Can formal attire be ‘funky’? Yes it can, but the problem with formal wear is just that – it is formal. So how do you modernise or ‘funk’ up this sort of thing?

Over the last few years my way of achieving this has been to modernise the fit and ‘up the ante’ with regards to the quality of fabric offered.

There is a limit however to what you can achieve – how many exclusive fabrics you can use or how fitted or tight the designs can become. So what is the next step?

Radical New Designs

Thankfully Wilvorst has come up with some very different and dare I say radical new designs for 2012 and beyond. The jury is still out with regards to the designs, how dated the look may become and certainly the shiny fabric, but interesting ideas none the less.

Funky Black Wilvorst Suit

You will see from the picture that the new coat style is worn with a dark waistcoat and trousers, as well as a loose cravat worn inside the shirt. If we did this jacket style I would contrast the neckwear and waistcoat and possibly tone down the jacket fabric.

Beware – Looks Can Date Quickly

We used to carry a range of very flamboyant suiting (coats and waistcoats by Tom Gilbey, Savile Row, London, very much like the gold ¾ length frock coat that Gazza wore many moons ago). Accessorised with black trousers and flashy waistcoat, these were very successful and made from pure fabrics such as silk for the jackets and waistcoats, pure lightweight wool trousers and pure cotton shirts with big Edwardian wing collars. The snag was that this look dated very quickly, so if we want to really funk up formal wear again, caution is the word.

These new ideas focus on new jacket styles rather than flamboyant colours. Using darker, plainer fabrics will really help us try and create a fun new formal style whilst exuding that smart or formal vibe. Watch this space to see how, or even if, we try this new style, and more interestingly, how we adapt it.

Guest post by Stephen Bishop

Image from Wilvorst