Worn the right way, a suit can leave an impact that lasts long after you’re gone. Wear it the wrong way, though, and the ‘fashion disaster’ will haunt you a lifetime. Just like it is important to have a great suit in your wardrobe, therefore, it’s equally important that you know how to get the best out of it. And that begins by knowing exactly what NOT TO DO when wearing it in public.
First comes size. Amongst the first things to make sure is that the suit you are wearing fits your body well. A suit with a loose and ‘baggy’ appearance usually gives the impression that it’s not yours (that, in fact, it is a ‘hand-me-down’ from a close relative or friend). Kind of embarrassing, wouldn’t you say?
Let’s look at buttons next. You are welcome to fasten the top button of your suit at times. You will probably fasten the middle buttons most of the time (which is perfectly fine). But remember, you must NEVER fasten that last button. It’s an out-and-out ‘suit disaster’ you must avoid – if you want to avoid raising eyebrows at the gathering.
A suit is supposed to bring out your inner persona – not stifle it. So when you are sitting down, DO unbutton it to avoid looking (and feeling) ‘caught in a straight-jacket’!
Love to wear a tie with your suit? Great. But if you don’t match it to your suit, you may end up looking a bit like a bumpkin. Remember that a classic black suit and white shirt calls for a light coloured necktie. A shirt in a single colour is best paired with a patterned tie. And if your shirt carries a pattern, you are best off with tie with a solid colour. Avoid wearing a tie bar with a waistcoat or a cardigan : The objective of the tie clip, after all, is to hold the tie in place.
Some people – and that includes celebrities – are guilty of strutting their shirt collars over and outside the suit lapel. Don’t – it’s an unwritten sacrilege.
Pockets squares can add a touch of charm to your suit. The one thing you need to keep in mind here, though, is NEVER to match your pocket square with your tie – be it in design, colour or, yes, fabric, too.
It can be tempting to put on accessories or jewelleries with your suit, but avoid the danger of over-accessorization. Give that lapel pin a miss, for example, if you have your tie-bar and cufflinks on. And while on the topic, remember to keep your back pack, rucksack or duffel bag at home when in a suit: Reach out for the classic suitcase, instead.
And what about the reality closer to the ground? Well, the big ‘fashion faux pas’ to avoid here is NOT to wear ankle-length socks with your suit. Like to experiment with the colours and patterns of your socks? Go ahead – you DO have a certain degree leeway here, but don’t go overboard.
Further down, it’s not only a safe idea to match the hue of your suit with that of your shoe, but it’s widely accepted as the norm as well. Is your shoe unpolished? Don’t even think of slipping your feet in them (not before they are shiny enough to hold up to the sheen of your suit) .
Finally, a word about ‘maintenance’. A customized suit is a long-term asset, and it therefore makes sense to take the extra effort to keep it in ship shape. Don’t fold or hang it casually over the furniture (always drape your suit ‘full-length’ in its holder case). Don’t iron it at temperatures that are too high. Don’t over use it.
And your suit will continue to do what it is meant to: Turn heads.