How To Wear A Suit
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The suit is an architectural masterpiece. Typically angular in construction, it takes a level of sewing prowess to pull it off. If anything, the quintessential blazer and trouser combo triggers fear in both amateur designers and haute couture houses.
But, when done right, the suit can exude a level of intimidation and confidence that no other outfit is able to do.
Whether you’re prepping for a wedding, a funeral, or a graduation ceremony, you’re probably wondering how to wear a suit.
It requires more than just a simple run to The Bay, as finding the perfect number requires some know-how in terms of tailoring and styling.
Plus, there are hundreds of different designs to choose from, which may be overwhelming to the casual dresser.
Care for a simple tour of what’s available? If so, I’ll teach you how to wear a suit using 9 outfit ideas.
I’ll tackle multiple style topics surrounding this garment, which may or may not include:
- How to wear a suit without a tie
- How to wear a suit jacket
- How to wear a suit with sneakers
What Is A Suit?
In short, a suit is an outfit that’s comprised of a blazer and a pair of trousers. Typically paired with a collared shirt, a tie, and a set of Italian loafers, it’s usually the first thing you think about when someone says ‘formal wear.’
There are dozens of different designs to consider—including the classic fit, the double-breasted look, and the single-vent silhouette.
The History Of The Suit
The origin story behind the suit is one of pomp and circumstance—but you probably already knew that. This quintessential combo was popular during the early 1900s thanks to socialite Beau Brummell.
Controversially known for his arrogance, Brummell owned a decent menswear wardrobe that would go on to influence British fashion.
At the time, the suit was vastly different from what we’re familiar with now, as it featured a combo of embellished fabrics, cravats, decorated buttons, and breeches.
The silhouette of the suit softened over the years due to the influence of industrialization and the expanding gap between the rich and the poor.
Today, most people associate the ensemble with class, sophistication, and Hollywood. Pop culture icons such as Jay Gatsby and James Bond typically come to mind when you picture the classic suit.
When To Wear A Suit
Before I discuss how to wear a suit, I thought it best to address the whens first. It’s no secret that blazers, trousers, and collared tees are intrinsic to formal wear.
Typically donned at fancy parties and corporate events, this particular outfit exudes a degree of class and opulence to help ensure a good first impression.
Years ago, the suit was commonly associated with menswear. Nowadays, it’s considered a unisex outfit.
Coco Chanel, with the help of other fashion visionaries, helped to transform the suit into a genderless commodity. It’s also worth mentioning that this traditional ensemble can even be worn casually, depending on its design and silhouette.
How To Wear A Suit
Suits can be intimidating. This applies to shopping, styling, and tailoring. That said, don’t take this as a sign to sleep on this iconic outfit.
You don’t have to be a pro-fashionista to know the ins and outs of how to wear a suit. All it really takes is a level of confidence and inspiration. If you’re lacking in the two, I’ll show you how to wear a suit using 9 OOTDs.
9 Outfit Ideas With A Suit
This is partially due to the oversized silhouette, as it gives the impression of a laid-back attitude. Juxtaposed with ruby red, this ensemble draws power from the vibrant color and dramatic shapes.
There’s really no need to further accessorize, but if you’re in dire need of some extra sparkle, I suggest adding some simple gold bling to tie the whole outfit together. Arguably, this is considered a fearless take on how to wear a suit.
The power suit is not exclusively defined by skin-tight tailoring. Intimidation can also come in the form of exaggerated silhouettes as well. Case in point, streetwear-inspired ensembles are considered on par with the traditional James Bond OOTD.
This semi-formal combo features a red and black plaid blazer, baggy trousers, a simple white tee, and a pair of running shoes. Accentuated with a white drawstring tote bag, it subverts your expectations of ‘formal’ menswear.
Whatever your opinion is about it, I think we can all agree that pinstripe is considered intrinsic to formalwear.
While some prefer to pair their pinstripe trousers with casual tees, wearing a matching blazer can help ensure a clean silhouette. Wearing a complete suit allows the lines of the print to continue, which provides trendsetters with a slender body shape.
Ideally accessorized with heels to give off the illusion of tallness, this is how to wear a suit if you want to be feared.
Here, the model is pictured wearing a cropped collared button-down shirt, fitted pants, matching loafers, and a statement bag.
Complemented with silver jewelry, it’s regarded as a beautiful example of gender fluidity. Due to the nature of the outfit, wearers can interpret it as a streetwear look or a semi-formal OTTD if they’re wondering how to wear a suit.
Speaking of cropped silhouettes, this ‘how to wear a suit’ contender deviates from the strict nature of formalwear. The emphasis on the waistline helps to break the continuity of French-tuck shirts and high-waisted pants.
Additionally, the lavender hue is a refreshing alternative, as most outfits feature grays and blacks to ensure no color clashing. If you’re wondering how to wear a suit casually, this is the look to opt for. Don’t forget to finish the OOTD off with either heels or a chunky pair of sneakers.
Suits usually exude a strict, uptight attitude. That said, this isn’t always the case. For example, this colorful ensemble features an oversized beige blazer, high-waisted pleated trousers, and a cheeky bralette to match.
The embellishments make or break the OOTD, as they help impart some playfulness in an otherwise stern look.
Given the angular nature of the beadery, a pair of pointed-toe heels can help ensure a more ‘rounded’ aesthetic.
This vibrant OOTD features a tailored blazer, a magenta button-down shirt, mid-rise pants, and a bedazzled pair of black loafers.
It definitely emits some “Grapejuice” vibes. If not, it certainly exudes some “Watermelon Sugar” sweetness. If the color is too bold for your liking, you can easily tone down this ‘how to wear a suit’ contender with a mini black bag.
Turtlenecks and blazers continue to rise in popularity. Plus, they’re considered a more practical alternative to thin, cotton button-ups in the dead of winter. If you’ve had your fill of stiff-collared shirts, I suggest taking a page out of Hailey Bieber’s style book.
Composed of a gray micro-plaid outfit with a bright pink sweater, it’s emitting ‘fashion editor’ vibes due to the color, print, and silhouette. Instead of opting for sneakers, a pair of pointed-toe heels can help give off a sense of sophistication.
Suit fabrics are typically made of tweed, wool, and twill. For those who prefer a switch-up of the traditional three, velvet is the way to go. Its plush texture and its affinity to change in light result in an interesting aesthetic.
Given the fabric’s association with royalty, I recommend experimenting with fancy garments. For instance, the model is pictured wearing a gold-embroidered shirt and pearl accents for a touch of regal splendor.
What Type Of Suits Can You Get?
Despite its stern connotation, wearers are allowed to experiment with different garments and accessories when it comes to suits.
Fashion encourages trendsetters to think outside the box, so you shouldn’t limit yourself to the basic collared tee and tie. For those in need of inspiration, I’ll share some trendy outfits to consider in this how to wear a suit guide.
- The traditional set: This includes a basic blazer, a collared tee, a tie, fitted trousers, and a pair of loafers. Simple and sophisticated, you can never really go wrong with this classic fit.
- The fit and flare silhouette: This outfit typically includes a tailored garment paired with something loose. It draws emphasis on your existing body shape, which is great for those who prefer something different.
- The streetwear suit: Trendsetters typically opt for a baggy, casual pantsuit in place of bespoke tailoring. They often pair it with sneakers, chains, and other key accessories.
- The winter turtleneck: If you’re not fond of stiff-collared shirts, a cozy turtleneck can do just the job. It’s best paired with wool/tweed suits to exude a ‘softer’ look.
How To Choose The Best Suit
As previously mentioned, suit shopping is no walk in the park. It requires a certain level of patience and an eye for detail to ensure the best bang for your buck.
To help clear any misunderstandings, I’m not avidly endorsing designer brands to guarantee quality. In fact, you’d be surprised by the number of premium, affordable alternatives that are on the market.
Responsible shoppers typically look for four things when buying clothes: design, material quality, practicality, and price. In terms of suits, most brands utilize wool, tweed, velvet, herringbone, and other varieties of durable fabrics. They should hold their shape without being too stiff.
The construction also relates to clean hems, button placement, symmetry, and bespoke tailoring. Trust me, you do not want to opt for a cheaply-made pantsuit.
In addition, the design is a critical factor to consider. Ultimately, you should settle for a suit that aligns with the event that you’re attending.
Formal occasions typically call for standard black and white, while others are more lenient when it comes to avant-garde alternatives.
Customers should also take note of their personal aesthetic. As tempting as a bright orange suit sounds, can you really picture yourself in it for multiple occasions?
And practicality helps to ensure continued wear. While suits are notoriously known to be rigid, this shouldn’t be an excuse to suffer in silence.
Well-made garments should allow some room for movement and breathability. So, I highly recommend trying your blazers and trousers on in person to ensure the perfect fit.
Price-wise, suits can range from $100 to $5,000, depending on the design, level of sewing complexity, and brand.
I suggest sticking to a limited budget to help prevent overspending. If anything, there are multiple suit rental companies to support if you’re not keen on paying full price.
How To Style Suits
Some trendsetters prefer to accessorize their suits so that they can exude a different identity. In need of some styling tips? If so, I’ll share a couple in this ‘how to wear a suit’ guide.
- Bulky jewelry: Cuban chain necklaces, exaggerated hoops, and stacked rings can help balance out the bold nature of suits.
- The collared tee opt-out: Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wear a stiff button-down shirt. Nowadays, trendsetters opt for crewneck shirts, bralettes, and turtlenecks.
- The anti-loafer: It’s time to think outside the box. Instead of donning Italian shoes or loafers, boots, heels, and even sneakers are often worn with suits.
- The classic carry-on bag: There’s a reason why we opt for handbags in place of backpacks. Dainty purses help to accentuate the sophisticated nature of pantsuits.
Fashion Tips To Avoid With Suits
You’ll often encounter a confusing mix of dos and don’ts when it comes to fashion. In retrospect, it’s kind of ironic—especially given its subjectiveness. Not everyone is on board with the same trends and fads, after all.
That said, there are a fashion few faux pas that most agree are worth paying attention to. If you prefer to look fondly at your past outfits without regret, I’ll share some fashion tips to avoid with suit outfits.
- Unintentional bagginess: In some instances, oversized suits can look fashionable. But for those looking to achieve that sculpted look, I recommend making your tailor your best friend.
- Right suit, right place: Of course, suits come in a variety of different designs and colors. So, it’s important to consider the event you’re dressing for, as some occasions call for a strict dress code.
- All-in or all-out: If you intend to adopt the avant-garde streetwear look, you might as well go ‘the whole hog.’ So perhaps you should consider accessorizing your outfit.
- Wrinkles: Suits are the literal definition of sophistication. And you can’t exude a level of class if your suit is riddled with creases and unwanted lines.
How To Take Care Of Suits
Compared to other garments, suits require lots of TLC. Most seek out professional help to ensure their blazers and trousers are spick and span. While I do recommend visiting your local cleaner, there are a few ways to take care of your pantsuit at home to ensure continued wearability. These include:
- Hanging not folding: In order to prevent creasing, you should hang up your blazers, cotton shirts, and trousers instead.
- Laundry opt-outs: Suits should be sparingly washed. If your set requires a deep cleanse, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
- The quick brush technique: Those who own twill, wool, or velvet suits should occasionally wipe them down to remove excess debris.
- Consider a laundry bag: If you spent $1,000 on a Hugo Boss suit, it’s probably a good idea to store it in a hanging bag to ensure there’s no dust accumulation.
Best Places To Buy Suits
Before this ‘how to wear a suit’ guide ends, I’d like to leave readers with some store recommendations.
- Tom Ford
- Jil Sander
- Brave Gentleman
There’s a reason why Hollywood opts for blazers and trousers when dressing main characters. Suits are considered a visual trigger for intimidation.
They’re also considered a sign of confidence. And whether you know it or not, you’re the protagonist of your own story. Consequently, this is a perfect excuse to make room for a quintessential suit in your wardrobe.
Whatever aesthetic you vibe with, here’s hoping that you know how to wear a suit. Mature, refined, and ideal for multiple formal events, suits are the literal embodiment of ‘fake it till you make it.’
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