If you’re searching for a seminal look to define the new exuberance in tailoring, then consider the “Hollywood Top”, a trouser style last seen in the Forties and Fifties but recently re-introduced by Edward Sexton, the master tailor who is the progenitor of much of what represents classically stylish suiting today. By dropping the belt loops two inches from the top of the waistline and adding two generous pleats, the tailor has created perhaps the breakout piece in the new era of suave menswear (and the good news is that this will shortly go into production as a ready-to-wear item). Sexton trained as a cutter on Savile Row before joining up with celebrity tailor Tommy Nutter to dress the likes of Bryan Ferry and Lennon and McCartney – stylish bon vivants who shared Sexton’s love of the high-glamour heyday of Hollywood in the Thirties and Forties – decades that, then as now, sum up a sartorial high-water mark for menswear.
“People don’t look good when they’re uptight,” counsels Sexton, who prefers his signature double-breasted, broad-lapelled suits in traditional (yet often strikingly patterned) fabrics cut and proportioned in a style he refers to as “long, low and leafy”. This means a stronger, squarer shoulder-line, teamed with a high armhole (“to lengthen the body”) and a low “button stance” designed to accentuate the contours of the ideal figure. Accessorise, as Sexton does, with a tab- or pin-collared shirt, or dress up (and down) with a single-ply cashmere roll-neck, and you can be assured of being about the smartest man about town – or country, come to that.