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How To Dress Down A Suit

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At this time of year, learning how to dress down a suit can make all the difference when styling a smart casual outfit – perfect for after work drinks and garden parties in the sun.

Whilst suits are generally reserved for special occasions, there is no reason why you can’t look and feel great in a suit all summer by following these simple tips.

Dressing down a suit is perfect for weddings, interviews and even the odd date.

In this article we share with you the key principles to dressing down a suit.

Get The Right Fit

Firstly, you need to get a suit that fits perfectly – no matter what your budget is, if a suit doesn’t fit correctly it will let your entire outfit down.

Getting your suit tailored won’t break the bank, there’s a lot of tailored fitting suits you can buy off the rack and you can also opt for further adjustments.

When it comes to fit you want to focus on a few key areas. The sleeves of the jacket should show 1/2 an inch of shirt cuff, the waist should be taken in to compliment accentuate the shoulders and the trousers should break perfectly on the middle of the back of your shoes. For a more casual look, opt for a shorter leg length and an unfastened slim fit jacket.

matalan suit

Fit really is the key principle when wearing a suit, if it fails to fit it won’t look good. A £200 suit tailored to fit will look better than a £3,000 suit that’s ill fitting.

Keep It Simple

By taking away the rigidity of a classic three-piece suit, you can add in more casual pieces to create a relaxed and stylish finish. Team a blue suit with a plain t-shirt or lightweight jumper for an on trend and dapper look that you can carry from day to evening.

Menswear is all about keeping it simple and investing in timeless pieces. Not only will keeping it simple bring out your style it will also make things easier to get right.


To generate a polished look that can be recreated for any occasion, invest a little time in your accessories.

Learn how to fold a pocket square to add a pop of colour to a simple outfit that will showcase your individuality – for a complete tutorial on how to fold a pocket square, take a look at Matalan’s step by step guide here.

matalan suiting

Don’t overdo it with the accessories, they’re there to compliment your outfit not make it.


Alongside fit your choice of footwear is hugely important. It’s amazing what a good pair of shoes can do, and failing to choose the right pair can have a big impact on your overall outfit.

If you’re wearing a suit for a less formal occasion, then release yourself from the shackles of classic Oxford or Derby shoes and replace them with a pair of boat shoes or even trainers – this simple styling tip can transform a plain suit into a styling masterpiece.

Chelsea Boots will bridge the gap between formal and casual, and they can really add edge to a formal look.

The 80/20 Principle

To best dress down a look relate to the 80/20 principle. You want to keep your outfit 80% formal, 20% casual. Why? The casual elements will have more of an impact on the overall style, so focusing your attention on the formal side of things will allow you to master the smart casual look.

dress down a suit

A pair of jeans, sneakers, a t-shirt and even losing the tie can automatically dress down a suit. Therefore focus on the formal side of things and then add a casual item to bring the formality of the outfit right down.

If you command these simple steps, then you can rest assured that your summer wardrobe is covered from every angle. Refresh your wardrobe with crisp t-shirts, casual shoes and an array of accessories to dress down your favourite suit for a refined summer style that oozes sophistication and class.

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