Your Definitive Guide to Men’s Suits

david gandy london collections men grey flannel suit and trench coat
David Gandy at London Collections Men Wearing a Grey Flannel Suit - PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

Check out this definitive guide to men’s suits. This will be your go-to when you’re wondering what the world of suits actually means, from lapels to buttoning, we’ve got it covered. 

Check out more Men’s Style Guide features.

The world of suits can be a difficult and sometimes confusing task. When you walk into a shop, looking to buy a suit, you can be a little overwhelmed by the amount of choice that’s available to you. I can remember buying my first suit, it wasn’t a particularly nice one, but my mother justified that I was going to grow out of it anyway, so it didn’t really matter, but still, the experience of it wasn’t the best.

Over here at Idle HQ we think that every man should have, at least, one suit in their wardrobe arsenal that they can always fall back on if an occasion ever arises. So, we thought we’d give you a few tips and tricks to help you along the way; from the way it should fit, all the way to how many buttons you should have on your suit jacket, we’ve got you covered.

How A Suit Jacket Should Fit

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, but the fit of your clothes is the most important thing. As long as they fit correctly, you’re already on your way to a stylish outfit. Suits, however, can be a little tricky as the styles differ so much, it can easily get confusing on what is the correct measurement for a suit to fit perfectly.

The trick with suits is that there should be clean lines all around. You don’t to see any bunching up of the material or tightness, as this indicates an ill-fitting suit, and that’s something none of us want. So, as long you achieve those clean lines, you’ll be alright.

Chest

Before you start trying on suits, you need to measure yourself. We’ll start off with the chest, and this means you want to take a tape measure and measure the thickest part of your chest. Like most clothes, suits are measured in inches, so, if you measure 40 inches around your chest, you’ll want to look at suit jackets that are a size 40 or 42.

mens suit jacket size guide
Men’s Suit Jacket Size Guide

If you don’t trust your own measuring skills (I don’t trust mine) then you can always go to a tailor and they can measure you properly. Clean lines are key, so if you see the dreaded ‘X’ shape when you button up your jacket then it’s too small for you, so go for the next size up.

how a suit jacket should fit in the chest
How a Suit Jacket Should Fit In The Chest – PHOTO CREDIT: The Proper Gentlemen

Arms

When you’re trying on suit jackets, you need to take into account the length in your arm. Now, this may be tricky, as we all know, everyone of us differs in body shape and size, so you may find a suit jacket that fits you perfectly everywhere else, but the arms are too long. If this is the case, then you can take it to a tailor, or, maybe even a dry cleaners, and they can take them up for you.

However, the length of your sleeve should hit you right on the wrist bone, no lower or higher. You should be able to see a little bit of your shirt underneath, so it’s probably best you wear a shirt underneath when you’re trying on suits, just so you know the right length you need.

how a suit jacket should fit in the arms
How A Suit Jacket Should Fit In The Arms – PHOTO CREDIT: The Proper Gentlemen

Shoulders

Your shoulders are another element to your suit jacket that you need to get right. If you buy a suit jacket and the shoulders are too wide, then this can make you look bigger; too narrow, then you can look like you’ve out-grown your suit, and that’s not a look we condone. Much like your shirt, the seam attaching the sleeve to the main body of the jacket should sit directly on your shoulder. If the seam is too high, then you jacket is too small, too low and the jacket is far too big for your body.

how a suit jacket should fit in the shoulders
How A Suit Jacket Should Fit In The Shoulders – PHOTO CREDIT: The Proper Gentlemen

Length

The length of your suit jacket is very important. Get it wrong and you can look like you’ve either out-grown your suit, or, you’ve been a bit ambitious with your summer growing plans. The length of your jacket should sit just below your hip bone, so if it’s above or below, it doesn’t fit I’m afraid.

how a suit should fit in the length
How A Suit Should Fit In The Length – PHOTO CREDIT: Edit Suits

How Suit Trousers Should Fit

You’re probably thinking ‘what about the trousers’ well, your suit trousers are measured by your inside leg and your waist. Much like jeans, you’ll see a waist measurement number i.e. 34R, this means you’ll be 34 inches around the waist and a regular leg length. Leg Length is categorised into three sizes short (S), regular (R) and long (L), and you’ll fit into one of these three lengths. Like most men, we all differ, so if you’re an inbetween size, then always go for the longer length and have them taken up.

mens trouser size guide
Men’s Trouser Size Guide

How your trousers sit on your shoe is a key element to your trousers. Too short and you can look like you can’t dress yourself, too long, and you can look like you’re turning up to a court date. So, to avoid that, you’ll want to have your trousers sit slightly on your shoe, and this is called the ‘break’. You’re going to want to have what’s called a quarter break, meaning that the back of your trousers sit slightly down the back of your shoe, with the front of your trousers hovering over your laces.

the right length of mens trousers
Men’s Trouser Length – PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

Different Styles Of Suits

The world of suits is a vast and interesting place. You’ve probably seen that there’s a different suit for every occasion you can think of. so, when you’re buying a suit, you need to start thinking of what you want the suit itself for. Whether you’re going to be wearing it to work, or you want something for a more formal occasion, you can be rest assured they’ll be a suit out there for you.

Formal Suits

There are a few different versions of the formal suit, but we’re going to focus on the two main ones that you might come across when you’re after a formal suit. They are black tie and white tie, and they’re not just simple tie change, they’re completely different, and I’m going to show you how to dress for such events.

Black Tie

Black tie is the less formal of the two. It consists of a, usually, black tuxedo jacket, white tuxedo shirt, black tuxedo trousers, a, usually, black dickie bow tie and a pair of patent leather oxford shoes. This is the suitable attire for any black tie event, depending on the occasion, you may be required to wear a cummerbund, which is worn around the waist. A cummerbund isn’t a necessity, but some events require one.

bafta-awards-best-dressed-men-eddie-redmayne-idris-elba-john-boyega-leonardo-dicaprio
BAFTA’s Best Dressed Men 2016

Tuxedo Lapels

Now, you may be wondering what the differences are between an average black suit and a tuxedo, well, a tuxedo, usually, has a satin lapel, which a shinier, smoother material giving it a different and more formal look. However, there are three different styles of lapel that you can have in your tuxedo, all of which give you a smart and different approach to the tuxedo.

  • Notch Lapel
    • Based off of the traditional American style tuxedo.
    • Lapels point downwards.
    • Satin finishes that differentiate it from a normal suit jacket.
  • Peak Lapel
    • A more classic style of lapel.
    • Lapels point upwards.
    • Accentuates the shoulders and slims the torso.
  • Shawl Lapel
    • A more traditional style of lapel.
    • A rounded lapel, it offers a more sophisticated look.
mens tuxedo lapels
Men’s Tuxedo Lapels – PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

You can experiment with your tuxedo, you don’t have to stick with the traditional colours or materials, so why not mix it up a little bit. What you’ll most commonly see when you’re looking into livening up your tuxedo is the change in material of the jacket. You can go for a velvet is either black, dark blue, dark green, or sometimes red; this just adds something a little different to your look without breaking convention.

mens velvet tuxedo jackets
Men’s Velvet Tuxedo Jackets – PHOTO CREDIT: Telegraph

White Tie

Now, white tie is a little different, it’s a lot more formal, but still has the same basis as a black tie tuxedo. When you look at a white tie suit, you’ll notice some differences, one being that the tie is actually white, but the jacket differs, and, you have the addition of a waistcoat.

The jacket is one of the main differences that you’ll find with white tie dress code. More commonly known as a fish tail coat, it’s significantly shorter in the body than a normal suit jacket, and the back is a lot lower with it separating and becoming a fish tail shape. White tie is normally reserved for the most formal occasions going, so you may not find an occasion where you have to wear one, but it’s good to know, just in case.

mens white tie dress code
Men’s White Tie Dress Code – PHOTO CREDIT: Jabong

Casual Suits

A casual suit probably isn’t what you first think it is. When I’m talking about casual suits, I’m talking about the less formal, more everyday suits that you’ll see when you’re out and about. This could be anything from a work suit, to a summer suit when you’re off on your travels.

Work Suits

If you work in an office environment you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when it comes to work suits. Every office differs on their dress code, some a very casual, whereas others are very formal, however, if you’re in that inbetween dress code, then it can get a bit tricky. It’s always best to stick with the classics, so go with a black suit.

Simple and stylish, it gives you a great base layer to work with to add a bit of colour and detail to your everyday office look. Teamed with a classic white button down Oxford shirt and a pair of black formal shoes, such as penny loafers or brogues, and you’ve got a cracking suit that’s office appropriate, comfortable and stylish.

mens black suit outfit grid white shirt black suit jacket black trousers penny loafers black tie
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Summer Suits

Wearing a suit in the summer may seem like a bit of a task, with the thick, heavy material and the constricting tie, it already sounds like a horror movie waiting to happen, and don’t get me started on getting on public transport with one on. But, a suit during the summer is a great way to introduce that sartorial edge to your look that you’ve been looking for.

The trick with a summer suit is getting the material right; because of the warmer weather you’re going to want a lighter material to work with, so opt for a linen or a lighter cotton in beige or navy to keep yourself airy and sweat stain free.

mens summer suits street style
Men’s Summer Suits Street Style

Short Suits

There’s been some debate whether a short suit is stylish or not, but, for the summer months when it simply gets too hot, a short suit is the perfect option. You probably thought a short suit meant a suit that was to short for you, but no, it’s swapping your trousers for a pair of shorts to keep those pins cool during the summer’s heat. Some of you may feel that this is a step too far when it comes to suiting, but why not give it a go.

Wearing a short suit is a great way of introducing a bit of detail to your look, and it’s always nice to try something different from time-to-time. Now, I’d probably avoid the office with a short suit, keep it for those casual summer events that requires a smarter dress code.

mens short suits street style
Men’s Short Suits Street Style – PHOTO CREDIT: Macleans

What Material Suit Should I Buy?

As we know, suits can come in a variety of forms, so another element to add into the mix is the material you want to go for. This can be a tricky element of the suit you’d have to tackle, as some materials aren’t appropriate for different situations and time of year. For instance, you’ll probably wouldn’t want to wear a wool suit in the height of summer, because you’ll cook from the inside, whereas a breathable linen suit would be perfect for those summer suiting events.

Cotton

Cotton is most common material that you’ll find when it comes to suiting. Its breathable, soft and durable qualities are what make it a great material to use when you’re choosing a suit.

Key Elements:

  • Natural material.
  • Breathable.
  • Durable.
  • Cheaper to use.
  • Quite heavy.
  • Better material for the colder months.
grey cotton material for suits
Cotton Material For Suits – PHOTO CREDIT: Best Fabrics

Wool

A wool suit may not sound like the most appealing material to use, but you’d be wrong. Wool is a great natural material to use when the weather isn’t at its warmest. It offers a detailed and textured element to your outfit without going too overboard.

Key Elements:

  • Natural material.
  • Thicker material.
  • Warmer.
  • Less breathable than cotton, but still allows room for breathability.
  • Better suited for the colder months.
  • Adds detail and texture to your suit.
  • Can be more expensive to buy.
wool material for suits
Wool Material For Suits – PHOTO CREDIT: 123 RF

Flannel

When you think of flannel, you probably think of that checkered print that graces various shirts, but flannel, as a material, has been around for well over 100 years. It grew in popularity during the 30’s and 40’s when business men in America would wear a grey flannel suit to work, and it became a sort of uniform for the white collar worker.

Key Elements:

  • Natural material.
  • Warm.
  • Made from cotton.
  • Breathable.
  • Soft.
  • Can be more expensive to use.
flannel material for suits
Flannel Material For Suits – PHOTO CREDIT: Beverlys

Tweed

Tweed is a style of material that many men would associate with farmers or royalty, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Tweed, however, has had a little bit of a remodel over the last few years, and, for many, it’s become a classic staple mainstay in their wardrobe arsenals. Many think that tweed is a rough material that’s quite scratchy and course. But, depending on how much you’re willing to pay, it can be the softest material you can choose, but of course, this depends on your budget.

Key Elements:

  • Thick, heavy material.
  • Made from wool and cotton.
  • Can be very expensive.
  • Depending on your price point, it can either be quite a rough texture to a soft, more supple texture.
tweed material for mens suits
Tweed Material For Suits – PHOTO CREDIT: The Mill Shop

Linen

A linen suit may bring back memories of your dad on holiday when you have to dress up for dinner. However, the linen suit has had a little bit of a remodel over the past few years to shake off that stigma of old men with socks and sandals, to stylish men sporting them during the warmer months whilst out and about.

Key Elements:

  • Natural material.
  • Very breathable.
  • Lightweight.
  • Can be expensive to use.
  • Creases easily.
  • A little more difficult to wash.
linen material for suits
Linen Material For Suits – PHOTO CREDIT: 123 RF

Polyester

When you hear the word polyester, you think of cheap and pretty nasty clothes that have been made to simply be worn once and thrown away. However, buying a suit in polyester will be a cheaper alternative to many of you as natural materials and fibres can get very expensive.

Key Elements:

  • Cheap to use.
  • Readily available.
  • Can be soft, yet still quite heavy.
  • Durable.
polyester material for suits
Polyester Material For Suits – PHOTO CREDIT: Leso UK

Polyester Blend

A polyester blend suit is something a little bit different to polyester. A polyester blend material is a combination of polyester with another material, usually cotton. This allows the wear to have the softness of the cotton in fabric, yet it’s still a cheaper alternative to a full cotton fabric.

Key Elements:

  • Cheaper to use.
  • Has elements of another material in the fabric.
  • Softer than polyester.
  • Durable.
cotton polyester blend suit material
Cotton Polyester Blend Suit Material – PHOTO CREDIT: Leso UK

What Colour Suit Should I Buy?

The colour of your suit is all down to personal preference. Of course, you may not want to wear a neon green suit to the office, but go for it if you feel your boss will approve. When it comes to suiting, you want to stick to the classic colours such as black, grey and navy. These colours are timeless and seasonless as you can wear them to any occasion at any time of the year and all will be well in the style stakes.

Of course, you can go wild with colour and pattern if you feel the occasion and time of year is right, but, for now, we’re sticking with the classic colours that you’ll see over and over again in the world of suits. We’ve added in pinstripe to show a different and patterned classic look you can aways go for.

Black

Black is definitely the most common and classic suit colour you can buy. You only have to walk down the street or get the tube in the morning to see the plethora of men sporting a black suit. Black is a great colour in general to have in your wardrobe; its neutrality and ease of wear make it a great base colour to work around, and it’s a slimming colour, so it doesn’t get much better than that.

How To Wear A Black Suit

Wearing a black suit can be a simple task, as long as you’ve got the basics covered, you’ll never have to struggle with what to wear in the morning again. Take your black suit jacket and trousers and pair them with a classic white button down shirt. This instantly gives you a simple and classic look that’s work appropriate and timeless. With the added detail of a black tie and a pair of black shoes, you’ve got a simple and basic outfit covered for the office or formal functions.

how to wear a black suit white shirt black tie black suit jacket black trousers black chelsea boots
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Grey

We’ve gone a shade up form black now with a grey suit thrown into the mix. Grey is another great base colour to work around as a multitude of colours and patterns work with this neutral tone. Another great thing about grey is that the shades vary, so you can go from an almost black shade of grey, to an almost white shade (50 shades of grey if you will).

How To Wear A Grey Suit

We’ve gone for a little bit of a different look with this outfit. One of this season’s biggest trends is mixing formal and casual together, which I couldn’t be happier about. This means teaming normally casual pieces, such as a T-shirt with a suit, and that’s exactly what we’ve done here. Take your grey suit jacket and trousers and team them with a plain white T-shirt. This keeps the look smart, yet you still have that element of casualness about it.

Your footwear can go either way, we’ve gone with a simple brown loafer, but you can always sport a pair of fresh white trainers, just to keep that trend going, and, keeping it super comfortable.

how to wear a grey suit white t shirt grey suit jacket grey trousers brown loafers
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Navy

The navy suit has grown in popularity over the years, and over here at Idle HQ we can certainly see why. Navy is a very flattering colour, as it gives you the darkness of black, yet it has slightly more depth to the colour, giving you more colour and detail over a simple black suit. Much like grey, the shades of navy can differ from an almost black colour, to a very light shade of navy. Personally, I’d go for a darker shade of navy as it’s easier to work with and more flattering.

How To Wear A Navy Suit

Wearing a navy suit is easy, much like the black suit, you just need the basics to pull together a cracking outfit no matter what the season. Team your navy suit jacket and trousers with a pink button down shirt; navy and pink work incredibly well together, but don’t go for a vibrant shade of pink, you’ll want to go for a lighter, more subtle shade to work against the darkness of the navy.

For the rest of your outfit, you’ll want to work with colours that mix well with the navy and the pink. Go for a formal brown shoe, such as a loafer or brogue, and match that with a brown belt. One rule for menswear is to always match the colour of your shoes with your belt, if you don’t, it can look a little messy and un-stylish.

how to wear a navy suit pink shirt navy suit jacket navy trousers brown loafers belt flask
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Pinstripe

If someone were to say to you ‘how about a pinstripe suit’ you’d probably question how old they think you are. However, a pinstripe is a cracking way to introduce a little bit of detail to a simple suit. Whether you go for a pinstripe suit in black or navy, you can be rest assured that it will work for you as a stylish and bang on trend suit.

How To Wear A Pinstripe Suit

Because you’ve got a lot of detail on your suit already, you don’t want to wear anything else that will take away from that. So, team a simple white button down shirt and a pair of brown Chelsea boots with your pinstripe suit. This allows the full detail of your suit to shine threw, rather than overpowering it with more detail underneath.

how to wear a pinstripe suit white shirt pinstripe blazer pinstripe trousers brown chelsea boots
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The Different Buttoning

If you’re really into your suits, then you’ve probably noticed that there are few different buttoning options for you to choose from. The two most common ones are single and double breasted. This simply means that single breasted has one button along the seam, whereas a double breasted suit has two buttons alongside each other, yet only one of them will actually button up.

mens single breasted vs double breasted suits jackets
Men’s Single Breasted vs Double Breasted Suits Jackets. PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

Single Breasted

A single breasted suit is definitely the most common buttoning style that you’ll find on a suit. It’s more appropriate to wear to work, or keep it casual for a less formal event. There are three different options when it comes to how many buttons you can have on your suit jacket, they are one, two or three buttons. This is all down to personal preference, so the choice is up to you how many you decide to go for.

A single breasted suit is more slimming than a double breasted. This is because a single breasted suit draws the eye into one area of your body, rather than having two buttons, which creates a wider illusion when wearing it. Another rule, yes there’s another rule, when you’re buttoning up your suit jacket is to never button all the buttons up.

If you’ve got a one button suit, then always button it up, a two button suit, you should always button the top button up and leave the lower button undone. For a three button suit, which is less commonly seen, you should always button the middle button up, leave the bottom button undone, and the top button is optional.

single breasted suit jacket
Single Breasted Suit Jacket – PHOTO CREDIT: A Tailored Suit

Double Breasted

Over the past few years the double breasted suit has made a real comeback, especially for those who are into men’s fashion and style for that sartorial edge. More commonly seen in Europe, the double breasted suit makes for a nice change to the single breasted suit by adding detail, and a point of contact for the eye to be drawn to. Now, I wouldn’t suggest sporting a double breasted suit if you’re of a stockier build, as it creates the illusion of a wider frame as your eye is drawn to both sides of the suit, rather than a singular point like you would with a single breasted suit.

A double breasted suit looks great in any colour, and I mean any colour. If you were to look at street style images of men wearing double breasted suits, you’ll notice that they sport them in a variety of colours, and in the summer, a double breasted suit in beige looks spot on with a crisp white button down underneath.

double breasted suit jacket mens street style
Double Breasted Blazer Men’s Street Style – PHOTO CREDIT: A Suit That Fits

How Do I Buy A Suit?

Buying a suit in itself can be a difficult task. With the amount of choice and shops you can go for, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and confused, derailing you from what you actually wanted. The important thing to note before you start looking at buying suits is to know exactly what you’re looking for. If you know exactly what kind of suit you want, and what you want it for, it can help you narrow down you choice when you’re out buying it.

There are a a few different options when you’re buying a suit, you can either go bespoke, made-to-measure and ready-to-wear. The choice is yours which one you go for, but this obviously depends on your price point, as a bespoke suit can cost you thousands.

Bespoke

A bespoke suit is one of the most luxurious and expensive style of suit you could buy. What bespoke means is that you choose every part of the suit, from the lining to the buttons and the style. Every part of it is down to you, and it will be measured and cut by a tailor so it will be the best fitting suit you could ever buy. Now, this doesn’t come cheap, as most bespoke tailors are located on Savile Row, which, for those of you who don’t know, is probably the most well known street in the world for tailoring, as massive designers and family ran tailors are situated on Savile Row.

You can pay upwards of £4000 for a bespoke suit, now, tailors such as Dege & Skinner and Gieves & Hawkes cater for some of the most famous, even royal, people in the world, o you’re not only paying for the quality and skill, but you’re also paying for the name.

tailor at norton and sons savile row
Tailor at Norton & Sons, Savile Row – PHOTO CREDIT: Norton & Sons

Made-To-Measure

Made-to-measure is very similar to bespoke, but it does have slight differences. Where bespoke suit you can choose every detail that goes into it, a made-to-measure suit is more limited. With made-to-measure, you’ll be given a selection of styles for you to choose from, it limits the creativity of your suit, but you’ll still get the quality.

Once you’ve picked out your suit style and material, you’ll be measured, just like a bespoke suit, and your suit jacket and trousers will be altered to your body shape. You’ll got in for a fitting, where you’ll try the suit on and a tailor will measure you again, as there may be some slight differences, so the suit will taken back to the tailor and altered over and over again until it’s perfect.

tailors at dege and skinner savile row
Tailors at Dege & Skinner, Savile Row

Ready-To-Wear

A ready-to-wear suit is something that we can all relate to. What ready-to-wear simple means, is that you can pick something off of the rail and take it home with your there and then. There isn’t as much option in the creative department, but you’ll be paying significantly less than a made-to-measure or a bespoke suit.

You don’t have to stick with Savile Row for a ready-to-wear suit, you can walk into any high street shop or tailor and pick up a ready-to-wear suit. Now, this suit probably won’t fit you perfectly, but you’re not paying for the made-to-measure or bespoke service. However, if you did want to buy a ready-to-wear suit and have it slightly more fitted, then you can go to a dry cleaners or high street tailor where they can do it for you.

ready to wear suits at dege and skinner savile row
Ready-To-Wear Suits at Dege & Skinner, Savile Row

Suit And Shirt Combinations

Getting the suit and shirt combinations right can be a little bit of a tricky process. However, with a few tips and tricks, you can have the suit and shirt combinations down to a tee in no time at all. All you have to know is what colours work, for instance, a black suit is probably the easiest one to tackle, as black is a great base colour to work around, so the choice can be limitless.

Shirts With A Black Suit

A black suit, as I’ve said, is probably the easiest suit to try and pair a shirt with. Black is a great base colour to work with, because it’s such a neutral, dark colour, other colours and shades bounce off of it, making it a subtle and simple backdrop to show off a colourful shirt underneath.

However, we’ve brought the colour back a bit, giving you a few classic and easy to wear options to team with your black suit. If you want to keep it classic, then go for a simple white button down shirt for a simple and stylish look. If you do want to introduce a slight hint of colour then go for a blue or maybe even pink as their shades can vary massively. These are great starter colours to work with, and if you’re feeling more confident, then you can a bit bolder with colour and pattern.

men black suit and shirt combinations
Men’s Black Suit and Shirt Combinations

Shirts With A Grey Suit

A grey suit is another great option to pair with a multitude of shirts. Much like black it offers a neutral pallet for you to work some colour into your everyday look. The great thing about grey is that the shades of it vary (much like the book), so you can have an almost black grey, or the polar opposite with an almost white shade.

We’ve gone for something a little inbetween, lighter in colour, but still a little dark enough to work a little more colour around it. If colour isn’t your thing, then go for a classic white, or maybe even black button down shirt. Two neutral tones that will work perfectly against the grey of your suit. If you do want to introduce a little bit of colour into your suit, then go for a subtle pink or blue, much like black, these work great against the darker hue of the grey. I wouldn’t go more adventurous than these two colours, as grey has undertones of blue it’s easier to pair, and pink is a complete contrast, so if you stick to these you’ll be good to go.

grey suit and shirt combinations for men
Men’s Grey Suit and Shirt Combinations

Shirts With A Navy Suit

Navy is a little bit different. Because you’ve got a lot of colour in the suit, you don’t want to go too overboard with the colour underneath. However, the great thing about grey is that it works as a tonal outfit, meaning that you can wear varying shades of the same colour in one look.

So, if you do want to try and tackle a tonal look, then keep the shade of your shirt lighter than your suit. So fi your navy suit is quite dark, go for a lighter blue to counteract it. Pink is a great colour to wear with navy, the contrast between the two makes for a cracking look, but you’ll want to keep the tones subtle, don’t go too overboard with the pink, as this may throw your look off as a whole, stick to lighter shades and work around them.

mens navy suit and shirt combinations
Men’s Navy Suit and Shirt Combinations

Wearing A Suit Without A Tie

Wearing a suit without a tie can be a little bit of a touchy subject with many, especially if you’re into your suits and know what you’re doing when it comes to dressing dapper. However, this isn’t 1964 anymore, and a tie isn’t a requirement in the workplace (unless you work in a stricter, more formal environment). A suit without a tie is a more casual approach to the regular formality. Plus, it makes for a nice change. So if you do want to tackle a suit without a tie, then you’re more open to colour and pattern within your suit, and your shirt itself.

Now, I don’t mean you can wear some disastrous shirt and suit combination and end up looking like Noel Edmunds fresh from payday (sorry Noel). Keep the pattern to one element, whether it’s your suit or your shirt, pick one, not both. We’ve gone for a checkered suit with  plain white button down underneath; this may seem like a bit of a loud option for a suit, but trust me, it works. Because the suit itself is navy, you’ll want to go for a brown formal shoe, or, to keep yourself bang on trend, a pair of fresh white trainers.

checkered suit white shirt brown penny laofers
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Accessorising Your Suit

I bet you thought we were through when it came to suits, but no, there’s still me to know about. Accessorising your suit is a simple yet effective task as it can add a little bit of detail and have a big impact on your look as a whole.

The first choice you’d probably think of is a pocket square. A pocket square is a great way to add a subtle hint of detail to you suit jacket. The world is quite literally your oyster when it comes to pocket squares, as the colours and pattern choices are endless, so you can really go to town with them. A pocket square doesn’t necessarily have to match with your suit, you can go out there and pick whatever colour you like, as you’re adding a bit of you personality to your look.

pocket squares for men
Pocket Squares for Men

You thought a pocket square was a discreet hint of detail, well, you haven’t met the lapel pin. A lapel pin does what it says on the tin, you pin it to your lapel to create a very subtle hint of detail. Much like the pocket square, the choice is up to you what kind of one you go for, so go wild, pick a blue flowery one, or, one that even says your name, as long as you’re happy with it that’s the main thing.

lapel pins for men
Lapel Pins for Men

Further Reading: The History Of The Suit

It’s fair to say that the trusty suit has had its share of re-makes and re-models over the years, I think many of you would like to forget the 80’s when shoulder pads were in. But the suit itself dates back hundreds of years, obviously, not what it is today, but the basis and core elements of the suit can still be seen.

The current style of suit can be traced back to the early 19th century, when the way a man dressed changed dramatically. During the 18th century, men were a lot more flamboyant and out there when it came to dressing, however, at the turn of the 19th century, we saw a complete turn around; men wanted to be more conservative and, in essence, duller. men wanted to be more comfortable, as game sports and other activities became more readily available, men wanted something they could move in and stay comfortable.

men-wearing-morning-coats-in-the-20th-century
Men Wearing Morning Coats in The 20th Century – PHOTO CREDIT: Morning Dress Guide

Moving forward 100 years, and we can start seeing something a little more familiar and modern. At the beginning of the 20th century the suit became an everyday essential for the proper gentleman. Its sharp and fitted design meant that men looked proper and more formal for both work and casual settings.

men wearing suits
Men Wearing Suits in The 20th Century – PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

It wasn’t until the late 1920’s/ early 1930’s that we started to see men vary up their suit collections, especially in America. No longer were men after the bog standard black suit anymore, they want something modern, sleeker and brighter. You only have to look back at pictures of men around that time to see that complete overhaul of attire. The flannel wool suit was popular during the 30’s and 40’s due to its warmth and practicality.

president truman wearing a grey woolen flannel suit
President Truman Wearing a Grey Flannel Suit – PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

From the 1940’s onwards, the suit hasn’t changed all too much. Men are still after that sleek and fitted shape, whilst still keeping all of it’s comfort, practicality and style. Trends come and go with suits, but the one thing that remains are the classics, and you know what they say, you can’t beat the classics.

And On That Note

The world of suits is wide and varied. The amount of choice that we have out there is endless, so it’s really down to personal preference what kind of suit you decide to go for. But, if you’re struggling a little bit, then stick with the classics, as you know where you are with them. But one thing I must stress to all of you out there, is to get yourself measured properly! This is the most important factor when you’re buying a suit, as a well fitting suit is step one to looking stylish.

I know there’s a lot of choice out there when it comes to actually picking what you want from your suit, material, colour, style, but once you’ve figured it all out and come to a final decision (I know it can be tricky) you can be rest assured that this guide is here to help you style it out, and who knows, it may even help you get to that first decision.

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Check out this definitive guide to men’s suits. This will be your go-to when you’re wondering what the world of suits actually means, from...
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