How to wear a suit – 10 rules every man should know

man wearing a blue suit and grey waiscoat and gold tie and pocket square looking to his side

So here I am sitting in my office thinking, ‘what should be my next blog’ for Me My Suit and Tie. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been a long day and this coffee, which I think is my twelfth or thirteenth cup today, isn’t having the desired effect that I had hoped for. Luckily for me though, there is something that really does excite me and suddenly I feel as energised as a small boy on Christmas morning … or maybe that’s just the caffeine kicking in after all.

I clearly love suits. in fact, I have a few that I hold so dear to me that I would save them first over my family and friends if a fire broke out at my house. Sure, I would feel awful at their funerals but at least I would be the best dressed there. Silver lining and all that (which ironically is the lining in one of the suits I would save).

Those of us who wear suits on a regular basis, whether for work or for socialising, have our own ways of wearing them.

There are however a few rules that I personally never break and I am going to share my top 10 with you.

1. The Suit’s Fit

If I could only draw your attention to one thing about a suit, it would be the suit’s fit. The fit is everything and I really mean everything. The shoulders of your suit should hug your own shoulders, there should be no gap between the collar of your shirt and the collar of your jacket, and ideally, the jacket sleeves should be about a half-inch shorter than your shirt sleeves. Anything else and the jacket is too big for you. Looking like you’re a ten year old, wearing your dad’s suit is never a good look, regardless of how much it cost.

 

But be careful not to go too far the other way. Skinny fit suits are pretty popular at the moment and can look good, but you should always be able to button the jacket and still fit your hand comfortably between the breast and your shirt.

 

For a more in depth breakdown on how a suit should fit, check out my blog 9 STEPS TO A SUIT THAT FITS

2. A Smart Pair of Shoes

What shoes you wear can either make or break your outfit. Wearing the right pair of smart shoes is like having a solid foundation for you to build upon. Just make sure they are polished and their colour compliments your suit.

My blog, WHAT COLOUR SHOES SHOULD YOU BE WEARING WITH YOUR SUIT? will help with choosing the right colour combination.

3. The Pocket Square

Personally, I can’t remember the last time I wore a suit or blazer without a pocket square. The right pocket square will completely make any suit, regardless of whether you’re wearing a tie or not. I almost feel that you have a pocket there for a reason and the opportunity to add detail and individuality to your suit jacket is too good to miss.

4. The Cuffs of a Shirt

Just a few simple rules in regards to cuffs. They should always be clean, pressed and always about an inch from the sleeve of the jacket. Your shirt cuffs should be narrow enough that they rest just on the top of your hands at the start of your thumb. Personally, I prefer double cuffs but this is just a personal preference. A good rule of thumb is that if you can fit your hand through the cuff when it’s buttoned or fastened with cuff links, then it’s too wide.

5. An Elegant Wrist Watch

It’s easy. The price of the wrist watch isn’t important. It just needs to be simple and elegant. I prefer some of the Daniel Wellington watches to a Bell & Ross when wearing a suit. Whatever your choice, just remember to keep it simple and elegant. I would also consider the colour of your shoes when deciding what watch to wear and try to match accordingly. Brown shoes, brown leather strap or gold. Black shoes, black leather strap or silver etc…

6. The Knot of a Tie

The knot you use on your tie is important. It should reflect the collar of your shirt and the size of your head. I use a half Windsor knot most days. There was a time many years ago in my early twenties when huge Full Windsor knots were the fashion. Taken on by mainly footballers with dodgy hairstyle, this trend faded about 10 years ago and has since been replaced with a much simpler, cleaner knot like the Four in Hand or Prince Albert.

How to wear a tie is worth a read if you’re still not sure.

me-my-suit-and-tie-style-box-geospring-silk-gold-tie-for-men

7. Trouser Length

This one is all about your fashion preferences, but what I would say is that your trouser length should never be too long or short. A little dimple or ‘break’ is just right no more. I will fold them up if I am wearing a summer suit and no socks, but this is the only time my ankles would be on show when standing up.

8. Suit Socks

Okay, if you were to meet my friends, they would tell you that I am a little wild on when it comes to my taste in socks, as I like my socks to be like the lining of my jacket.They for me at least, are a little glimpse into the inner child, the playful side. Have fun with your socks. Just never wear white, unless you plan on imitating Michael Jackson.

Also, make sure your socks are long enough. You go through all the effort and actually look pretty bad-ass in your suit, then suddenly you sit down and everyone can see your hairy legs between your socks and your trousers.  And if you want to make your legs look longer, wear socks that are the same colour as your trousers.

blue socks with red spots

socks green stripe

socks tobacco brown stripe

red sock with white polka dot

9. The Belt

This one is very simple. If you are wearing a belt with your suit, match it to the colour of your shoes. Also, if you are wearing braces, don’t wear a belt. The idea behind braces is to keep your trousers up, like a belt, so if you wear both at the same time one of them is obviously redundant.

10. Tie Length

In terms of tie length, mid buckle is the longest your tie should be and an inch above the top of the buckle is the shortest, (an inch from the top is not recommended for formal occasions).

If you have to tie it ten times to get it right, then do so as it’s that important. If you can see any shirt buttons between the end of your tie and the waistband of your trousers, then it is too short.

Conclusion

These are my preferences, while some of these rules are generally accepted as universally true, the rest are just conjecture, left to the personal opinion of the wearer.

Remember that when you wear a suit, it should feel like you are empowered. Enjoy it, play with it and figure out what you feel is your comfort zone.

Use these 10 tips to get the best out of your suit or don’t, it’s up to you … I’m off for another cup of coffee.

4 thoughts on “How to wear a suit – 10 rules every man should know

  1. Congrats on your first post. Love the sentiments. Bring back the suit! Men have descended into grubby casual attire in work; a suit when worn with style and confidence is a real joy to behold. So much more fetching than sharing flesh and flippant fashion.
    I’d add the choice of suit material to your excellent list. What do you reckon? What’s your suggested best suit material?

    Oh – and good luck with your enterprise.

    All the best – in suits and life 🙂

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I couldn’t have described the current state of mens attire in work better, long live the welldressed man.

      Normally I would 100% talk materials but as it is a mine field and i wanted to keep this to more of an introduction than a comprehensive list.

      But i will definitely be doing a whole blog on material, the best and the worst of them.

      Thank you for your feed back.

      Paul

  2. thanks Paul. I have a teen son who loves looking sharp. Suit beckons…

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