Fashion Week Quick-Fire: Working Style

Light yet strong, trendy yet timeless. When it comes to men's suiting, Working Style has long struck a suave balance. Here, Sam Clode gives insight into the brand's latest looks.

  • Story by Photo Marissa Findlay

Light yet strong, trendy yet timeless. When it comes to men's suiting, Working Style has long struck a suave balance. Here, Sam Clode gives insight into the brand's latest looks. 

How long has Working Style been in New Zealand? 
Twenty-eight years.

How many stores do you have throughout the country? 
Five, and online at workingstyle.co.nz.

How many suit styles do you have?  
Well over 20 different cloths across two main styles off the rack, with a third coming soon, plus a range of dinnerwear and an extensive made-to-measure offering.
 
What will you be sending down the runway at this year’s New Zealand Weddings Collection show at Fashion Week?
Stylish wedding outfit possibilities, ranging from the extremely classic and formal, right through the spectrum.

What are three words that describe your latest range? 
Lightweight, European, detailed.

What was your inspiration? 
We’ve pondered how people in New Zealand live their lives in summertime. Our lifestyle doesn’t suit the heavier, rigid British style of tailoring that has been popular for so long, so we’re specialising in lightweight tailoring that can be worn at any occasion in absolute comfort. The light construction allows for breathability and movement, so the wearer keeps their cool in the heat.

Is there a certain type of fabric or colour you’ve centred on? 
We’ve used cloth across the range from the Italian mill Vitale Barberis Canonico. They make the world’s finest fabrics and it’s reassuring to know our collection is of such an extremely high quality. Most of the fabrics need to be inspected up close to appreciate the subtle, intricate woven detail. We’re welcoming the reintroduction of mid-grey to the colour palette this season, as well as bold blues and highlights of washed red.

How is it different from years past? 
We’ve been doing lighter construction tailoring for a couple of seasons, but it’s a dominant characteristic across Summer 2016. The shoulder lines are softer and the colours are bolder. Because the collection is less structured, it’s more comfortable so the wearer will be less restricted and less conscious of their clothing while wearing it.

From your perspective, how does a groom’s suit fit the context of a wedding? 
I think the groom deserves to look and feel his very best, although he should be responsive to his bride’s outfit – after all, it’s really her day. When there are two grooms, I’m in favour of basically just turning the whole thing into a sartorial peacock competition.

What trend are you loving right now? 
Midnight blue dinnerwear, and dinner jackets with complimentary rather than matching trousers. You’ll see a great example of this in our show.

What’s a key accessory for a groom? 
A smile and a great pair of shoes

How can he tie his look in with his bride? 
Reference a small element of her look: a colour, a flower, a texture. He should respond to, not reflect her outfit, though − matching ties or pocket squares made out of the bride’s or bridesmaids’ dress fabric are the absolute height of bad taste.

How can he distinguish himself from his groomsmen? 
A slightly different tie, suit shade, flower… being the only one who kisses the bride! The list is a long one. I actually do like a subtle reference running across the groom’s whole party, even if it’s just matching pocket squares.

What’s the biggest mistake grooms make when they start their search for wedding attire?
Bringing in a photo of Daniel Craig and saying, “Make me look like this.” Reference shots are great, but asking for a carbon copy of someone else is never successful. Suiting is a very personal thing − you should want to look like the best version of yourself. 

How early should a groom start looking for his suit? 
The process should begin at least three months before the big day. Start by getting inspiration online and from magazines to see what styles are out there and what you like the look of. The better the idea you have of what you’d like to wear, the less free time you’ll need to dedicate to shopping around during your weekends. For something as special and technical as a wedding suit, time needs to be spent on it − it shouldn’t be tailored in a rush.

How late can a groom order his suit from you? 
For a made-to-measure garment, a minimum of six weeks. I recommend at least eight weeks for weddings, though – letting people down is simply not an option for us, so if alterations need to be made for any reason, we like to have the time to do this to the best of our tailor’s ability. If the suit is from our ready-to-wear collection, we can have it ready anywhere between a couple of hours and a week. This timeframe depends on what tailoring the suit requires, of course.

What’s the first and last thing a groom should concern himself with when it comes to his ensemble? 
First: shave; last: tie your tie. A sore, irritated-looking neck rash is such a shame and running these two things too close together can cause this to happen.


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