Now that you have size and fit sorted, what type of suit do you buy first? With all the different patterns, colour combinations, textures and weights, it is hard to determine which suit will serve you best. We have put together a guide to help you get the balance of classic pieces and trendy statements just right.
Choosing Suit Colours
If you are buying your first suit, it is best to start with something classic. Start with solid colour suits in navy or grey tones which are more versatile than an all black number, and then you can begin to build up with textures and patterns.
Choosing Suit Fabrics
Otherwise known as the classic twill Serge is a durable military grade fabric that is often used for classic suits. It is a high quality woolen material, often rich in colour, and finished off so that the fibres are prominent giving it a clear and polished finish. By starting your collection off with a serge fabric in a dark navy or other solid colour you will have a classic yet versatile base to your wardrobe.
Birdseye & Herringbone
Both textures are conservative but add depth to your overall look. Birdseye is known for its tiny dot pattern whilst herringbone is distinguished by a zigzag pattern woven into the fabric uses two colours. Both options bring an eye-catching difference to a solid coloured suit.
Choosing Suit Patterns
Pin, chalk or cable? All these stripes have subtle differences and will change the overall look of your suit. Pin stripes refer to very thin single stripes woven into the fabric of a suit. They are generally used on worsted wool. Chalk and rope stripes are a series of threads, wider than a pin stripe, often resembling a rope. Stripes can sometime be an imposing look. Make sure you mix up the look with a shirt, for example, a small gingham print that will break the wall of stripes. Lighter hues of grey and blue with a stripe are a good option as they steer away from looking too much like a retro Wall Street banker.
Checkered suits should be the last addition to your wardrobe. Although they can add flare to your collection, they are less versatile and formal than the other options mentioned. Glen checks or plaid checks are the traditional checks you will find on most suits. They work well with lighter shades of grey or blue, often with a complementing colour used for the pattern. Like stripes, checkered suits can often be overwhelming. Pair your suit with a solid shirt and tie combination, or if you want to opt for a print, try a smaller check in a colour already used on the suit.
Making Your Outfit Complete
Shirt and tie combinations are the final and hardest hurdle in perfecting the look of your suit. The wrong combination of colours, textures or patterns will undo all the hard work you have put into making sure your suit is the one for you.
- Look for texture within a tie – whether it is knitted, woven or matte, it will add an extra element to your look and break up the monotony of your shirt and suit. They are also easier to wear
- Shirts come in all different patterns and colours, the possibilities of putting together shirt and tie combination are endless! Stick with something you know will work well e.g. a striped shirt with a polka dot, geometric or paisley tie will always work. Or, small gingham checks are more versatile than larger ones—work it with a tie that is a shade darker in a solid colour to make the pattern stand out
- Accessories – to pull together your outfit add final touches like a pocket square, flower lapel pin or tie pin.
- Shoes – as a general rule of thumb, black shoes work well with black, black grey, light grey or navy suits. Brown shoes match a brown suit, light grey or navy. Always make sure your belt matches your shoes!
- Always have a ‘go-to’ selection of tie and shirt combinations. Try different combinations at home and have them ready for when you need to get dressed and out the door quickly
- Bold or patterned ties always work well with a crisp white shirt
- White, light blue and light pink are three essential shirts every man must own
- Your tie should be the width of your lapel, no wider!
- Never match your pocket square to your tie. Instead pick a colour that is in the weave of your suit
- A pocket square looks good with an open shirt or a tie. It can be folded as a square or puff and depending on how much you show, can be both conservative and flamboyant. It is an excellent way to show flair and style. Pocket squares are not the focal point of your outfit, should not bulge and should not cost more than your shirt or tie