Men of Britain – here’s why you must never cancel the suit

People have been trying to get men to look like children for decades now. It’s all very well immersing yourself in the costume of rebellion when you’re young – and I spent a huge amount of my youth dressing up – but by the time you’re approaching 30, you’re probably thinking of chucking in the combat trousers and baseball cap for a pinstripe suit and some bench-made Oxfords.

I know I did.

Men of Britain – here’s why you must never cancel the suit

This was around 1990, when the vagaries of fashion were pushing men my age in a different direction altogether. This was a time when we were all being encouraged to wear gargantuan training shoes, the bigger the better. They needed to be at least two sizes too big, they needed to be gaudy, and they needed to make you look as though you were 15.

Which, rather sadly, they did.

The next time men were encouraged to throw away all their suits was at the very end of the 1990s, when American banks, in all their finite wisdom, decided that their employees should partake in an especially heinous craze called Dress Down Friday. This meant that, all of a sudden men, who had been perfectly happy coming to work every day in their double-breasted suits, snazzy ties and spread collar shirts were turning up in linen shirts, corduroy trousers and Wellington boots, looking as though they were about to spend a couple of hours on the allotment, or assisting their wives in their walled gardens.

I distinctly remember being in the newsroom of a national newspaper at the turn of the century and seeing one of the assistant editors pitching up for work looking like he was about to fly to Berlin for the weekend to sample some of their “alternative” nightclubs. Who knew you could buy so much leather in Surbiton?