Whether you’re heading to a wedding, a job interview, a meeting, or you just really like the idea of wearing a suit more often, it is a universal truth that everyone looks good in a suit.
However, some people manage to pull it off a little better than others, and the reason for this is the style choices they make. Notice the use of the word ‘style’ and not ‘fashion’. The key to looking good in a suit is to avoid fashion and focus on style. Style is what makes a suit look good whether you’re 20 or 60 years old. Below are the basic things you need to think about in order to make sure that when you throw your suit on, everyone looks at you and wonders where they’ve seen that movie star before.
The first step is to find the right suit for you; this will take a lot of time trying on lots of different off-the-rack options. But fit is the most important part of a suit. Even something relatively cheap can look good if it fits well. Ensure that it fits nicely across the chest and shoulders without being too tight, or too loose. The sleeves should allow for around half an inch of shirt cuff to be visible, and the waist of the suit jacket should hang close to your body when buttoned up. If you are slim or have a prominent v-shape to your torso, you will need to have it taken in by a tailor. Trousers should be long enough so that they rest gently on your shoes. Avoid ankle-bashers, even if it is the fashion now, and if your trousers are too long, get them seen to by a tailor. A very important note is that you should wear your trousers on your waist, not your hips. Usually, this means that the trousers should be resting about an inch below your belly button.
Aim for neutral colours like charcoal or navy (but not black, you’re not in the matrix, and you’re not going to a funeral), try to avoid any garish or outlandish patterns or materials in the early stages. Keep it simple. Pinstripes or a subtle check are fine. If you opt for a three-piece suit, you should always wear this with braces, as a belt can disrupt the fit of the waistcoat.
If in doubt, stick with a plain white shirt. Other safe options are blue and pink. Think pastel shades as opposed to bright colours. You could even pick up 4 shirts for £80 in the TM Lewin sale. Some people think that French cuffs are a little too formal, but they are a nice touch that can make the difference between looking like you’ve made a real effort and looking like you’re in a school uniform. Always buy 100% cotton and ensure that the shirt is as fitted as possible, you don’t want too much excess material around your waist as this can look untidy.
If you’ve watched Kingsmen: The Secret Service, you will know that a gentleman always wears oxfords, not brogues. However, if you’re not at a formal event, feel free to throw on a pair. Whatever style you choose, you should stick to black or brown leather. Avoid overly pale browns though. All shoes should have good quality round laces and be highly polished. Don’t let a fantastic outfit be let down by scuffed or mucky footwear.
The icing on the cake. Ties, pocket squares, cufflinks, tie clips, belts, braces, and watches. The choice is yours. There are plenty of tips for these but a few rules to note are: your tie and pocket square should never match, they should complement each other. Belts should be leather and match your shoes. Cufflinks and ties and be many and varied, but avoid excessively loud or novelty items.
A good watch can really set off an outfit, but avoid anything digital or casual in nature. Braces should never be worn with a belt and should never be the clip-on variety. Sew some buttons on the inside of your waistband and opt for the far more durable and traditional alternative.
There you have it, a basic guide to looking sharp in a suit. Follow these tips and you’ll be turning head wherever you go in no time.