What's your strong suit this year?

Every year kicks off in roughly the same way – horrendous hangover; half-baked and quickly forgotten resolutions; and force-feeding of lots of digitally devised lists of “must-have” trends and fads for the year ahead.

I've already been told that this will be the year of movement mastery (whatever that is); that digital dining and edible technology are the new chia seeds; and that the signature colour, according to Pantone, is something called Radiant Orchid (which looks suspiciously like mauve with a swish new moniker).

And although the world of men's style isn't quite that (cough, pretentious, cough) edgy, the stalwart staple of a man's wardrobe that carries him from office to wedding to funeral – the humble suit - also has its very own trend predictors.

The team at online tailoring portal Institchu tapped into their database for the past 12 months and concluded that 2013's perfect suit was navy blue, 100 per cent wool, came with two buttons, had a side vent, four-sleeve buttons, a notch lapel and full lining. You just muttered either “snap!” or “d'oh!”, right?

So what can besuited men expect to be offered by the Year of the Horse?

Institchu's co-founder Robin McGowan predicts suit trends will be a mix of traditional and more relaxed, contemporary styles.

“Men are becoming much more adventurous and comfortable when it comes to experimenting with new looks, including fabrics,” McGowan says. “For 2014, we predict that they will continue to update classic looks with throwbacks to things like glen plaid. We'll begin to see a lot more of three-piece suits and fitted double-breasted jackets, too.”

Evidence of this was seen last month when major brands such as Gucci, Canali, Jil Sander and Bottega Veneta sent a wide range of traditional three-piece suits and double-breasted jackets down the runway. However, many of these were also updated with details such as waistlines belted high-up over the jacket and metallic lapels. Perfect for an evening out, but maybe not so ideal for the office.

Hugo Boss Australia managing director Matthew Keighran says this year the emphasis will also be on texture along with innovative fabrics. “A move into texture is trending strongly,” he explains. “ High performance qualities like carbon fibre, stretch and jersey-like materials are ideal for the travelling executive.”


He also predicts that finer, often hidden details will become more important in the selection process. “Sartorial elements will dominate selection [details such as] fancy linings, buttons, trimmings and stitching, ticket pockets, button holes and hand-tailored elements.”

Thankfully 'Radiant Orchid' won't be featuring in the men's suiting palette any time soon but it seems everything else except black is permissible this year, including patterns.

“Shades of blue and grey continue to dominate,” Keighran says. “These days, black has moved out of the workplace but remains the firm favourite for formal or party wear.”

McGowan recommends the glen plaid fabric as being on-trend, otherwise known as a Prince of Wales Check after it was popularised by The Duke of Windsor. “We use a light to medium-weight wool/cashmere blend so it is suitable for the Australian climate, “ he says.

What's on your wish list for a new suit this year? Will you go with one of the new trends? How much do you plan to spend?