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Fashion trends Thom Browne

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thom browneThom Browne (born 1965) is an American fashion designer. He is the founder and head of design for Thom Browne, a New York City-based menswear and womenswear brand. Browne debuted his womenswear collection in 2003.

Browne’s menswear line was created as a response to the broad acceptance of business casual in lieu of formal attire.


A Thom Browne suit is distinctive in structure and fit. The suits are composed of flat front pants with exposed ankles and a jacket that concludes mid-wrist and doesn't cover the backside. They almost always have either two or three buttons, narrow lapels, side vents, and trouser without belt loops. The designer is best known for wearing suits in a range of charcoal-grey colors, always paired with a tie cut from the same fabric, a silver tie clip, a white button down shirt, and black leather dress shoes. Since its début in 2001, the Thom Browne collection has extended into a more complete menswear line with dress shirts, sweaters, ties, underwear, and accessories. Thom Browne can be purchased at avant-garde and luxury retailers around the world and at the flagship store on Hudson Street in TriBeCa.

thom browneBrowne was named the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Menswear Designer of the Year in March 2006 and named the GQ Designer of the Year in November 2008.

I’ve always written off openly gay men’s fashion designer Thom Browne as a joke. Who would wear pants cuffed so short that several inches of naked ankle is revealed?


Who would buy a shirt with sleeves a foot too long with the cuffs tied behind one’s back? His designs were pure shock-value, headline-screaming nonsense. His jackets were cut so close and short that the models looked for all the world like an expensively dressed Pee-wee Herman. I figured this was a man who clearly did not get enough attention as a child.

Then he began showing women’s wear last year, and suddenly his name was everywhere. Michelle Obama wore one of his creations for her inaugural morning outfit. Constructed from a silk jacquard fabric used for men’s neckties, her navy blue coat was seen by millions on televisions around the world. Mr. Browne himself did not learn that Mrs. Obama had selected his outfit until a half-hour after television viewers started sending him text messages. He was in Paris at the time, following his men’s wear runway show. Critics were astonished that Michelle Obama was secure enough to wear clothing by a designer who had previously sought attention by outfitting men in dresses, three-legged suits and see-through overcoats (and that’s not the half).

thom browne model maleBrowne was profiled in the New York Times a week ago, but I just now got around to reading it. The 47-year-old designer, who hails from Allentown, PA, was a competitive swimmer in high school and college. He says he was influenced by the 1960s fashions of conservative America, resulting in his revisionist cardigan sweaters, seersucker shorts, bow ties and Oxford cloth shirts.

On a personal level, he is partnered with Andrew Bolton (right), a curator at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. They live in a sparsely furnished Greenwich Village apartment where Browne dedicates time on a treadmill every day. Browne’s father lived the conservative life of an attorney, and Thom and Andrew say they also live a quiet, non-splashy lifestyle.

Although Browne apprenticed at Armani and Club Monaco in the 1990s, he says he learned everything he knows from Rocco Ciccarelli, the tailor who owns the factory that makes all of Browne’s clothes. Browne debuted his own line relatively late, when he was already in his late 30s. In the ten years he has been showing his men’s line, he won awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and GQ magazine. When he won the National Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the award’s patron was Michelle Obama.

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