Some people look better in a suit than others. It could be the amount they spend or it could be that the suit is made for them. A proper bespoke handmade suit on Savile Row will cost around £5k. But no matter what you spend, there is a way of wearing a suit that will improve your appearance that costs nothing (or maybe a little…certainly nowhere near £5k). So if you value your appearance and would like to look your very best in tailoring; read on. This will significantly improve the appearance of any high street suit.
Polish your shoes. You can read more about this in my last post.
On a new suit make sure all the visible white stitching is removed. This can be on the shoulders, vents and cuffs.
Please remove any brand labels that are on the jacket cuff.
Your jacket side pockets may be stitched closed. Keep them this was as long as you can…more on pockets later.
On a single-breasted jacket, only do up the top button on a 2 button style and the middle-button on a three button style.
On a double-breasted style where you can button up more than one outside button, pick the one that is most comfortable. Always do up the inside button.
Keep your trouser hip pocket buttons done up.
Distribute your kit around your various pockets. Suits have plenty of pockets so never overfill them. Your wallet should be slim and have neither Velcro or a coin purse attachment. Consider using a card wallet rather than a billfold.
Keep minimal a amount of stuff in your trouser side pockets. Perhaps a couple of coins, some banknotes and a clean hanky. Do not keep your phone in your trouser pocket.
The outside chest pocket of your suit looks its best when it has a pocket handkerchief in it. Forget any crap about matching and co-ordinating and acquire a white linen or fine cotton, a navy silk spot and a dark red paisley. This will complement all your ties. If you are not a hanky guy, your chest pocket is useful for spectacles, sunshades or mobile phones.
Don’t fret about folding your hankie and don’t keep touching it.
Your lapels should have a buttonhole in them. If it is not open, it can be cut open with a sharp knife. This is where you wear your poppy or flower at a wedding. If you ever need to wear a badge on your suit to show unity to a cause you feel passionate about, this is where it should be placed. I cry a little whenever I see wedding flowers in the chest pocket of a suit.
Do not overload lapels with brooches and trinkets. But you can wear a flower and a pocket hankie at the same time.
In modern business, the suit/no tie look has becoming the norm and is not a flattering look on most men. When I worked on Savile Row in the 1990s, wearing a suit without a tie was considered edgy. Now it is the uniform of provincial mid-management. Wear a tie. A few simple textured solids is all you need.
If you are carrying a little weight around your waist, avoid white shirts and bold patterns. It draws attention to your belly.
Never wear a rucksack. It kills your suit and your dignity. Imagine going mountain trekking carrying a leather briefcase. That is how stupid a rucksack looks, not to mention inconsiderate to fellow passengers on public transport. If you absolutely must have a rucksack, at least carry a smart leather version.
If you are a tie-wearer and like a tie-bar, please position it below your chest and not underneath your chin. Unless you are appearing on The Apprentice and it is 2012.
Pay more attention to how well your tie is knotted than how long the blade is. Practise tying a few different tie knots to see what you prefer. When you have discovered that the “schoolboy” or four-in-hand is best, you should practise achieving the perfect dimple.
Keep pens in your inside pocket and ration how many you need to carry.
Braces will make your trousers hang better. I would suggest getting a tailor to add buttons so that you can wear the traditional kind. Clip-ons are quite fashionable at the moment but they can damage the waistband.
If you have a long journey or commute and need to wear headphones, please keep them discreet.
If you are not a regular suit wearer, try to avoid posturing when you receive compliments. Shooting cuffs and adjusting your tie looks contrived and corny. Try to maintain a relaxed elegance.
If you want to dress down your suit or want to wear it at the weekend but not look corporate, consider a simple long-sleeve crew neck in cotton jersey or fine merino wool. Seriously, a navy crew neck with a dark suit is an easy yet sophisticated change of pace.
When not wearing your suit, empty the pockets and store on a proper hanger with good shoulder support. Plastic is fine. Keep the trousers from the cuff and allow them to hang unfolded. You can buy specialist hangers for this or you can borrow them from hotels.
Brush regularly and give a light steam.