How To Wear a Suit: Rules and Styles To Keep You Relevant
When it comes to wearing a suit, it can actually be quite overwhelming if you don’t know how to style it. And while there are tons of formal wear options nowadays, it can be hard to figure out what exactly is in style, what’s going to make you look sloppy or mismatched, and what’s going to take your look to the next level.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect suit for upcoming holiday events or just need to update what you’re currently working with, we’ve got you covered with all the tips, tricks, rules, and styles to help you look your best.
Not all suit colors are created equally, folks. While you may think a black suit is a great idea for a catch-all formal wear outfit, you should actually skip this color, unless you’re going to a funeral. Try a grey, charcoal, or navy suit instead, as they are more versatile than an all-black getup. Grey or navy suits can work across multiple occasions, from weddings to important boardroom meetings, and gives your formal ensemble more of a welcoming – and incredibly stylish – vibe.
Your options aren’t limited to just solid colors, though. A patterned suit can be just as, if not more, stylish than its plain counterpart. Houndstooth, pinstripe, and plaid patterns are all great options for suits and never go out of style.
Get It Tailored
The absolute most important thing you need to remember when it comes to suits is to get them tailored! Under no circumstances should you just buy a suit and wear it off the lot without any alterations. A good tailor will make you look like a million bucks in your suit, so scope out the best one in your area before wearing it to your event.
Pants, Shirts, and Vests
As far as pants go, you want to stay away from pleats, as they make you look shorter, heavier, and overall, a little sloppy. Opt for flat-front pants for a more streamlined look, and most importantly, make sure they fit properly. Remember, when it comes to suits, your neighborhood tailor will be your best friend.
You can never go wrong with a crisp white shirt under a suit coat – it’s timeless, classy, and will always match whatever suit color you have. Regardless of whatever color shirt you go with, it’s important to get a form-fitting undershirt to wear underneath it. Also, your shirt shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. If you’re looking to up the formality of your suit, you can always add a vest; however, vests are not a required part of the outfit.
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Belts, Shoes, and Socks
It’s important to not overlook the accessories for your suit – belts, shoes, and socks are just as important as your pants, shirt, and suit coat. One easy rule to remember that will make your outfit look cohesive is that you should match your belt to your shoes; for example, if you’re wearing a brown leather belt, opt for dress shoes, like Oxfords or brogues, in a similar hue.
As far as socks go, you want to make sure they are long enough so that when you are sitting down, no part of your legs show. An easy way to test out if the length of your socks is the right length is by simply sitting down and crossing your legs both ways to see if any skin shows. If you can see any part of your legs, grab some longer socks, and never, ever wear white socks with a suit, or no socks at all.
Ties and Pocket Squares
One rule of thumb that you should always follow is that your tie should be darker than your shirt. For example, if you’re wearing a black shirt with a yellow tie, you’ll look like you’re heading to your 2006 prom – and no one wants to look like that. Another thing to remember when picking out the right tie to wear with your suit is the length of your tie; it should hit at the top of your belt buckle or at the waistband of your pants. Width-wise, you’re gonna want to make sure that your tie is about the same width as the lapel on your suit jacket.
Adding a pocket square is not only a chance to put a little bit of flavor to your formal look but also a way to complete your outfit. It’s important to remember that your pocket square should not match your tie in color, pattern, or fabric, but rather complement it.
When In Doubt, Keep It Simple
Another important rule of rocking the perfect suit is to just keep it simple. If you’re trying to mix and match colors, patterns, styles, etc., you may end up looking more like a clown than a dapper young man. A clean, simple, and streamlined formal look will always be sophisticated and classy.
Tips and Tricks
- Cover your tie and collar: your tie should never hang below your suit jacket, and you should cover your collar with the lapel of your suit jacket.
- Unbutton your suit coat when sitting down.
- Cut your suit: sometimes, parts of a suit, like the vents and sometimes the pockets, will be sewn together with thread; carefully snip those threads to open up anything that may be stitched closed. If you’re unsure and don’t want to ruin your new suit, take it to a tailor or a professional to make sure everything’s the way it’s supposed to be.
- Thin lapels are considered more modern, while wide lapels are a bit more, how to say, dated and slightly out of style (but to each their own).
- Check the fit of the shoulders on your suit coat – too wide and you’ll look like you’re a 12-year-old kid borrowing his dad’s suit; too tight and you’ll like you’re trying to squeeze into the suit you had when you were a teen.
- Your shirt cuffs should stick out about a half of an inch from your coat.
See more about - What Is Formal Attire?