Editor: Katerina Theocharis
To break the rules, you must first master them.
Class, distinction, finesse, eminence are only some of what proper suiting evokes and let us be frank, suits are objectively brilliant things to wear. They’re versatile, smart, flattering for pretty much any body type, they’ve got a serious amount of pockets… they’re everything a man expects of a garment that has been tinkered with, refined and reinvented again and again over the course of the last century.
And yet, in order to dress up, paying each suit the tribute it deserves, several small (but significant) standards are to be taken into consideration.
The fitting can make or break a suit.
Fit from the shoulder first, look for a neat waist and a slim sleeve. These are three key elements you need to know. Even if you are not into bespoke or made-to-measure tailoring, go for a suit that accurately matches your size. Trousers should always fall gracefully against the shoe. Mind that the front crease breaks a few inches up the calf.
Sleeves should be neither too long, nor too short. There should always be a little bit of room with a waistband and trousers should fit snugly across the hips. You don’t want an uncomfortable waistband that does not let you breathe. Customizing a suit is always a good idea if it doesn’t fit perfectly. Slim fit suits are usually flattering, but only if they are your size and do not look too tight.
Always remove the brand tag off the sleeve. Although some gents go on believing the label is present to showcase the label of their tailor or the brand, it is actually a way for the sales assistants to tell each piece apart from the rest. You do not wish to downgrade your class and authority.
Leaving the bottom button of your jacket open will ensure the proper fit. When seated remember to unbutton your jacket.
Make sure your socks are long enough to cover your skin when you are seated.
Go for mid-calf or over the calf socks with your suit, unless you plan to wear the no-show type. Mix it up if you like. Use solid or color-blocked socks to add a sartorial flair to your look. Bold toned socks are the easiest way to dip your toe into thoughtful accessorizing. The next safe bet after colored solids are stripes, polka dots or argylem but when it comes to black tie, color can look out of place, so go strictly for black.
There aren’t many hard-and-fast rules when it comes to menswear, but where suiting is involved matching your belt to your shoes definitely seems to be one of them. A black belt would be incompatible with a pair of brown shoes.
Balance is the key to a flawless appearance.
When it comes to choosing the right ties remember that the width of your tie should match the width of your suit’s lapel, and reach your waistband or be slightly shorter.
Formalwear calls for ties that are darker than your shirt. If you are getting your evening suiting game on, choose a solid tie, ideally a dark one.
Wear your tie bar properly. First, make sure that the tie bar isn’t wider than your tie. Then, fasten it straight, never at an angle. The perfect placement for a tie bar is between the 3rd and the 4th shirt button.
Avoid looking too conservative when wearing a pocket square.
Wear one that does not exactly match your tie in color, pattern or material. Just like with socks, you can experiment on your pochette and tie for a more creative and sartorial look.
It may be tempting to treat details as an afterthought, but they provide a neat result to perfect suiting and can command considerable attention. Buy thoughtfully and treat them gracefully, and as Hardy Amies once said:
“A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.”