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Then and Now: A decade of men’s fashion in Brisbane


A decade of men’s fashion in Brisbane

This year is a major milestone for us – we have hit double digits with the celebration of our tenth birthday.

It only feels like a moment ago that my family acquired what is now known as The Fitting Room, yet as we look back on the last ten years, so much has happened: both in our business and the world of men’s style. And we have to say, Brisbane gents, you have really stepped up your style game in the last ten years.

There have been so many highlights – from our very first customer to the recent release of our book. What began as Dunlop Fashion and RH Formals, then Brisbane City Clothing Alterations and, now, The Fitting Room on Edward. This May, we saw the launch of The Suit Book, written by director Clare Sheng.

Tens of thousands of men have walked through our doors, and we’ve sent every one of them back out into the city feeling confident in their newly altered suits. Even from our early days at Rowes Arcade – with dodgy lifts, over-worked machines and a team of just five – we made it our mission to not only show Brisbane men how to dress better, but also how to feel better about the way they look.

Now we can proudly say that we are the largest independent alterations business in Queensland, with a team of 14 who alter thousands of suits each year. We can also say we have seen it all. With all those suits coming through, we can clearly recall the key shifts in men’s fashion in Brisbane. Even though suits have a timeless appeal, the way they are worn is always evolving.

So to celebrate ten years, we’re taking a walk down memory lane, looking at how fashion has changed in the last decade – do you remember these major shifts in style?

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(Photo by Aby Baker/Getty Images)

Loose Silhouettes | 2008

At the peak of the GFC, the menswear being produced kept us busy! We were seeing suits with loose silhouettes akin to many wartime styles when clothing had a dramatic increase in overall volume: everything was baggier and longer.

Most men were wearing a classic fit, with straight-legged trousers and hems with a full break. This look saw us constantly hemming off-the-rack trousers that touched the floor! If you’ve got a pair of pants in your wardrobe that are too baggy, think back to when you purchased them. Chances are it may have been during this time.

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The Slim Fit | 2014

Six years later, style began to shift, with pants getting tighter and hems shorter. Men were becoming more fashion conscious and suit alterations – for us at least – were taking off.

Our clients wanted all their suits tapered to a slim fit, including the trousers, and hems had no break (this is the small dimple that forms in suit pants where they sit on your shoe).

It was at this point that the ‘no sock look’ was about to take – hence the higher hems on trousers – and the effects of social media’s influence on men’s style were starting to become distinguishable.


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Shifting Mindset | 2017

With social media only growing in popularity, men’s fashion influencers around the world began to drastically impact the way men perceived fashion (and their own individual style).

Men no longer felt they had to hide the fact that they cared about their appearance. And with this shift, more and more gents began to develop their own fashion consciousness. Personal grooming services and products took off, and men now experiment with different styles ranging from the classic fit to tapered and extremely slim silhouettes.

Amid all this experimentation, men began to really understand that style is about knowing how to adapt trends for your own style and body shape.

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Sprezzatura | 2018

Now, as 2018 is meandering into spring, Nepalese-inspired sprezzatura is re-emerging, and The Fitting Room predicts that this will be leading the fashion scene in 2019. So what is ‘sprezzatura’? Many refer to it as nonchalance, but it’s best thought of as ‘studied carelessness’. In our world, that translates to carefully tailored (but not over-tailored) suits.

We are seeing the emergence of unstructured shoulders, and colour and pattern blocking, with double-breasted and even three-button suit jackets sneaking back in to wardrobes.

So what’s next? While we have no intention of taking a sprezzatura attitude to your alterations, we will continue to adapt every trend to each individual we work with. Because as we always say – even the most expensive suit will look cheap if it doesn’t fit you properly!

Here’s to the next ten years, and beyond. To learn how to choose a perfectly fitting suit, download our free ebook.

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