Keeping track of all the style standards to follow might be difficult if you aren’t in a position where you must wear your best suits all of the time. Many of them are unsaid, and you only know about them if you’re doing it badly (because someone will tell you) or if you live and work as a fashion expert or follower.
To avoid this, we gathered the essential suit-wearing guidelines and compiled them in a condensed cheat sheet that you can quickly refer to whenever you’re neck-deep in a three-piece. Also, if you’re putting up a “suit wardrobe,” the good news is that you only need two basic suits that can be worn for every occasion.
These guidelines have exceptions and qualifications, so don’t think of them as the be-all and end-all. It’s essential to add some personality to your work.
To effectively wear a suit, you must first know its role and then understand the fit. When it comes to suits, most individuals should compromise but not break the rules. There are several perspectives on how history has treated trend-setters.
There’s a good chance you’ll come across some amusing photos of broken rules that never quite caught on. A suit is similar to a highly customizable uniform in many aspects, with a base set that must be adhered to. Look through these few easy guidelines and try to remember the majority of them.
The Basics of How to Wear a Suit
- It’s best if your belt is slim and the same color as your shoes.
- The color of your tie should always be more profound than the color of your dress shirt.
- The width of your tie bar should never be more comprehensive than the width of your tie.
- Keep the bottom button unbuttoned if you’re wearing a vest.
- If you don’t unbutton your suit before sitting down, it will be ruined.
- Before donning a new suit, remove the stitching on the vents and the label on the left sleeve.
- Never take the stitching out of your jacket pockets and never use them; they may easily stretch out and distort the entire suit.
The Finer Points of Wearing a Suit
- The width of your tie and the width of your lapel should be the same.
- Your tie should barely reach the top of your belt buckle or the waistline of your pants.
- Your suit jacket should be long enough to cover the zipper and butt of your pants.
- A two-button jacket’s top button (or a three-button jacket’s center button) should be at or above your navel.
- The cuffs of your sleeves should be visible for around half an inch.
- Make sure your socks are long enough to cover your entire leg when you sit down.
- A skilled tailor may transform a suit you adore but know won’t fit or feel the same way it did previously.
- A pocket square adds a touch of class, but make sure it doesn’t match the design or fabric of your tie.
- Thin lapels are considered more contemporary, while broad lapels are considered more traditional.
- Unless you’re attending a funeral or another similarly conservative occasion, choose a charcoal or gray suit over a black.
- The pant hem should hit just at the top of your shoe for a more fashionable look.
- When you’re not wearing a tie, keep your shirt collar on the small side.
- Double back vents are more stylish and contemporary.
- Excessive accessorizing should be avoided. You might want to reconsider that smart lapel pin if you’re already wearing a pocket square and a tie bar.
Shop Like a Pro
- Choose a fabric based on how often you’ll be wearing the outfit. A soft yet durable wool-like super 120 (a measure of yarn fineness) is the most flexible option; anything finer is too delicate for daily usage.
- When choosing a ready-to-wear suit, the first thing to look for is how the shoulders fit.
- An ill-fitting jacket may be identified by a collar gap between the lapels of your jacket and the collar of your shirt.
- A double-button, notched lapel jacket is appropriate for more sophisticated workwear.
- Choose a single-button, peak-lapel jacket for a more relaxed, contemporary style.
- You should be able to slide your hand between your chest and your buttoned jacket and feel comfortable but not confining.
- Pick-stitching (visible threads around the corners of your lapels) is no longer an indication of well-made clothing. They may, nevertheless, be an appealing decorative flourish if used sparingly.
Find a Suit That Fits You
Many men have no concerns about walking into a store and trying on a suit off the rack. This isn’t a movie, and things might turn out quite differently! It could fit decently off-the-rack in real life, but not fantastic.
Anyone may get a suit that fits well, but men who want to look like champions would never settle for less than the best. A frequent misunderstanding is that a suit must be quite tight to fit well.
This is when the suit measurements come into play. They’re the most effective approach to dispel that notion. An excellent suit for you will be well-fitting and provide much-needed breathing room in places where you need to move.
A suit tailored to your precise proportions is completely worthless on someone else’s body, which is why when purchasing off-the-rack suits, greater thought is given to balanced universal measurements. They won’t fit anyone unless they’re custom-made.
How to Wear a Suit Jacket
The suit jacket will have a precise button fastening, and the two sides will be perfectly aligned. It will also ensure that your jacket is wrinkle-free and lies flat on your shoulders.
When it comes to suit jacket length, it should reach your arm fingers when straightened up and cover your whole behind. Furthermore, the ideal jacket sleeve length leaves 14 to 12 inches of the dress shirt cuff visible beyond the jacket.
Finally, a well-fitting jacket collar will rest comfortably against the collar of your shirt.
How to Wear Suit Pants
The cloth on the backside of your trousers should seamlessly cover your rear end if you have the correct pants fit.
The legs of the pants should embrace your upper thigh without being too tight. Also, on either side of your thigh, you should be able to squeeze an inch.
The trouser break should be long enough for the shoe to rub against the cuff, giving a slight wrinkle.
Wear a Suit Fitted for You
Tailors aren’t the be-all and end-all, but they’re a close second. Take the time to learn your exact head-to-toe measurements. Without accurate measurement, finding the perfect suit size is impossible.
Tailors are used a lot for a reason: their adjustments are so exact that they are as close to perfection as possible. Investing in a tailored suit from a skilled tailor is one of the finest investments you can make in your wardrobe.
One thing to keep in mind is the difference between an off-the-rack suit and a custom suit. A custom suit is made to your exact specifications.
The only way to bring in a champion’s suit without spending a lot of money is to hire a skilled tailor. Anything less would be a waste of money and risk ruining an otherwise excellent suit.
Suit Color Combinations
The basic suit colors and foundation of black, charcoal grey, and navy blue are well-known.
But what about the colors that are brushed aside in favor of the foundation? Is it possible to mix and match these colors?
Starting with the first question, white should be used for the foundation. White is a great universal hue that combines well with black in many situations.
If you’re wearing a black suit and everyone thinks you’re going to a funeral, adding white accents could assist. With the addition of a white pocket square, you’ve got yourself a smart match.
When it comes to breaking away from the standard suit, shirt, and tie pairings, there is a wide range of options.
Consider medium grey as an alternative to grey, which can be a bit of a “grey” region. When paired with the rest of your wardrobe, this grey hue will provide the greatest support of all the grey tones.
Light grey is an option if you’re feeling daring but proceed with caution. Depending on the fabric, the term “light grey” can indicate a variety of things.
As a result, all materials and major brands have inconsistent tones.
Alternative Suit Colors
When stepping outside of the foundation, the lone wolf is the dark brown outfit. When done correctly, it is a warm, inviting, and simply stunning all-over hue.
However, much like white, too much of it may be distracting. When dealing with dark brown suits, personal skin tone must also be considered.
Are you willing to think beyond the box? Then a burgundy or maroon suit could be a good choice for you. Both are dark and rich royal hues. Many people think of them as an alternative, yet I believe they may be somewhat formal. They also look fantastic with tuxedos.
Finally, tan/khaki suits may be worn by men and women of all ages, and you don’t have to be over 70 to do so. The overall ensemble has a little push and pull, but the right person can make it work.
Matching Color Combination of Shoes & Suit
Matching the color of your shoes to the color of your suit is a lot more difficult and takes a lot more thought. Even if black is the go-to color, it isn’t true to state that it goes with everything. However, black is the least offensive color to pair with a suit.
Found the perfect color shoe to go with your suit, one that matches your belt and tie! Take a good look at the style; if it conflicts with the rest of the clothing, it might be a major issue.
Complete the occasion and formality color guide with suits and shoes.
There are many levels to dressing well, and the complexity of shoes is one of them. Taking the guesswork out of dress shoe combinations will make it easier to make the right choices. Your suits will all have a normal appearance, as well as an alternate combination and an experimental appearance.
All of these looks are perfect representations of you, but you can’t get there without putting in the effort to figure out the details.
Where to Wear a Suit
When selecting where to wear a suit, there are some obvious choices, such as job interviews, weddings, and business meetings.
On a business function, Harvey Specter wears a classic fit suit.
When it comes to an interview, an employer will almost never consider a person dressed down vs. one dressed up. This is due to the self-assurance that comes with wearing a suit.
Have a good understanding of what it takes to succeed. Anyone who walks into an interview looking like a champion will be put on the shortlist of applicants who will be hired.
A networking event differs in that it is necessary to move from one location to another to get employed. Wearing a non-restrictive suit and matching it with shoes is critical in this situation.
Dress shoes are not the claustrophobic vessels that many people believe them to be. Come out of the box as wearable as sports shoes, even without additional support.
Choosing premium brands such as Tom Ford or Ralph Lauren ensures comfort without sacrificing flair.
Several comparison tables to look at (the finest are onsite) illustrate how one brand compares to another. Just keep in mind that you want the most comfortable dress shoe possible for networking.
Where Should You Not Wear a Suit?
Wearing a suit in some situations can attract unwanted attention and make you stand out like a sore thumb.
Dive bars, children’s birthday parties, and, of course, any non-professional event requiring a lot of movement fall into this category.
Nobody goes to the gym in a tight-fitting suit without receiving a strange glance. That phrase isn’t supposed to be taken seriously, yet you’d be shocked how many guys wear suits to a party.
When it comes to avoiding a suit, the most important thing to remember is to constantly consider the people and the environment you’ll be around.
So, while a man in a suit can give a presentation in a professional environment, he isn’t the ideal person to spot at the gym.
Knowing what’s going on in your life can help you prepare and dress appropriately. It’s all about the event’s meaning and how you want to be seen by everyone participating.
Take it a step further and ascend into the role of leader, with everyone else utilizing the suit as their representative. Your example of organization will elevate your standing, and no one will be able to question your ambition as a result.
There are several advantages to adopting this mindset. However, it all begins with matching your suit, tie, shoes, and all other accessories to the occasion.
How To Wear A Suit Casually
Here are some ways to wear a suit casually:
How To Wear Single Breasted Suits
This is your typical beginner’s suit. A single-breasted two-piece is ready to go the distance and is the perfect basis for your suiting collection. It’s excellent for work, drinks, and special occasions alike. If this is your first purchase, choose navy or charcoal. These colors are less harsh than black and may be worn throughout the day or at night.
Nothing surpasses a traditional slim fit when it comes to tailoring. A decent jacket will hit the top of your thighs and cover your glutes. Similarly, the sleeve length should sit on the knobbly portion of your wrist, with about a centimeter of cuff showing. These are minor but significant touches that may elevate even a low-cost suit to a high-end look.
When it comes to manufacturing, natural fibers will breathe better and endure longer than synthetics. M.J. Bale, for example, is a great place to start your search, with their White Label version in an Indigo pin-dot fabric being a wardrobe staple.
How To Wear Double Breasted Suits
Unlike the double-breasted of the old, which had shoulder pads as broad as a carrier jet, today’s design is thinner and more attractive. They’re not for the faint of heart, though – a double-breasted suit makes a statement and requires some careful handling to avoid appearing like a big cat.
To begin, we advise staying away from strong pinstripes and checkered. These add a new level of flamboyance to an already extravagant look. Instead, seek textiles with unusual weaves and textures, such as flannel, to soften the overall effect. Due to the extra layer of cloth over your core, greys, and charcoals are ideal for the chilly months. Pair them with ties in a similar wintery color. Over a white sateen shirt, bold diagonal stripes in neutral colors look fantastic. Finish the look with a pair of gleaming brogues.
How To Wear Linen Suits
Linen suits have recently had a comeback in popularity due to their adaptation to hot climates and their versatility. This suit may be worn without a tie and with a plain poplin shirt for a summer wedding or as a three-piece with a woven silk tie for a formal event.
When choosing one, look for models that may be worn as a whole suit or as pieces. A blue chambray shirt, a pair of trousers and loafers, a stone-colored linen suit jacket looks fantastic. It may also be dressed up with a knitted tie and a pair of suede monk straps to look like a full suit.
Don’t be hesitant to experiment with mixed fabrics when it comes to fabrication. Linen suits that have been mixed with silk or cotton will wrinkle less and keep their structure better than pure linen suits.
How To Wear Slim Fit Suits
Many men are tempted to take suiting to new heights in terms of tailoring. It rarely works out. On the other hand, a skin-tight suit will appear overly tiny and will wear out in a matter of months. Instead, a suit’s fit, especially if it’s small, should be perceived to skim your body’s contours.
If you have a thing for the slender British mod look, certain high-street designers have a wonderful assortment that can be tailored to fit you just. Look at brands like Reiss and Sandro for high-quality versions, focusing on inky navy and black. These are timeless pieces that lend a touch of sartorial finesse to your ensemble.
How To Wear Unstructured Suits
Suiting standards are becoming more flexible as dress codes grow more casual. Previously, the idea of a suit without a canvas (the interior fabric that provides its shape) would have elicited guffaws, but it’s now quickly becoming standard.
An unstructured suit is distinguished by soft Naples style tailoring and is popular for its more relaxed look and feel. This is especially noticeable at the unpadded shoulder, which should gracefully fall from the collar.
This kind of suit looks great in either a solid color or a pattern. Checks or pale neutrals are wonderful approaches to enhancing your wardrobe if you’re searching for something a little more daring. To fully embody the essence of sprezzatura, pair them with a blouse or a good knit polo shirt.
How To Wear Relaxed Suits
The casual suit, which may be worn with shirts or t-shirts, is at the forefront of men’s suiting in many aspects. G-Star and Brunello Cucinelli, for example, sent models down the catwalk in jackets and pants that combined tailoring artistry with the edge of streetwear.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re going for this somewhat avant-garde style on your own. To begin with, an unstructured suit isn’t an excuse for shoddy tailoring. Ensure the jacket’s length is proportional to your body and that it seems relaxed rather than baggy. Second, experiment with size by wearing an unstructured suit. This is an excellent chance to try out alternative hem lengths and wider leg trousers. Finally, don’t be scared to dress it down with some sleek shoes and a simple shirt. The combination of a white top and a loose khaki suit exudes subtle elegance and calm.
It’s a wonderful match as long as you’re confident with the suit you’re wearing. Suits are supposed to give you confidence and make you feel good. Find the layer of your outfit that is causing you the greatest problems and assault it.
If it’s a little item, such as a belt, then congrats! You’re ahead of the game compared to millions of other males. Take the time to figure out what you don’t know, whether it’s something more exterior, like matching colors or styles.
Practice makes perfect, and this will be the start of a very successful relationship. So keep in mind that looking like a champion is all about image, and you’re in command of it.