There have been some pretty big transformations in men’s suits over the years. From the lounge suits of the 1920’s, to the comeback of pleated trousers in the 1950’s, to the slimmer single-breasted suits that men wear today (which were also popular in the 1960’s), the suit has remained a staple of men’s fashion. Today, we’re going to talk about the trend in suit accessories — specifically how they are leaning towards a more casual, relaxed look. 

The term “casual suit” may seem like a contradiction, but as with so many things these days, the odd juxtaposition is more than a trend – it’s a movement in fashion from city to suburb, and even among rural professionals of a younger generation. Fortunately, there are a dozen ways to relax a look or add some flair to something that might typically be considered stodgy or stiff. 

An easy change from hopeless to hip is a casual jacket. These ultra-versatile garments are easy to take care of and can be worn in just about any situation. Paired with khakis, jeans, even shorts (if you live in Los Angeles), they add a bit of professional to the casual. 

Working in the opposite direction, the fashion-challenged can add a splash of color to a grey or black suit. That will draw the eye and garner just the right amount of attention. A brightly colored necktie will accentuate vertical lines, so will a pocket scarf high on the breast pocket, making you seem taller (you’ll feel taller too). Remember, some classic looks and colors, like black and white, grey and black) will never go out of style, so don’t feel that you’ve got to break the mold your first day out. 

There’s the issue of slim – the closer cut, fitted pants, shirts and jackets are wildly in fashion. What would have been too small two years ago is probably just about right. Our only advice is if the button shoots off when you inhale, maybe it’s not the right look for you. 

We all know the shoes make the outfit, but what about the socks? Men’s socks have, like the suit, been traditionally blah and boring – black with little to differentiate them from the millions of black socks in the world. Break the monotony of black socks and make your statement with brightly colored socks. Socks with patterns are all the rage, the crazier the better. If you’re still unsure, you can opt for more subtle color. 

For the fashionably bold, fitted, shorter pants is the next step. How else would you show off those crazy socks? Ready for another ingredient to the master recipe of fashion? Your pants don’t have to match. Seriously. Some of the coolest looks are sport coats or blazers and odd pants. Blue and brown? Do it. Khaki and grey? Go ahead. Pink socks, tan pants and kaki blazer? Only if you’re rocking a pink necktie as well. 

Can the suit be made too casual? It’s hard to say – the tragically hip are often found with sport coats and brightly colored hoodies underneath. It’s your call, but bright socks are likely the safer place to start. 

Image credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / feedough