Here are some small changes you can make to enhance your formal look. Minor style details have the ability to either kill a look or add some life to it, which includes the way you tuck your shirt. So, it’s important to get it right. The following tweaks will get you noticed more for all the right reasons.
1. Watch your accessories
There’s no need to have a tie bar with your tie, a pocket square, a lapel pin and a pocket square and trouser braces as part of one outfit. Don’t wear rings unless you’re married and make sure your watch is understated and complements the suit. Watches with leather straps are a better choice than metal ones as the metal can be more eye-catching, taking the focus away from the suit. Sometimes less is more. You don’t want too much going on as your suit is the centre piece. Remember, you’re trying to exude style and sophistication. Over accessorising a suit is tacky.
I’d recommend using no more than three accessories at a time. So, for example, you could have a tie with a pocket square and a watch or cuff links, a tie bar and a tie. The tie colour should be darker than the shirt in a formal setting and they should complement each other. Make sure the tie colour isn’t too similar to your shirt as you want it to be noticed. Be mindful with the number of patterns you incorporate into your attire.
2. Check Your patterns
Incorporating more than one pattern into your suit can look great. The problem is that if the fit’s done haphazardly, you can look clown-ish. When wearing more than one of the same patterns as part of a suit, make sure they’re different sizes. For example, you could wear a grey subtle dark pinstripes suit and a tie with thick diagonal stripes. Even though the two garments are striped the proportions are different, making it easy on the eye. The image below shows how you can mix checks together in a suit. The large windowpane check complements the tie’s smaller glen style check.
3. Don’t match accessories, complement them
Make sure your tie and your pocket square don’t clash while not being identical to each other in terms of colours and fabrics. Don’t wear the pocket square and tie you may have bought in a pack together. You’ll just look like a magician and an amateur one at that. Invest in a white pocket square and wear it with one of your ties as it’ll go with any other colour.
If you want to take it to the next level, try a baby blue and burgundy check tie with a blue and white striped pocket square. The blue and burgundy will complement each other. Another tip is to wear a tie that is made from different material to your pocket square, a silk tie with a cotton pocket square look well together. Wool and silk mix ties are a great way to add texture to your suit. Pair one of these ties with a patterned pocket square which has similar colours present on each and they will complement each other. People will notice the subtle difference.
4. Size matters
Get yourself a tailor’s measuring tape and measure your arms, legs, waist, chest and - most importantly - your shoulders. An ill-fitting suit is something that is seen too often and looks unprofessional. If the suit’s shoulders are too big, its silhouette will not fit right. You’ll notice a dimple in the centre of the suit’s shoulder seam if the shoulders are too big.
The suit’s shoulder seam should not exceed your shoulder blade. You want the material to hug your shoulders and not look like you’re a child playing dress up in your dad’s suit. Shoulders are the most difficult to alter, so make sure to nail down the right measurements.
5. Keep It in Line
No matter whether it’s a bespoke suit or one you picked up on the high street, keep the last button on a suit jacket open at all times. Closing your last button can ruin the suit’s silhouette and its lining. When you sit down remember to unbutton your jacket as you don’t want the material stretching from your jacket being fastened when sitting. Most suits have two buttons, so remember to leave the second open.
If your suit jacket has three buttons (like the image below), remember the rule, sometimes, always, never. The first button is up to you, always close the second and never the last one.
6. Use your trouser pockets
Your suit jacket pockets should rarely be used. If you need somewhere to put your phone and wallet go for your suit trouser pockets. Putting too many things in your jacket can weigh it down, impacting on its fit. As a result, your slim fit suit can end up slightly stretched - which you don’t want. I’d recommend investing in a card holder if you must use your jacket’s pockets. You can store your bank cards and driver’s license as these holders are very light.
7. Make sure your tie hits the waist band
The easiest tie knot to learn is the four-in-hand knot. If you want something a bit more formal learn how to do the half-Windsor knot. No matter what knot you choose, make sure the wide end of your tie is slightly longer than the shorter end. The wide end of the tie, which is the front part, should just about hit your waist band of your trousers. Any shorter and you could look like a school boy. Any longer, it looks like you don’t know how to knot a tie properly. There’s also less of a chance of your tie getting in your way when you’re going about your daily tasks if you have to constantly move it around.
8. Show your cuffs
You should be able to see about half an inch of your shirt’s cuff, peeping out from your suit jacket. Why? Because it shows that your suit and shirt correctly fits you and looks more sophisticated. It also reflects attention to detail is important to you which is a positive from a professional perspective. Make sure you get to a tailor and alter your shirt if it’s too big.
9. Co-ordinate your shoes and belt
Carrying on from my last point, it’s all in the detail when it comes to suiting. The colours of your leather dress shoes should match or be a similar shade as your belt. It looks better and is something that people pick up on.