Fashion

A Denim Suit for Business Dudes? Ralph Lauren Thinks So


Can one wear too much denim? It’s a perennial question in the fashion world. There are many who would answer no, including Justin Timberlake, Matt Damon, and Jennifer Lopez. And, of course, this guy:

Photograph by Mary Evans/MGM/Ronald Grant via Everett Collection

In fashion circles, this look is loosely known as the Canadian Tuxedo, a term with no apparent slight intended to our northern neighbors. As the story goes, Levi’s fashioned a full denim tuxedo for Bing Crosby after the crooner, decked out in dungarees, was almost turned away from a fancy Canadian hotel.

The more sartorially timid among us would say there’s a limit to jeans. And while no one will ever be able to top Timberlake putting on his glorious blue-jean suit and tie, the design team at Ralph Lauren (RL) is giving it a shot. The fashion house just unveiled its line for the spring of 2015, and it includes—not one, but two—denim-on-denim ensembles: denim squared, if you will.

The first is kind of a well-worn, sun-faded look paired with a preppy tie and old-fashioned collar. It calls to mind a young Gatsby strolling back into the West Egg martini clutch after summering on a dude ranch.

Courtesy Ralph Lauren

Somehow this isn’t a stretch for Ralph Lauren, a brand that has long woven together the dusty duds of the American West with East Coast collars and cuffs.

The second offering drags the denim into the boardroom. It’s Savile Row with just a dash of truck stop. It’s a giddyup “partner,” in the Goldman Sachs (GS) sense of the word. With three finely-tailored pieces, there’s no way to be casual about it—no way to shrug it off as casual coincidence.

Courtesy Ralph Lauren

Is it a trend? Probably not. Does it work? Well, that depends.

At fashion’s haute peak, clothes convey a simple message: “I couldn’t care less what you think.” A power suit—a real power suit—says the same thing, be it purple or pinstriped or paisley. It’s no coincidence that Chuck Norris seems to operate under a similar constitution.

In short, if you have to ask if it works, it doesn’t. For the rest of you, giddyup.

Kyle-stock-190
Stock is an associate editor for Businessweek.com. Twitter: @kylestock

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Companies Mentioned

  • RL
    (Ralph Lauren Corp)
    • $171.98 USD
    • -0.86
    • -0.5%
  • GS
    (Goldman Sachs Group Inc/The)
    • $186.2 USD
    • -1.69
    • -0.91%
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