The suit is a staple in any mans wardrobe, even if your day to day dress code doesn’t dictate wearing a suit.
Although it’s one of the most important purchases it’s also one of the costliest, making most men avoid buying a suit altogether. The issue is we often fail to realise how versatile the suit is, thinking shirt and tie is the only companion.
In this feature I wanted to highlight just how versatile the suit is, taking one suit and showing you 4 ways to to wear it.
1. Dress It Up (Shirt & Tie)
The obvious option is to dress the suit up opting for a shirt and tie combination. Make sure you choose a combination that compliments the suit well.
Personally I dressed the suit up with a Navy Knitted Tie and a Pale Blue Dress Shirt, alongside layering with a Light Blue Cardigan.
The cardigan simply adds another layer to the outfit and considering it was a pretty cold day it added extra warmth. If the cardigan isn’t for you replacing it with a contrasting waistcoat will create the same effect but it will add more of a formal edge.
To pull this look off it’s all about the details, from the way you tie your tie to the pocket square fold the finer details in a formal outfit carry a lot of weight.
I used a simple four in hand knot focusing on getting the tie ‘dimple’ and used a simple puff fold for the silk pocket square. Sometimes keeping it simple is better, as overdoing it looks like you’ve tried too hard.
Last but not least I wore some Chocolate Brown Oxford Shoes and carried the essentials (laptop, notebook, book etc) in my Holdall.
Things To Consider
- Pay attention to the finer details (tie knot, pocket square fold, fit of the suit)
- The Shirt & Tie combination should compliment the suit
- Feel free to lose the Cardigan
- Replace the Cardigan with a contrasting Waistcoat to dress the outfit up further
2. Lose The Tie & Wear A Jumper
The shirt and tie combination is the most popular but of course it often isn’t needed. A job interview for a creative role might not require you to dress like a corporate trader, so losing the tie and wearing a jumper is another alternative to consider.
For this look you want to opt for a more casual shirt such as an Oxford Button Down, a Denim or a Chambray Shirt (as I’ve worn in the photos).
Wearing a button-down shirt (collars buttoned-down) will make this outfit easier to pull off as the collar will sit nicely underneath the jumper.
This John Smedley jumper in Charcoal contrasts nicely with the Navy suit and compliments the laptop holder. Tan double monk strap shoes add another casual element to the outfit and keeping the accessories to a minimum again make the outfit easy to achieve.
Things To Consider
- Add a pop of colour through the Jumper or Shirt
- Go for a V-Neck Jumper instead of a Crew Neck
- Chelsea Boots could add a casual edge to the outfit
- A roll neck instead of the shirt and jumper is simple but classy
3. Keep It Simple
This outfit is the simplest of the 4 and could be a go-to outfit for a variety of occassions. As with the second outfit I’ve simply just lost the jumper and gone for a simple shirt and suit combination.
A huge difference can be made to this outfit depending on what shirt you wear. This casual button-down dresses the outfit down but a crisp white dress shirt with a cutaway collar would increase the formality of the outfit.
I didn’t in the photos provided but adding a pocket square is advised as it will add some detailing to a very basic outfit.
Another option would be to keep the jacket unfastened but if you do make sure the shirt is well fitted and tucked in well.
Things To Consider
- This outfit is simple to pull off and suitable for numerous occassions
- A more formal dress shirt will dress the outfit up
- Adding subtle detailing through a pocket square is advised
- If you keep the jacket unfastened make sure the shirt is well fitted and is tucked in well
4. Dress It Down With Sneakers
This is the most casual look of them all and will probably be frowned upon by the traditionalists.
As we’re now seeing more suits being worn with sneakers this dressed down outfit is comfortable and perfect for a casual meeting or event.
No tie, no shirt, no layering, just a simple sweater being worn underneath the jacket. Sweater not for you? You could opt for a t-shirt or a polo shirt instead of the sweater.
I’ve kept it clean and simple with the sneakers opting for Jack Purcell Leather Converse in white but you could go for something with more of an edge such as New Balance with a pop of colour or a tennis shoe like the Adidas Stan Smith.
Keep the accessories to a minimum with this look as you want the attention to be drawn towards the simplicity, overdoing it with the accessories will make it look like you’ve tried too hard to pull off this effortless outfit.
Things To Consider
- White sneakers are easier to pull off, but don’t be afraid of adding a pop of colour
- Replace the sweater with a t-shirt or polo shirt
- Focus on the occasion, make sure the dress code doesn’t require something more formal
- Avoid overdoing it with the accessories, keep the overall outfit looking effortless
What To Look For In A Suit
So far in this feature I’ve shown you some alternative ways to wear the suit but this is simply scratching the surface. The suit can also be broken down wearing the suit trousers as part of another outfit alongside wearing the suit jacket as part of another outfit.
There are multiple ways to wear and break down the suit so even if you don’t tend to wear suiting daily, don’t think the investment isn’t worth it.
Now obviously choosing the right suit is important and here’s a few things to look out for.
Colour is the first thing to consider. A green tartan suit won’t be as versatile as the navy suit I’ve used for this feature so it’s important to choose the right suit. Navy and Charcoal (or a lighter grey) are your safest bet. The amount of wears you can get from a Navy or Charcoal suit makes the investment worthwhile.
Fabric is the other important thing to look for as a bad choice in fabric can not only look cheap but also won’t give you the longevity of a better fabric. Wool is the obvious choice with multiple weights to choose from dependent on personal preference. I personally love the feel, look and versatility of Flannel and recently invested in a Flannel Charcoal Suit.
If you live in a hotter climate a cotton or linen suit may be worth looking into. With fabric the key thing to consider is the quality, the comfort and the versatility.
Fit is the number one thing to consider when buying a suit as an ill fitting suit will look terrible whatever it’s worn with. If you buy your suit off the rack (from a store or brand) make sure you take it to a tailor or alteration service to get it altered to fit you.
Focus on the tapering of the jacket, the sleeve and leg length and you can also look into tapering the trousers, adjusting the rise and seat alongside other alterations if needed.
Don’t be afraid to spend a little more than you normally would on your suit as long as the quality is there. Hunting for a bargain and avoiding any of the above won’t give the versatility or longevity of a well fitted, well made suit.
How Do You Wear Your Suit?
So there we have it, that’s how to get the most out of your suit.
I want to know how you wear yours?
How would you dress it down and how would you dress it up?
Let me know in the comments below.
If this article helped don’t forget to share it with others.