MEN IN BLUE
After a decade of trying to subvert the corporate uniform, men’s-wear labels are embracing the fact that guys just want a sharp, navy suit. Jeremy Freed canvases Bay Street to learn whether the approach is paying off.
It’s Monday morning at the corner of King and Bay Streets in Toronto, and the great migration is underway. While they move in every direction at once, these are all clearly animals of the same species, clutching briefcases, gym duffles and lunch bags, their glossy shoes scuffing the pavement on the way to the revolving door, to the elevator, to the desk.
Over the last decade or so, the people who design and sell clothing have turned up the heat on these unsuspecting men. In an effort to encourage guys with corporate jobs and disposable incomes to take a greater interest their wardrobes, they’ve tried to introduce the speedy women’s-wear trend cycle into men’s wear. To a certain degree, it has worked: New brands and boutiques spring up constantly, marrying streetwear with heritage workwear with formal wear, offering men ever more choice to express their personal style. But to stand in front of a bank tower and observe the men walking by, you might question whether the whole effort has been futile. Bay Street boys may have embraced pastel ties, statement pocket squares and jaunty socks, but it appears as though things have stalled there.