-in-the-U.S. cult favorite of fashion insiders—despite their longevity. The jacket was unstructured cotton and dyed in the most vibrant cobalt blue, complete with a perfectly symmetrical and rounded patch pocket. I remember it still today because it was that much better than anything else I had seen in a while (and I have seen my fair share of blue blazers).
The same can be said about the first time I walked in to one of the company's presentations during Milan Fashion Week. It's no coincidence that that was four seasons ago, the same time that Jay Vosoghi took over as design director. Under his practiced eye, the already stellar brand flourished into an excellent ready-to-wear collection.
The clothing that walks the runways this month will be in stores next spring, and for this line, Vosoghi stuck to his laid-back silhouettes. He even gave them a new, vaguely ’70s-inspired shape. (He also appears to be channeling a certain Brazilian playboy nonchalance.) Some of my favorite looks include retro Baylon-style polos (ones that have a knit waistband) that were worn under suits, and outfits that featured similar tones worn together. Somehow that style of combining colors always makes complicated patterns—or varying tones of red—look smart and elevated.
Boglioli is available at Mr Porter, Saks, and Barneys.
Nic Screws is the style director at Bloomberg and will be reporting all month from the runways of Europe. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter or e-mail her any of your fashion concerns or questions at email@example.com.
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