In the realm of men's wear, there is no single more potent or iconic thing than the suit. Two or three pieced, double breasted, lounge or formal, the suit had dominated men's fashions for over 300 years. Starting out as a coat, waistcoat and breeches, it morphed over the 1700s, and emerged into the 1800s as the infant version of what we see today. Apart from a few changes in cut and fabrications, it has remained the same ever since.
Those same things are still in play, though in different ways, right now.
The business community makes the most frequent use of the suit as an object of power and control. Since it is through fabrication, accessories and fit that hierarchy gets delineated, those at the top of the chain wear custom suits and only the most expensive of shoes, ties and such, partly because it marks them out, partly because its expected of them, and partly, simply because they can.
Outside of the business community the suit is a loud and clear signal that this person should be taken seriously, and dealt with with respectful deference. It also marks someone as being comfortable with the status quo and willing to go along with traditions as they stand. And this factor in the equation is the one that makes the current attempts to blast holes in the revered suit all the more difficult. Tradition and acquiesence are tough to break through. So the new shapes, choices of patterned fabrics and colors are all taking pokes at the armorial nature of the suit.
In the long run, I see the potency and relevance of the suit diminishing year by year as more businesses find it is needless, and often even counterproductive to insist on suiting for their employees. The rise of the importance of the IT community with its nearly kneejerk resistance to suits and dressing up erodes our dependence on suiting up, daily. Couple those things with the ever increasing casual nature of how people dress in general, and the days of the suit are coming to a close.