27 Unspoken Suit Rules Every Man Should Know

You can’t expect to look all dapper and gentlemanly without knowing Suiting 101.

Justine Zweibel / BuzzFeed

1. The width of the tie should match the width of the lapel.

It’s all about BALANCE.

2. In general, thin lapels are more modern. Wide lapels are more old-school, Mad Men style.

AMC

 

So choose your look accordingly.

3. A pocket square adds an extra level of polish, but make sure it doesn’t match your tie in either pattern or fabric choice.

Before you go totally conservative, remember that the pocket square is where you get the most freedom and the one place you get to add a little pizzazz to your suit.

4. When buying an off-the-rack suit, the number one thing to check is how the shoulders fit.

Tsk, tsk, John McCain. Shoulder pads should end at the shoulders. The shoulders are the hardest to tailor, so make sure they don’t stick out or stick up.

5. A collar gap between your jacket’s lapels and your shirt’s collar can signify an ill-fitting jacket.

 

It’s complicated. Read more about it here.

6. Opt for a charcoal or gray suit over black, unless you’re attending a funeral.

Dark gray is more versatile and goes with more colors.

7. Your belt should be fairly thin and the same color as your shoes.

Union Made makes really great belts in a variety of leather and metal finishes.

8. You should match your shoes to the color of your suit using this guide:

9. Double vents in the back are more modern and fashionable.

 

This look is also more flattering for larger figures, and it gives you enough room to do that effortlessly casual “hand in pocket” thing.

10. For a more casual, trendy look, opt for a single-button peak-lapel jacket.

11. If you’re going for more formal business attire, opt for a double-button, notched lapel jacket.

White Collar / USA

12. The Savile Row Fold keeps your dress pants from falling off the hanger.

Watch the instructional video here.

13. You should be able to slip your hand between your chest and your buttoned jacket such that it feels snug, but with room to move.

David Agbodji for Barneys

14. Always unbutton your suit before sitting down, or you risk ruining it.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret

15. The top button of a two-button (or the middle button of a three-button) should fall at or above the navel.

16. Always go with the classic windsor knot for your tie, but use the size of your head to determine whether you should go half or full windsor.

BIG HEAD = FULL KNOT. SMALL HEAD = HALF KNOT. If you’re not sure how your head size compares, ask one of your male friends. They should be able to give you an objective opinion.

17. If you’re wearing a vest, always keep the bottom button unbuttoned.

But plenty of men break this rule and are still able to pull off the three-piece beautifully.

18. There are practical reasons for vests beyond just how they look.

A vest is best worn with single-breasted suits (so it’s actually visible). if you’re going to be wearing your suit in a cold climate, a vest can add a lot of warmth. It also adds a formal touch to your suit.

19. Sleeve cuffs should be exposed about half an inch.

For a harmonious look, try to match the visible cuff length to the amount of collar that is visible at the back of the neck.

20. When you get your suit home, you’ll need a seam ripper or a small, sharp pair of scissors.

Unstitch the jacket’s pockets, remove the tack stitches from the jacket’s vents, and remove the little embroidered label from the jacket’s left sleeve. Do this very carefully to ensure you don’t actually rip the fabric or neighboring threads.

21. Make sure that your socks are long enough that there’s no exposed leg when sitting down.

No one needs to see your hairy gams.

22. Your tie should always be darker than your dress shirt.

23. The suit jacket should be just long enough to cover your pants zipper and butt.

24. Your tie should JUST reach the waistband of your trousers, or be slightly shorter.

25. For a more fashion-forward look, the pant hem should hit right at the top of your shoe.

For a more conservative look, the pants should cover the top of the shoe and parts of the laces.

26. If you sweat a lot, wear an undershirt.

Shutterstock

Preferably one with a deep neck so it doesn’t peek through. Nothing will cheapen the appearance of a suit more than a glimpse of undershirt.

27. Finally, go for the dimple.

The dimple is the little hollow beneath the knot of your tie, and it gives a slightly disheveled yet polished appearance to your finished look. Check out this handy guide on nailing the tie dimple.

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