So what are separates we hear you ask? Well, a separate is a semi smart outfit where the jacket and trousers don’t match. These outfits work great at smart/casual events, dress down Fridays and dates with that special someone. It is essentially a suit that is broken up between the jacket and the trousers, worn with (our favourite) a knitted tie, a separate is perfect for when you are unsure as to how formal to dress, as it can bridge the gap between smart and casual yet maintaining a sartorial edge.
What we are going to do in this article is show you how, with just three suits and a couple of extra pairs of trousers, a wealth of super stylish looks at your disposal.
The Navy Suit
We’re going to start with the first suit any man needs in their wardrobe, this is of course, the Navy Suit. More often than not, we see guys buying a black suit as their first, a big mistake in our eyes as it’s difficult to get a decent level of versatility out of it. For the navy we’ve chosen this suit from Reiss.
The Grey Suit
The second suit, The Grey Suit, is one any guy should purchase. If you were to have only two suits in your wardrobe make sure you go with Grey and Navy. Go with a mid to dark grey as it will give you an extra edge, anything too light runs the risk of looking washed out if paired with light trousers.
The Brown Suit
The next you should aim for is a checked suit, we’ve chosen this J.Crew suit in a fantastic brown. When you think brown suit your mind may jump straight to images of geography teachers, but trust us on this one, a brown suit is a great option to have at your disposal. We’ve killed two birds with one stone and gone with a brown checked suit.
The Colourful Suit
Let’s look at a couple of pieces you should have in your wardrobe, the next choices might be somewhat controversial, but we are big fans of coloured trousers. Having said that we much prefer trousers of more muted tones, so forget the day glo red trousers here. Great choices are green and red/burgundy as they both work incredibly well with the navy, grey and brown above. Again, if you can’t find formal trousers, go with some neat chinos.
So now you’ve got those pieces, how are you going to pair them together and what are you going to wear with them? We’re not going to go overboard with our pairing choices and will try and stick to two key shirts, three ties and two pairs of shoes that will again be very versatile and use them throughout the looks. With all of these looks, either nonchalantly pop in a patterned silk pocket square or go with a neatly folded white handkerchief, it will heighten the looks no end.
For look one, we are going in bold with our navy jacket and red chinos. Pair it with a white shirt (which you should all have in your wardrobe), burgundy tie and a neat cotton hankie for extra detail. It’s a brave look but wear it with confidence and you’ll wear it well.
We’ve chosen the brown jacket for this look, paired with the navy trouser from our suit. This time we’ve gone with another wardrobe essential, a pale blue shirt. We’re going to really accent the blazer by using blue as a tonal colour throughout, with the whole look anchored with a pair of brown brogue boots. To keep the tonal theme, find yourself a pocket square that ties in both the navy and the brown.
Pair up your grey jacket up with the dark green chinos. Accent the look by using the burgundy tie we used in look one. We can also use the white shirt again to great effect as all the focus will be on the tie. The brogue boots are going to look great as well. A green silk pocket square will work wonders here.
Back to the navy blazer, this time teamed up with the trousers from your grey suit. Your trusty white shirt will help neutralise the look as we’ve decided this time to go with a soft grey tie to match the trousers and a dark brown/red shoe, anchoring the lower half so the outfit doesn’t look too heavy. Go with a neatly folded white cotton hankie for this one to really sharpen things up.
Essentially this look is the same as look two, but we’ve completely changed the feel of it by using the grey blazer instead. Take hints from the look above and use your neat cotton handkerchief. This is a look that’s perfect for the office, but still has that stylish edge.
Using our trusty brown blazer, we’ve again used the red chinos to great effect. For this look choose your white shirt again, and pair it up with the grey knitted tie. The red chinos work wonders with the Dark brown/red hues of the monk straps. Throw in a paisley patterned burgundy pocket square to really set the outfit off.
To Wrap Up…
Here we’ve shown you how just using a few key suits, a couple of trousers, shirts and a few accessories and the limit to the amount of stylish looks you can create are endless. Separates are a fantastic way to spice up your office attire, look sartorially switched on at your next smart/casual event or even a job interview. We created six looks above, completely discounting using the full suit as an outfit, giving you nine go-to, ultra stylish looks. Grab yourself some of these key pieces and start creating!