So you have an amazing suit. The fit couldn’t be better and the material is so good you almost want to wear it inside out so that the rest of the word can see the label. You are now, rightfully so, awaiting the phone call asking you to be the next James Bond. However, there is so much more to looking great in a suit than just putting on a great suit. It is also about how you wear it. To make sure you avoid ruining the look of your beautiful garment and in preparation for 007, follow these 5 quick suit etiquette tips.
1. Bottom button
The rule of the bottom button is applicable to everyone who puts on a suit jacket. It is probably my biggest pet hate and therefore, earns the right to be number 1 on my list.
The rule is simple, You should never button up your bottom button. There you go, it doesn’t get any easier than that. If you are wearing a two button jacket then you should fasten the top button and leave the bottom unfastened. If it is a three button jacket then the top two buttons should be fastened and the bottom button, yes you guessed it, should be always left undone.
This rule should also be followed when wearing a waistcoat or vest. For a more in-depth analysis of my strong resentment to this, and the history of its origin, have a look at my blog - Why I hate the bottom button for more information.
The only time it differs it when it is a single or one buttoned jacket. As there is no top button or bottom button this rule is not applicable.
2. Belt shoe match
Another offensively simple rule you should follow is that the colour of your shoes and belt should match. Black shoes = Black Belt or Brown shoes = Brown belt. This admittedly is more of a personal preference than an actual rule. It is, however, a great way to ensure that your outfit ties together nicely. For that little-added touch wear a watch that also matches in colour.
3. Tie lapel match
The width of your lapel should be the same as the width of your tie. This will ensure that the proportions of your outfit match. A skinny tie with a thin lapel is a much better option than a wide lapel. Equally a wider tie will look too overpowering if added to a jacket with a thin lapel.
4. Over complicating an outfit - too fussy
Accessories are a great way to add detail and personality to your outfit but you can often run the risk of stimulating headaches to whoever lays eyes on it. Try not to shoehorn every accessory you own into your outfit. Equally, if you have a bold coloured or patterned jacket, look to wear a simple, plain shirt and tie so not to have too much going on at the same time.
A tie and a pocket square are always safe as long as you don’t match both in terms of colour and pattern. After your tie/pocket square combination is selected you can look at adding a collar bar, lapel pin or maybe a tie bar. If you wear all three is is almost certainly going to be too much, try opt for one. Use this as a rule of thumb although you can sometimes get away with two as long as one of the items is small or plain.
5. Shirt cuff
There should always be half an inch of shirt cuff visible from under your jacket sleeve. This, of course, relies on your jacket arms being the right length. The sleeves of your jacket should reach your wrist bone or the point where your thumb meets your wrist.
So that is Me My Suit & Tie’s 5 rules of suit etiquette. There are loads more and I am sure I will be highlighting the rest in the near future. This list is a good start though and by following it you can be sure that the main faux pas will be avoided.
Oh and remember Bond… The devil is in the detail.