5 Suit Accessories You Shouldn’t Forget

Clothes can do a great job at showing off a man’s maleness—- things that make a man a man. Nice shoulders, a trim waist, sturdy legs, all of these things are important parts of the male look. No outfit does a better job of showing off these high points than a custom suit. But a suit by itself is only part of the equation. There are essential pieces, accessories if you will, that elevate a suit from functional to stylish. Find out which accessories are must-haves the next time you dress up with our list of the five suit accessories you shouldn’t forget.

tailored suits

tailored suits

1. Cufflinks –Buttons are fine to hold you cuffs closed. Just like a 1976 Ford Pinto is fine to get you to work—functional, but not stylish, or fun. Cufflinks are a great way to add a bit of flash to your suit, and even a way to show off your personality. They can be expensive, simple, glittery, or whimsical, but they are a key accessory for any suit.

2. Pocket Square – Sometimes called a handkerchief, this folded piece of cloth should be clean, crisp, and neatly arranged in your breast pocket. It needs to match your shirt, and under optimum circumstances it shouldn’t be actually used. Blowing your nose and sticking a snotty rag back into your pocket is gross.

3. Watch – It can be worn without a suit, but a suit shouldn’t be worn without it. A little wrist bling (or even a lot) just goes with a suit. The way it peeks out from a well-tailored sleeve just sets off the whole ensemble. Men get few opportunities for tasteful jewelry, so make the most of this accessory.

4. Tie Clip – Don’t sleep on the tie clip. After all, leaving your tie to swing around all willy-nilly is bad form, and looks awkward. Your tie clip, like your cufflink, is functional as well as fashionable, and can be understated or flashy in much the same way.

5. Belt – The belt beats out suspenders by virtue of the fact that no one will see suspenders unless you take off your sport coat. You’ll want a fresh, clean belt with your suit, preferably one that matches your shoes. If you must have a belt buckle, keep it simple. Anything too garish will look tacky.

Men’s Overcoats

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When the rain and the snow fall, the wind blows, and the temperature drops, we wear protective outer garments out of necessity. For the tailored man, the outer layer of choice will be the overcoat: a heavy, knee-length coat with a collar and lapels. In the colder    months, the overcoat is an easy style move that distinguishes the well-dressed from the dressed up. However stately a man’s suit, if he walks in off the street with a fitted tailored overcoat covering it, the tailored overcoat will define the first impression he makes. On the other hand, when you walk in draped in a knee-length coat with your scarf smartly knotted around your neck, you make a distinguished impression that will stick even if you take it off to reveal a polo shirt and blue jeans. Of all the garments we wear, the overcoat has perhaps changed the least over the past century, so that one of high quality is truly a long-term investment.

The single-breasted overcoat is the most common, and for good reason. On bright fall and winter days, it can be worn without a scarf, or with one just trimming the lapels, to display your shirt and tie. In the freezing wind and snow, double your scarf around your neck and turn the collar up for protection from the elements. Besides the single-breasted standard, overcoats may be double breasted, with or without a belt. The belted model is sometimes called a polo coat. Black, charcoal, and navy blue will each frame any shirt and tie you have on underneath.

Should you tire of wearing the same dark overcoat day after day, there are other options. Camelhair has long been a favorite of the New England aristocracy, thanks to its incomparable troika of warmth, durability, and softness. Given its pedigree, the natural beige color of pure camelhair is exempt from the traditional rules of color matching for formality’s sake, although all materials are equal before the judgment seat of aestheticism. Checks are traditional for fall and spring weight coats, and can be found on heavier ones as well; for the gentleman who enjoys mixing and matching patterns they offer an opportunity to add another ingredient to the stew. Subtle horizontal stripe patterns are as versatile as solids, and give one a dandified touch.

The particular coat one chooses should be first a question of insulation (you’ll need more the farther North you live), and second of personal style. If you are unsure where to start, you cannot go wrong with black; just find one that’s warm enough for you. The coats sold in stores are usually only available in even sizes, since their appearance is less sensitive to fit than that of a suit. Nonetheless, many men choose to order bespoke overcoats, since this allows for a perfect fit with accompanying superior insulation. If your body type is such that off-the-rack clothes never fit you, overcoats are likely no exception, and bespoke will be your best option.

 

The Role of Trousers in Men’s Tailored Suits

Suit trousersGood trousers are never the defining characteristic of tailored suits, unless you’re a circus clown. Well tailored suits should direct attention toward the face and help it stand out in the viewer’s mind, and drawing the eye below the waist does nothing to further that goal. Instead, trousers should present as smooth and unbroken a path as possible up the wearer’s body; the best trousers will be able to retain their sleek profile whether the wearer is moving or stationary; seated or standing.

On a more practical note, of course, trousers are also where men tend to carry the little necessities of life — their keys, wallet, cell phone, and so on. Good trousers will have pockets of the proper size and shape to carry a few small items without bulging; loading the pockets and checking a mirror can be an excellent test for off-the-rack trousers. Made to measure trousers can simply be fitted with all the usual daily items in the pockets to see if any adjustments are needed.

The perfect pair of made to measure trousers should follow the natural shape of a man’s body: widest at the waist, tapering all the way to the ankles, with no excess fabric hanging loose or billowing. At the same time, trousers need to be loose enough to allow for movement, and should never wrinkle or bunch around the thighs — this is a sign that the trousers are too tight. Dress trousers should never narrow and then widen lower down on the body.

Modern dressers should remember that the “fall” of made to measure dress trousers — the distance from the waist to the crotch — is longer than that of casual jeans, meaning that the pants should be worn higher on the body. Contemporary jeans are often fitted to be worn at the hips, while dress pants should rest comfortably above the hips. A well-fitted pair of dress pants should never be able to slide off the body on its own, even without a belt or suspenders.

It is no doubt that wearing a pair of pants with no belt or suspenders examines the fit. If the trousers pinch or are slipping off, the fit is incorrect. If excess fabric is billowing or “ballooning” anywhere, or if the crotch sags loosely, the trousers are too loose; if wrinkles and bunching appear in the fabric when you move they are too tight. And, of course, if moving or sitting in a pair of trousers is uncomfortable for any reason, you should be asking yourself if you really want to spend an entire day wearing them.

Dress for Wedding

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Wedding Suit Styles and Cuts

A wedding suit doesn’t have to be a simple single-breasted, two-button jacket — though it certainly can be. Single-breasted jackets are understated, simple, and dignified. If you feel the need for a little more exuberance on your wedding day, a double-breasted suit adds weight and formality to the outfit, but is a high-formality garment that should only be worn with a necktie and a formal dress shirt. An open collar isn’t an option with a double-breasted jacket. They may also be less comfortable for prolonged wear, especially when sitting.

An equally formal yet more versatile option is a three-piece suit ensemble; this adds formality and elegance to the basic men’s suit by matching it with a vest. Matched waistcoats fill a similar role to double-breasted jackets, but can always be removed to make the outfit a simple single-breasted two-piece suit. Wedding photographers usually like to get “relaxed” shots of the groom in just his waistcoat and shirt, often with a jacket slung over a shoulder, so be prepared to do some taking off and putting on of clothing if you go with the vested suit.

The Wedding Day Dress Shirt
Looking your best — the goal for the big day — is about getting the details right. A clean white dress shirt is a solid and formal choice for a wedding day. Patterns are fine for the audience and the groomsmen, but if you want the formality of a solid colored shirt, light shades of blue, off-white, and cream are acceptable as long as it doesn’t clash with the brides dress. Remember that your shirt collar is going to be in every picture you’re in, so make sure it fits. So a tailored shirt is a wiser choice.
If you decide to skip the necktie, make sure you are wearing a dress shirt with a collar whose points stay out of your way. A medium spread is a solid choice here, and consider dress shirt collar stays to ensure the points do not fold.
Lastly don’t underestimate the importance of an undershirt on your wedding day — you’re going to be sweating and it’s better to have a layer of extra protection.

The Wedding Day Necktie
Your choice of necktie is important because of its proximity to your face. Like the dress shirt collar, your necktie color and pattern will take up more than its fair share of attention in the photos and video shot that day. This is not the time for a novelty tie or bright color – instead select a subdued pattern and color.
Look for a tie with a single strong base color in blue, green, gold or earth tones with a modest pattern on it keeps you looking elegant without seeming too stark. Avoid red neckties as they are more for power business meetings.

What To Look For in Men’s Suits

If you want to be taken seriously at work, you have to dress the part and wear a serious suit.  Men’s suits speak volumes about the wearer and give the right impression to your managers, clients and co-workers.  But what exactly should you look for when shopping for men’s suits?

tailored suits

tailored suits

This year, lapels and collars are sleek and simple and a more tailored look is preferable to the more casual fits from previous years. Ties should be narrow but whether you favor solid colors or patterns is down to your own personal choice.

Contemporary, tailored suits in a variety of fabrics from linen to wool, so you can choose the fabric that hangs best on your frame and suits the season.  Whatever fabric and color you opt for, make sure that it fits properly, because if it’s too tight or short you could be wearing the world’s most expensive suit and no-one would notice: all they would see would be an ill-fitting suit.

When trying on a suit, check that the cuffs show no more than about a centimeter of your shirt cuff when your arm is bent towards your face.  When your arm is relaxed, your suit cuff should brush the top of the back of your hand and cover your shirt sleeve completely. You should be able to do up all the buttons without any gaping when standing straight with your shoulders back.  Turn around and check that any V-shape cut into the tail of your jacket is not gaping in any way – it should be flush with the jacket. Your trousers should brush the top of your shoes but not cover the heels at the back.

If you are worried about buying a suit that is on-trend but that you might not want to be seen in next year, opt for a classic dark single-breasted suit that you can accessorize, brighten up and keep up to date with more on-trend shirts and ties.

Always check the care instructions on your suit – most will be dry-clean only, so make sure that you make time (and have the money) to have your suits dry-cleaned regularly to keep them looking great.

 

Six Ways to Freshen Up Your Style

Don’t let your limited budget limit your style. There are quite a few things you can do to keep your look fresh even when you need to be wise with your wardrobe dollars. It just takes a little effort and perhaps perusing the sale racks. Whether you incorporate one or all, here are six simple and inexpensive ways to freshen up your style.
1. Wear more color
A great way to liven up your look is to incorporate more color into your wardrobe. Perhaps this is just a matter of wearing a brightly colored t-shirt under a v-neck sweater, or sporting a new shirt or sweater. Adding color will liven up otherwise dull neutral tones. But the most important thing is to wear color near your face since that is where it will have the most impact and keep you from looking washed out.

2. Seek Out a New Pair of Glasses/Sunglasses
Glasses are a great way to express yourself too. The interesting thing about glasses is that you could simply be wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but with the right glasses you suddenly look fashion savvy.You may want to have a couple of pair–one pair that is bold and one that is more subdued. This way you can match your glasses with your mood or outfit.

3. Treat Yourself to One or Two Super Pieces
If you can possibly afford it, I believe in buying one or two great pieces that will really keep you looking stylish. This may be a cool sport coat, a leather jacket or an awesome pair of jeans that really show off your assets. What ever it is, make sure it’s something that you know you will wear often and is flattering. I just bought a moleskin sport coat that was a bit expensive, but it looks great and I know I will get a lot of use out of it.

4. Sport a Snappy Belt
You may have noticed that recently elaborate belts with interesting buckles have become quite the fashion statement. And they can be quite inexpensive as well.

5. Avoid Tattered Looking Shoes
A tattered pair of shoes is always a turn off. I don’t care if you wear dress shoes or sneakers, keep ‘em looking their best. This may just mean getting a shoe shine or picking up a new pair altogether.

6. Get a Groovy watch
Since men don’t have many options when it comes to jewelry, this is a great way to express yourself as well as liven up your look.

8 Men’s Fashion Mistakes to Avoid

Men’s fashion mistakes – We all make fashion errors now and again, but some fashion mistakes made by men are just unforgivable. I have outlined eight fashion mistakes to avoid at all costs.

Socks with Sandals

Who decided this was okay in the first place? Living in the Northwest, I am unfortunately faced with some of the worst offenders of this major fashion. I don’t understand that when it is chilly outside we all dream of the warmth of the summer sun, but wearing socks with sandals doesn’t make the seasons change any faster. If you want to wear sandals this badly, move to a warmer climate. Take this poll and cast your vote on this rather hot topic.

Novelty Ties, Shirts, Boxer Shorts, Etc.

Just say no (I’m channeling Nancy Reagan). There is nothing lasting about novelty clothing nor does it project a stylish, put together image. Leave the smiley faces, hearts, reindeer, shamrocks, animal and various other prints on the racks of the store where you found them.

Blaring Designer Labels

This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I don’t want to be a walking advertisement and neither should you. It’s not a sophisticated look. Just because you are wearing a designer’s name on your chest, sleeve, or wherever, doesn’t make you stylish. Keep it understated and simple.

Backpacks at the Office

I work in a very upscale high rise in Seattle, filled with lawyers and other professional types and it never ceases to surprise how many men wearing nice suits are schlepping backpacks. Unless you are a student or are hiking up a mountain, leave the backpack at home. If you need something for your gym clothes, buy a nice looking gym bag (and there are options that don’t have big logos on them), or if you need something to carry your assorted papers, cell phone, day-planner, etc., get a nice messenger bag.

Chunky Shoes

These were okay back in the 90s, but the big chunky shoes, especially those with square toes, should be retired at this point. Choose something classic that stands the test of time.

Shiny or Glittery Shirts and Suits

If you are looking for something to go out nightclubbing in, I can think of much better choices than those that are glittery, shiny and ultimately tacky. If you are at a loss, try a form fitting black t-shirt or black dress shirt which can be worn with jeans or trousers and dress shoes or casual shoes.

Clothes That Are Too Loose Fitting

In a word, sloppy. Unless you are a hip hop artist, it’s not the right look. Choose clothes that fit your body. This might take some experimentation by mixing and matching certain cuts and styles until you find the right fit for your body that is flattering.

Unflattering Colors

That beautiful blue cashmere sweater you found on sale after Christmas might be really tempting, but if it makes you look ill it’s no bargain. The colors you wear should compliment your natural features such as your eye color, skin tone and body shape. Keep this in mind when putting your look together. Check out my article 7 Tips Men Need to Know About Wearing Color.