For some, the start of a new year means a new wardrobe. For others, its time to start using your wardrobe in new and creative ways. For the rest, well, I don’t know what they do, but I’m sure that its just as equally important! No judgement if you are nudest and will be wearing the exact same thing this year that you did last……you look great!
One thing that fascinates me about fashion and style is how one outfit can look impeccable on one person and absolutely non-complimentary to another. I first off believe that it is because WE wear the clothes, and half of the outfits that we put on are the personality that we put into them. Wait, you didn’t know attitude was an accessory? Best part is, you can never forget it at home and it always matches!
One year ago I did not own a suit. I have owned suits in the past, but after growing out of my “College Interview Suit” I opted to move towards the blazer and non-matching (but obviously complimenting) pants ensemble. Come on, I was a stage manger and spend the majority of my time either in Black clothing, jeans, or pajamas and didn’t have the need (or the resources) to purchase a brand new suit. When I finally decided it was time to own a suit, I decided to have one made through Indochino (Blog post entirely on that process coming soon). I set out to do my research so that I knew eactly what I wanted. This was going to be my “forever” (at least for right now) suit, and I needed to make sure I covered all my event basis. If only BuzzFeed had come out with this list earlier, I could have saved myself the time!
So as you open the closet and look at the same old suit selections you have for the past 1, 2, 5, 10 years, keep these “rules” in mind when putting together your 2014 looks, but keep in mind, some rules are meant to be broken.
Live for Fun, Spread Joy, Look Clutch!
1. The width of the tie should match the width of the lapel.
It’s all about BALANCE.
2. In general, thin lapels are more modern. Wide lapels are more old-school, Mad Men style.
So choose your look accordingly.
3. A pocket square adds an extra level of polish, but make sure it doesn’t match your tie in either pattern or fabric choice.
Before you go totally conservative, remember that the pocket square is where you get the most freedom and the one place you get to add a little pizzazz to your suit.
4. When buying an off-the-rack suit, the number one thing to check is how the shoulders fit.
Tsk, tsk, John McCain. Shoulder pads should end at the shoulders. The shoulders are the hardest to tailor, so make sure they don’t stick out or stick up.
5. A collar gap between your jacket’s lapels and your shirt’s collar can signify an ill-fitting jacket.
It’s complicated. Read more about it here.
6. Opt for a charcoal or gray suit over black, unless you’re attending a funeral.
Dark gray is more versatile and goes with more colors.
7. Your belt should be fairly thin and the same color as your shoes.
Union Made makes really great belts in a variety of leather and metal finishes.
8. You should match your shoes to the color of your suit using this guide:
9. Double vents in the back are more modern and fashionable.
This look is also more flattering for larger figures, and it gives you enough room to do that effortlessly casual “hand in pocket” thing.
10. For a more casual, trendy look, opt for a single-button peak-lapel jacket.
11. If you’re going for more formal business attire, opt for a double-button, notched lapel jacket.
12. The Savile Row Fold keeps your dress pants from falling off the hanger.
Watch the instructional video here.
13. You should be able to slip your hand between your chest and your buttoned jacket such that it feels snug, but with room to move.
14. Always unbutton your suit before sitting down, or you risk ruining it.
15. The top button of a two-button (or the middle button of a three-button) should fall at or above the navel.
16. Always go with the classic windsor knot for your tie, but use the size of your head to determine whether you should go half or full windsor.
BIG HEAD = FULL KNOT. SMALL HEAD = HALF KNOT. If you’re not sure how your head size compares, ask one of your male friends. They should be able to give you an objective opinion.
17. If you’re wearing a vest, always keep the bottom button unbuttoned.
But plenty of men break this rule and are still able to pull off the three-piece beautifully.
18. There are practical reasons for vests beyond just how they look.
A vest is best worn with single-breasted suits (so it’s actually visible). if you’re going to be wearing your suit in a cold climate, a vest can add a lot of warmth. It also adds a formal touch to your suit.
19. Sleeve cuffs should be exposed about half an inch.
For a harmonious look, try to match the visible cuff length to the amount of collar that is visible at the back of the neck.
20. When you get your suit home, you’ll need a seam ripper or a small, sharp pair of scissors.
Unstitch the jacket’s pockets, remove the tack stitches from the jacket’s vents, and remove the little embroidered label from the jacket’s left sleeve. Do this very carefully to ensure you don’t actually rip the fabric or neighboring threads.
21. Make sure that your socks are long enough that there’s no exposed leg when sitting down.
No one needs to see your hairy gams.
22. Your tie should always be darker than your dress shirt.
23. The suit jacket should be just long enough to cover your pants zipper and butt.
24. Your tie should JUST reach the waistband of your trousers, or be slightly shorter.
25. For a more fashion-forward look, the pant hem should hit right at the top of your shoe.
For a more conservative look, the pants should cover the top of the shoe and parts of the laces.
26. If you sweat a lot, wear an undershirt.
Preferably one with a deep neck so it doesn’t peek through. Nothing will cheapen the appearance of a suit more than a glimpse of undershirt.