Well, everything you wear is important, unless you don’t care (but if you don’t care, you would probably not be reading this article, right?).
However, they are not equally important.
Regarding men’s formal outfits, the main purpose is to lead other people’ focus on your face, you upper-body. If your outfit draws their attention immediately to your lower body, or to any other little details, something is wrong.
Unless you are trying to dress like a circus clown (well, that’s not the definition of formal, anyway), don’t let that happen.
For more information about this, we have another short article:
Your tie, your watch, your pocket square, your shoes, etc. they are called accessories for a reason. They should be there to enhance the nice look of your suit and yourself, not make your suit unimportant or even invisible.
This is, in fact, a big topic, we will not get into details here, but in general, you have a way to check it:
Check yourself out in a mirror, if you find any accessory too eye-catching, take it off or replace it.
Here, we are not talking about your accessories; we are talking about the little personalizable details sewed on your suit.
Example - lapel buttonhole color
Almost all ready-to-wear suits’ buttonholes have tone on tone colors, like this.
Photo credit: garrisonbespoke.com
For customizable suits, like online made to measure or bespoke suits, sometimes you can personalize this. You might think: hey, great; I will add some personalization to my suit. Well, this could be the moment you make a mistake.
Your suit lapels are usually the center of other people’s focus because, besides your face, that’s the most noticeable place. The choice of this color should be treated with extra caution because a color that slightly “off” will change your lapels’ look completely, and ruin the whole image of your suit jacket.
Unless you know exactly what you are doing, we recommend leaving this buttonhole tone on tone.
A relatively safe method if you want to personalize this:
Use the same color as your fabric, but a different shade. For example, if your suit is medium gray, a dark gray lapel buttonhole color might blend in, and will not be too eye-catching, like this one:
On the contrary, you can add more personalized color on your sleeves buttonholes, safely; they are not at the center of others’ attention, and they are often considered as a symbol of high-end custom-made service.
Photo credit: thefineyounggentleman.com
Ok, we are not saying short trousers are all bad; on the contrary, a lot of short pants are nice. However, for most gentlemen, it is a risky choice, especially when it comes to their dress pants.
Look, they may look good on stage, but they are not for everyone; as a matter of fact, not good for any businessman.
Photo credit: styleforum.net
Safe, formal, classic choice:
Your suit pants should always have their break, medium break (most off-the-rack suit pants have this) or full break unless your beloved tailor tells you otherwise.
This is not a minor detail; this is crucial. Too long makes your whole suit looks saggy; Too short, well, people will start to think you are wearing someone else's jacket.
If you google "proper length of sleeves," or "suit sleeves length," or "dress shirt sleeves length," you will find tons of advice, but they basically repeat the same thing:
You should let your shirt's cuffs show, about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch. It is not just about tradition; it is all about aesthetic, and balance.
Look at this photo, do you feel what we are trying to say?
Photo credit: jnormanpost.com
Off-the-rack suits mostly have one vent in their jacket's back, because it is the most cost-effective way for large manufacturing, and also because it is better than a coat without any vent ( function wise). So you don't really have a choice.
For custom made suits, we highly recommend two vent style. And, this is important.
No vent: Poor choice, not practical, not comfortable, typically fit over comfort choice.
Unless suit jacket exceptionally well-tailored (which can provide a clean, sharp look).
One vent is better but not as practical and comfortable as two vents. Plus, you don't want to look like this (especially for those who have large hips).
Photo credit: wellbuiltstyle.com
For more knowledge, here is an excellent article:
But to put it simply: 2 vents, please.
Theoretically, we can imagine this: a saggy shirt, completely wrapped up inside a perfectly fitting suit, this could work, right? Nobody can see your shirt anyway.
Oh, no, wait, that’s hardly true.
First of all, when you sit down, you might need to unbutton your jacket! And, there is your big saggy shirt!
Then, the shirt collar, it is constantly there, people can see it all the time! Think about the big gap between shirt collar and your neck... And what’s worse, is that you have an undershirt that peeks out right above your shirt collar button...
always pick a fitted shirt, or at least, not loose, especially around the collar area.
You like to compare prices, that's good;
There are some excellent websites or apps which allow you to compare prices quickly and efficiently, that's good too.
However, don't confuse "the prices of an iPhone X" with "the costs of men's suits." You spend more than $1000 on an iPhone X, that's expensive, but that's the final price you need to pay (unless you break it, but that will be another thing). But if you buy an off-the-rack suit for $800, you will probably need to spend more on alterations; after all, the chance of finding a perfectly fitting suit in a ready-to-wear store is pretty small.
Things can become even worse. These are not some fictitious scenarios we made up to scare you, they can actually happen to you:
1. Sometimes, it is way too expensive to alter;
2. Sometimes, it is just impossible to modify the suit to the perfection.
Don't just compare the prices of suits themselves; do some homework on how much the alterations might cost you before you make your decision of purchasing that suit.
Always pick a suit that can fit your shoulders, your chest, and your waist. If the jacket or the sleeves are a bit too long, that's relatively easier and cheaper to alter; on the contrary, to modify the chest and the waist, or even the shoulder might cost you much more.
Nowadays, if a business suit jacket is "reasonably short," it could still be formal, and could even make a younger and fashion statement. But if it is too long, well...
Photo credit: huffingtonpost.com
Put on the jacket, check yourself out in a mirror:
The first thing to check: is it still formal? No? Take it off.
If still formal, check next: does this jacket make your legs look longer (especially for short men)? If yes, fantastic!
We judge on first impressions, all the time! Just if it is about buying your perfect suit, please don't do that.
We are not talking about fit here; because for the suit fit, you can try it on and find out. We are talking about the suit's appearance, generally speaking.
Do you ever have this kind of experience: you bought a fantastic outfit, however, two or three weeks later, it just doesn't look as good as before?
The right question you should ask yourself if you do like a suit in a store, is: how long will this fantastic look last?
We bring this mistake up because if you pay enough attention, you will find out that, nowadays, a lot of big brands are selling overpriced polyester suits (or wool blended suits with a large polyester percentage in them). The thing will these suits is that they will have, soon or later, a polishing effect on their fabrics' surface and that just looks cheap.
If a suit contains more than 60% of polyester, no matter how good looking it could be, just walk away.
A formal suit should never be shining and should never have any shining accessory on it (your casual jacket could, but not your business suit).
- Avoid the silk or wool-silk blended suits because silk will make the fabric shining.
- Take off any accessory that looks shinning (you want people to focus on your face, on your suit jacket, not on your accessories).
Well, Matt Damon tells you... Don't.
Photo credit: dailymail.co.uk