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Dress To Impress: A Guide For The Suit Newbie
how to wear a suit

Dress To Impress: A Guide For The Suit Newbie

Everyone looks good in a well-fitted suit; whether that be heading to a job interview at a solicitor’s office like Bannister Preston, you’re heading to a party which has a formal dress code or even just trying to look your best in day to day life. But if you’ve never worn a suit apart from at weddings and funerals, then you might not know where to start to set yourself apart from the crowd. Below is a brief guide to the things you need to know so you can look your best in a suit.


First things first. Let’s talk suits. In an ideal world, everyone would be able to afford a made-to-measure suit. However, most people tend to find the cost of quality off the rack suits a bit on the pricey side, let alone the cost of having something custom made to fit you. Buying a suit off the rack is perfectly acceptable and in many cases will fit just fine, but you will need to do a few checks to ensure that your new suit looks its best. Not many people will be able to tell a £100 suit from a £1000 suit, but the thing that makes a suit look expensive is how well it fits. Different makers will have slightly different cuts, so be sure to try on a few different brands when you’re out shopping. Avoid the more fashionable skinny fit suits as these are not as flattering to a variety of body shapes. Stick to a classic tailored cut for a timeless look. The most important part of the suit is the fit around the shoulders; everything else can be tailored to a certain extent. The shoulder pads should not sit out past your natural shoulder line, neither should they be so close fitting as to feel tight. Aim for the shoulder seam to roughly line up with where your collarbone meets your shoulder.


When buttoned up, the jacket should be snug across the chest without deforming the lapels. If you stand with your arms by your side, the jacket should come down to about the same level as your knuckles, and the sleeves should allow about half an inch of cuff to be visible. If you are quite slim or have a pronounced v-shape to your torso, you will likely need to have the jacket taken in at the waist. The jacket should not be too loose around your middle, or this can have the effect of squaring out your frame. The suit should aim to make your waist seem narrower than your shoulders. A two-button jacket is flattering for most shapes, and the deeper lapels help to create the appearance of a narrower waist. The bottom button should never be done up, but the top button should. A quality suit will actually be cut in a way that it hangs better with the bottom button undone.


Suit trousers should be worn on the waist, not on the hips. You may feel odd wearing your trousers this high when you are used to low rise jeans, but it will look much better. Make sure that the legs are the correct length, and if in doubt, take them to a tailor to be adjusted. Lots of excess material can make your whole outfit look messy.


With regards to colour and pattern. Stick with the basics, and you can’t go wrong. Charcoal, navy blue, or Cambridge grey are versatile and look good with most shapes and complexions. Avoid plain black as it can look a little too austere. As for patterns, plain colours are best if you’re not too sure, but pinstripes or a Prince of Wales check are classic styles that add a bit of personality. If you choose to go for a three-piece suit, ensure that the waistcoat covers the top of your trousers so that your shirt is never on display. It is also best to use braces with a three-piece suit, as a belt can cause the waistcoat to rumple up and not lie correctly.


White is the safest option, but a pale blue or pink are just as versatile. If you aren’t the most fashion savvy, then stick to plain colours as opposed to striped or checkered patterns. French cuffs add a level of flair and style that can really set an outfit off. Avoid shirts with breast pockets and instead opt for something tailored and, preferably, 100% cotton. Try to avoid button down collars as these are a bit more casual.


It has often been said that you can tell a lot about a man by his shoes, and a bad pair of shoes can ruin the look of a fantastic suit. Stick with black for formal occasions, but if you are wearing your suit for a general day at work or something more relaxed, then a dark brown will go just as well. Oxfords are the most formal style and always look good if they are polished and clean. Brogues are a bit more casual but offer a little bit of flair to an outfit without being too ostentatious. If you are feeling particularly bold, then a single or double monk strap may well be for you. Your shoes are the foundation of your outfit, so it’s important to spend some money to get quality. A good pair of leather shoes will last you many years, so see them as an investment. Look for brands that are shoemakers, not just a designer brand who have put their logo on some shoes.


This is where you start to really separate yourself from the crowd and gain the reputation of a well-dressed man. Your first port of call will be a tie, obviously. Avoid novelty or excessively loud designs, and try to buy real silk if possible. Plain colours work well with most outfits, as well as stripes. Foulard pattern ties and polka dots are also popular, and you could even go for a paisley pattern if you like the idea of something bold. The addition of a pocket square is a good idea, but it should never match your tie completely. Instead, try to find colours or patterns that complement your outfit. Cufflinks are a nice way to add a little uniqueness, as well as tie pins. Belts should be leather and match the colour of your shoes. If you are wearing braces, don’t wear a belt too. Braces are much more durable and better looking if you go for the button-on variety as opposed to clip-on.

There you have it, your basic style guide to looking your best in a suit. Whatever you choose to wear, be it subtle and understated or something a bit more outlandish, wear it with confidence and pride. Your confidence is the best accessory to go with your suit, so never leave it behind.