There’s a common misconception that men need to break the bank to pull off a great suiting look, but that’s simply not the case. In this post, we’ll show you that looking good in a suit doesn’t require a boatload of money. It calls for a little bit of knowledge and a lot of style.
The Perfect Jacket Fit
If you want to look great in your suit without shelling out all your cash, focus on the fit. Fit is a defining factor that can make a $200 suit look like a million bucks and vice versa.
The lion’s share of your attention should go towards the jacket. Start with an analysis of the shoulders. The shoulder seam should fall in line with your shoulder bone. This keeps the top of the sleeve from bunching up or wrinkling around your shoulder.
Next, you should access the closure. When you button your jacket, it should rest atop your torso. It shouldn’t hug your body or cause the buttons to pull. It also shouldn’t droop. You should be able to move without feeling restricted.
Lastly, be sure to check the length of your jacket. Your sleeves should hit right at your wrist bone, allowing for a half-inch of shirt cuff to show. The bottom hem of your jacket should fall in the tiny space between your waist and the top of your buttocks.
These are all benchmarks of a well-fitted suit jacket. As this is the first piece most people will see, it’s crucial to get these details correct. Slim suits will generally steer you in the right direction and save you the trouble of trying on dozens of options. With the perfect jacket, more than half the battle is already won.
Don’t Forget the Trousers
Though your blazer will require the most scrutiny, you can’t forget about your pants. The seat of your pants shouldn’t wrap too tightly around your rear or hang loosely. It should lay smooth and neat.
Additionally, the pant legs should have a slight or medium break. The break is the bunching of fabric just above your leg opening. Your pant leg should rest on the top of your shoe with just enough break to see a small crease. An aggressive bunching here is an indication that your pants are too big.
The Right Shirt & Shoes
A great dress shirt and a sleek pair of dress shoes can help your new suit reach its full potential.
Concerning shirts, you should wear an option that’s 100% cotton. It’s a breathable and durable material that pairs back to every suit material well. Regardless of the price of the suit you pair it with, it will instantly elevate your style.
Stick with solid colors like white, light blue and soft pink. These colors allow for more variety when matching accessories like ties and pocket squares. Plus, they’re interchangeable with various suit colors.
Let’s say you’ve just purchased a Slim Fit Pinstripe 2-Piece Suit. Your white, light blue and soft pink shirts all work here because they’re relatively neutral and don’t distract from the suit’s subtle pinstripe pattern.
With shoes, you have the freedom to choose any style as long as it’s geared toward formal or semi-formal looks. Brogues, oxfords, wingtips and even derby shoes can add an element of sophistication to your suit. But make sure they’re in excellent shape. For your shoes to work their magic, they need to be shined and crisp. They should complement your look—not distract from it.
Select the Right Accessories
One of the easiest and most affordable ways to add personality to your suiting look is through your accessories. Lately, the most stylish men around have been foregoing the tie altogether.
However, if your objective is to create an ensemble that presents your suit in the best light, you should pass on the air tie. Instead, select a pattern that injects some life into your look.
Choose something classic like horizontal stripes or polka dots and be sure to include a color that’s repeated somewhere else in your look. For example, if you’re wearing a Traditional 2-Piece Grey Suit, you could pair it back to a navy blue tie with subtle grey polka dots.
Your pocket square also presents an opportunity to turn up the style quotient. A classic white square in a presidential (or square) fold looks great within any color scheme. Think Don Draper from Mad Men—it was the details that brought his suits to life. This pocket square, both its color and fold, was a focal point of his signature look.
Caring for Your Suit
Looking good in a suit isn’t just about how you wear it; it’s about how you care for it. Whether you’re wearing a suit to the office every day or breaking it out for special occasions, it goes through a lot of wear and tear. How you take care of your suit will determine how great it looks on each wear and how long it lasts.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to dry clean it after every wear unless you’ve spilled something on it that needs to be removed or you’ve sweated profusely while wearing it. Dry cleaning does a number on suits and wears down the fabric. If you’re worried about a lingering funk, let your suit air out in the bathroom while you shower or isolate it in a special corner of your closet.
When it’s time to press it before your next wear, use a steamer instead of an iron. Irons can actually burn the suit fibers and remove some of the sheen that gives your suit its elegance. A great steamer can knock out the wrinkles without touching the fabric.
Most important, make sure you hang your suit on a shouldered wooden hanger. This will keep your suit in tip top shape without causing any undue creases or bumps in the jacket shoulders.
Looking good in a suit isn’t about emptying your wallet. Even the most expensive suits on the market can look bad if the fit is poor or the accessory pairings are awkwardly matched. It’s okay to go light on your suiting purchase if you invest your energy in the finer details.