How To Wear - Suits
The world is becoming more and more casual as people prioritise convenience and comfort, the most traditional of all men's garments, the suit, is left having a bit of an identity crisis. Outside of the most formal work environments, a lot of people may only wear a suit a couple of times in their life. And funnily enough, wearing a suit outside of one of these formal environments is almost rebellious as you are making a decision to buck the norm and wear something a bit more vintage in style.
So the question becomes how to wear a suit, we thought we’d break down how to style this in a modern context. We’ll start with what kind of suit to look for and go in to fit and styling advice. We recommend looking for an interesting fabric in a more vintage/exaggerated kind of fit, a check or striped fabric is always great or an off-key colour like a dark green, brown or burgundy. You want to separate this as much as possible from a 9-5 business suit. A double-breasted jacket or full fitting pleated trouser helps with this as well as it’s about as far removed from the slimline dark suits worn by accountants and lawyers – thus making it more easily subverted from its traditional context.
Finding this suit can of course be tricky, op shops are a good bet as the clothes tend to be from the right era, however finding a complete suit in wearable condition in your size is the challenge. An odd or separate jacket or trouser can always be fun to mix into your personal style so don’t shy away from a cool pair of slacks if you find them without a jacket, however, this doesn’t allow the formality of a full suit for those times it is required for a formal occasion. More and more fashion brands are creating their version of a suit to cater to this new niche. We offer a range of fits and fabric geared entirely to solving this dilemma. Our Box Jacket and Pleated Slacks are designed with the traditions of tailoring in mind but underpinned by our understanding of comfort and practicality from sportswear and streetwear.
When it comes to fit, we would highly recommend that you go loose. The common suit has become very slim and body fitting in recent times, it’s time to leave that in the past. If you go for a looser fit it is going to be more easy to discern that you’ve made this choice for fashionable reasons and you’ll have the added plus of being able to layer under your jacket and throw a hoodie or jumper underneath. Look for pants that sit a bit higher on the waist, ideally have one to two pleats (tucks of fabric around the waist) on each side and fall pretty straight from the hip down to your shoes and are either full length so they gather on your shoes or a bit cropped sitting above and showing off your full shoe choice.
Once you’ve found your suit, you’re ready to put your spin on it and style it in a way that feels fresh and modern. We would suggest that you then pair it with items that make the suit as casual as it can be and bring that edge from streetwear. Wear a t-shirt under the jacket or if you want to be more formal and wear a shirt, go for a camp collared option like a Hawaiian shirt with a bold graphic print in a flowing fabric, this kind of shirt will bring more of a youthful flair to the look and when paired with the jacket you’ll get a glimpse of the pattern underneath. For shoes try a lo-fi sneaker in a canvas material like a pair of Chuck Taylors or Vans Old Skools and Authentics. If you’re going for a leather shoe opt for something that’s still on the more casual end of the spectrum like a loafer or pair of suede wallabees. The benefit is if you do need to buy any of these items they’re going to pair just as well with your jeans and aren’t an isolated item in your wardrobe. In the end, you want to create an open-ended wardrobe of items that can be interchanged and will be relevant year after year.
Beyond being able to wear this look as a full suit which is always going to turn heads, one of our favourite elements about these kind of garments is how well they work when split up from a suit and worn as separate items. The pants will be a great change-up from jeans or chinos and look great when paired with a hoodie or cardigan and you can add some edge to the jacket by wearing it with a pair of carpenter pants or cargos. Once you’ve dabbled with some of these looks and built your confidence you can really mix it up and push the boat out, try adding a beanie or ball cap, wear the suit with some Birkenstocks or Jordans.
The suit is now an item to be worn in your way, we’d say forego the stuffy formal option and look for something you can wear with your style. Avoid ties and shirts that button to the top, these items are so far away from what you would wear day to day that you’ll never feel comfortable.
If you enjoyed this advice column, send it to a friend that might be interested or shoot us a message if you have any other styling questions you’d like us to answer and it may end up in an article just like this.