by Justine P. Castellon
There are some rules that have exceptions, such as the rule that a man’s socks should match the color of his pants. Then there are some rules that are immutable, like the one that you should match the metal of the bit on your loafer with the buckle on your belt. Especially for men’s suit – some men can throw on an expensive three-piece but still feel feel stodgy or too suity, while others manage to feel at ease and confident with inexpensive ones. Do not fret; there is no sartorial crisis so confounding that simply following these 10 immutable rules in wearing a suit cannot solve it.
First thing, first: fit is everything. Even the world’s most expensive suit will look bad if it isn’t tailored to the contours of your body. What a good fit looks like? When you try on a suit, you’re looking for a good fit in what’s called your natural stance. That means standing up straight, preferably in the kind of dress shoes you’ll be wearing with your suits, with your arms relaxed at your side. It’s not actually a very natural posture for a lot of us, but it is the base from which most of our movement flows. If the suit doesn’t fit well in this stance, it’s not going to move comfortably with your body either.
Some think button-down collars are for casual wear only, but they can work great with dressier looks as well. Make sure that the buttons that hold down a button down collar are smaller than shirtfront and cuff buttons. They should be about the same size as sleeve gauntlet buttons. While button-down collars are completely flexible in application, do not wear them with a double-breasted suit. These suits are by nature dressier than single breasted, and it would be a fashion blunder to mix the informal collar with the dressy suit.
Polka dots are a great way to bring energy to a suit. Make sure they’re big enough to be recognizable, but not so large that they’re goofy.
If the checks on your suit are smaller, make sure your polka dot tie has smaller dots.
It is best if you stick to two patterns across your suit, shirt and tie – a pinstripe suit and a polka-dot tie need a plain shirt as background.
A tried-and-true pattern like herringbone or glen plaid in a muted shade makes an impression without crossing into the realm of garishness. Also known as Prince of Wales check, glen plaid is a woolen fabric characterized by a woven twill design composed of small and large checks. Glen plaid is generally made of black/grey and white, but sometimes it is made with more muted colors. On the other hand, the herringbone pattern is a v-shaped weaving pattern. Make sure you don’t mix these with another small pattern, as you will lose the polished look
Pick- stitching or the visible stitches around the edges of your lapels aren’t necessarily a sign of a well-made garment anymore. However, they can be an attractive decorative flourish—as long as they’re subtle. Most importantly, contrast stitching has no place in a suit!
Some think three-pieces are stodgy, but when the waistcoat is cut close to the body and hemmed to the belt line, you’ll look slim and modern. Besides, a three piece suit is one of the most useful and versatile items a man can own — it may in fact be the most useful. The added vest (that makes a two piece a three piece) allows for a few more combinations that are not possible with the more common two piece suit. Although a three piece suit is typically a bit of a statement, it does not always have to be so. It is important to realize that just because you have the vest to make a suit a three piece, does not always mean you should wear it.
Your tie bar should never be wider than your tie, so keep things narrow. Similarly, we see guys wearing their tie bar too high or too low all the time. The rule is simple: It goes between the third and fourth buttons of your dress shirt.
Always unfasten your jacket buttons when you sit down. No exceptions. Always remember this: it should be buttoned while standing and undone when you sit down. Leaving it buttoned can stress the fabric and make the jacket feel a bit uncomfortable. Relax and loosen that button once you have a seat.
Tailoring your pants a little bit short will add distinctiveness to your simple look. Need I say more?
It’s acceptable to flip up the collar of a casual cotton jacket, but when you’re dressed more formally, you should always leave the collar down. However, always bear in mind that a tucked-in collar looks is always better with any suit — it gives you a neater, sharper look.