Suit etiquette 101: How to wear your suit with style!
Lucy Fieldhouse | 23rd November 2021
According to a new study, the fine art of suit etiquette is dying off among modern men with many blissfully unware of simple rules such as how long their tie should be.
Researchers found that four in 10 men regularly commit a workwear faux pas, such as wearing a belt with braces and mismatching tie and suit colours.
The number one mistake is to fasten the bottom button on a blazer, when style says it should always be left undone.
Other rules are less obvious and little-known – such as the width of the tie should match the width of the lapel.
And when it comes to the question of tie length, many men are unaware that the tip should just about cover the belt buckle but go no further.
Not wearing a light pocket square with a dark suit and removing the stitching are other common subtle mistakes men have made when dressing to impress.
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The research was commissioned by Suit Direct, which has teamed up with style experts to issue a new guide in a bid to preserve the finer details of formal dresswear.
Top stylist Benedict Browne, explains: “While many of the rules to wearing a suit might be subtle, they can really play a big part in bringing the whole look together.
“Unfortunately, wearing a suit isn’t as simple as throwing on a three-piece, but by considering the right elements, you will always look the part.
“Getting dressed up is a brilliant way to boost your confidence and your mood – and there’s no better time to do it when the weather is turning dark and damp.
“Wearing a well-fitted and pin-sharp suit is a guaranteed way to inject a bit of glamour and attitude to any event you might be attending.”
Man in suit with style. Credit: Suit Direct.
The average man currently has three suits in their wardrobe, and they typically have a shelf life of six years before they are moved on.
Almost a third (31 per cent) acknowledge they need replacing because they are ‘outdated’.
However, more than a quarter (27 per cent) of men will replace their old suit because they want something new for a special occasion.
Attending a wedding and job interviews rank highest as the occasions that men bring out their suits, while almost four in 10 (38 per cent) will ensure that they look the part for an important meeting at work.
The survey went on to reveal that throughout their adult life, men own six suits in total and it is at the tender age of 21, on average, that they own their first.
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Suit etiquette 101
Top tips for wearing your suit with style and confidence…
To tie or not to tie? – Up to you, ties are not a necessity to create a smart suiting look!
A smart dress shirt paired with a neutral-coloured suit will give a sleek, tailored look.
But there is also a time and a place for a tie if you want to take your look to the next level.
Should you accessorise? – Accessories such as a bold tie or bright pair of socks can add personality to a final look.
Think of your suit as the starting point and build from there.
Choose accessories that compliment your suit and your personality!
The key thing to remember is that less is more. Stick with one or two statement pieces or a simple piece of jewellery to complete the look!
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Layers, layers, layers – Adding a smart waistcoat or overcoat over a suit adds an extra level of sophistication.
A waistcoat completes a three-piece suit but it also looks great on its own when the jacket comes off.
The belt and shoes rule – The unspoken rule is that your belt and shoes should match.
This gives a polished and complete look and doesn’t draw unnecessary attention to either the belt or the shoe.
So, when wearing a suit, we’d recommend pairing a leather belt with a leather shoe of the same colour – typically black or brown.
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Button etiquette – The last button on your suit jacket should always be open giving a smart, relaxed aesthetic.
Don’t forget to unfasten the top button when you sit down so that the suit jacket will fall naturally around your waist.
And always keep the top button of a smart shirt buttoned-up when wearing a tie.
How should the suit feel? – For dress shirts it should have a tailored look but should never feel too tight or uncomfortable and the collar should never look or feel like it’s choking you.
Make sure you find a suit that fits you well – enlist the help of a tailor to ensure that the suit matches your measurements.
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What about pocket squares? – Pocket squares should be a standalone look and should not match your tie.
If you’re wearing a darker suit, we’d recommend a lighter pocket square and vice versa.
The key thing to remember with pocket squares is that they are meant to add flair to the suit so it’s alright if they stand out.
Line it up with the belt! – Both your tie and waist coat should line up with the top of your belt and not go any lower for a polished and slick look.