Everyone reading this has a suit, you may just have the one, or you may have several. You may wear it once every couple of months or you may wear one every day but at some point we all need to pull on the formal garb. Be it a wedding, or for work, a funeral (morbid), a job interview or even if you’ve been a silly little boy and need to go see the magistrates. Regardless of the event, the suit can make or break you; the suit can set you apart from the rest, making you look like a pillar of the community if you get it right and a ruffian if you get it wrong. There isn’t much black magic or major voodoo involved when looking good in a suit, simply put; you just need to know your measurements. I’ve come up with a few rules to follow which should stand you in good form from now on.
Thank me later.
FIT FIT FIT. Know your measurements, if needs be, see a tailor who will measure you up, know the difference between a 42 Longs and a 38 Regular. Complement your figure, I don’t mean stand in the mirror and whisper sweet nothings to yourself but you should know your body shape intimately (steady on). For the slimmer man, a slim silhouette works perfectly, for the chunkier man, you will prefer a much more classic fit but you don’t want a suit to be too big or too small, it should fit like a glove, allowing ample room for movement. Too often I see the slimmer man wear a suit too big and the larger man wearing a suit too small.
The biggest of all sins, I cry every time I see this occurring, seriously, this menswear thing gets you all emotional. Please, for the love of god can we stop buttoning suit jackets like shirts.
2 Buttoned Jackets: Only fasten the top button.
3 Buttoned Jackets: The top one or two buttons.
Jacket with more than 3 buttons: You’ve got a coat on not a blazer.
Please do take heed of this, my tears are running dry.
Alter. A made to measure suit isn’t an option for everyone but we can all quite easily buy off the rack and go see a tailor and make some alterations. For a fraction of the price, you could have a high street suit looking like it’s been created by your own personal tailor. I assure you, the alterations made will make you feel like you have a totally different suit on.
Leg Warmers. We’ve talked a lot about part 1 of the suit, now let’s discuss part 2. A common mistake is buying trousers that are too long and baggy; flailing in the wind like sails on an Americas Cup yacht is not the one. Your trousers should never fall in a bunch around your shoe, the cuff should land just above your shoe, we like them slightly shorter then that to show some of our exquisite sock game but for the conservative bunch, use the top of your shoe as a marker (see image below). If needs be, go see a handy tailor who can make all the right alterations.
The others. If you want to wear a suit, you’ll need a shirt and most probably a tie too unless you want to look like Detective Crockett from Miami Vice (chest out). A crisp white shirt can never go wrong, regardless of suit colour. Know your collar size, with the top button fastened, the shirt collar should wrap snugly around the neck, if you begin to choke or go purple, it’s too tight. With the tie, there’s so many different styles, I could write a 1000 page manual to tell you what is right and wrong. Easier option; see below for a few images of how it’s done right. In terms of tie knots, for me, the four in a hand is the greatest knot that ever will be; it’s a perennial classic that always oozes Sprezzatura.
Note: Contrary to popular belief, your tie and pocket square do not have to match, so don’t be buying your square with the same design as your tie, it’s lazy and you can do better. If you are wearing a white shirt then a white pocket square is always a safe option but you can pick a colour from your tie and match with that.
Once you feel you’ve got the suiting down and you feel comfortable, throw a bit of Sprezz in for added measure.
If you have any queries or anything else to add, give me a shout in the comments below and we’ll argue for a while.