Life 101

The 14 Cardinal Rules Of Wearing A Suit

Suits are to women what lingerie are to men. Or so I'm told.

This is why it is so important to get it right when you're wearing a suit, and why it is so wrong to break any of these rules. Ever seen a guy walking down the street in a suit and think that he doesn't look that slick but you can figure out why? It's probably because he's breaking one of these rules.

So for any weddings or graduations or debs you have in the future, refer to this list, and you'll be one of the slickest guys in the room.

1. Never Button The Bottom Button Of A Suit Jacket

Never do it. Ever. This is the most common mistake that guys make when wearing a suit, and it's the worst one. Whether it's got two buttons or three buttons, single or double-breasted, you just shouldn't do it. The jacket is tailored to only have the middle button closed, so that's the only button you should close. Ignore the bottom one, it's just there for style. Oh, and when you're sitting down, unbutton the jacket again. The jacket will look awkward on you if you don't and you could actually ruin the shape of it.


2. Always Button The Top Button Of Your Shirt


Unlike the jacket, you're supposed to use all of the buttons on a shirt, and if you can't close the top button without choking yourself, then go get a new shirt. You're not fooling anyone if you leave it unbuttoned and just pull the tie all the way to the top. The lines of the shirt collar don't match up and you most definitely will not look slick. Of course when the dancing starts at the after party, feel free to open it up, and even tie your tie around your head. But until the dancing starts, keep that sucker closed.


3. Your Shirt Cuffs Shouldn't Go Over Your Hands

Your shirt cuffs should be narrow enough that they rest just on the top of your hands at the start of your thumb. A good rule of thumb (I LOVE puns) is that if you can fit your hand through the cuff when it's buttoned or fastened with cuff links, then it's too wide.


4. Your Jacket Should Fit


This sounds like an obvious one but again a lot of guys break this rule. The shoulders of your suit should hug your own shoulders, there should be no gap between the collar of your shirt and the collar of your jacket, and ideally, the jacket sleeves should be about a half-inch shorter than your shirt sleeves. Anything else and the jacket is too big for you. But be careful not to go too far the other way. Skinny fit suits are pretty popular at the moment and can look good, but you should always be able to button the jacket and still fit your hand comfortably between the breast and your shirt.


5. Your Trousers Should Fit

Your trousers should just about sit on the tops of your shoes. If they're too long they just looked bunched up and baggy, and if they're too short, you can see your socks. Neither of which are a particularly good look.


6. Your Belt Should Match Your Shoes


A lot of guys, myself included, like wearing a brown belt to be a little different, and make the suit look slightly lighter than if you were to wear a black belt. And this is perfectly fine, just as long as you wear brown shoes as well. The colour of your shoes should always be the same as the colour of your belt, no exceptions. And if you're wearing a watch with a leather strap, this should match also. You might think this is just being OCD, but it does work, and your suit will look a million times better if they do match then if they don't.


7. Your Shoes Should Complement The Colour Of Your Suit

There is a certain amount of mixing and matching that can be done with this, but certain combinations should never be put together. For example, brown shoes should never be worn with a black suit, and black shoes should never be worn with a brown suit.


8. Your Socks Should Always Cover Your Legs


You go through all the effort and actually look pretty bad-ass in your suit, then suddenly you sit down and everyone can see your hairy legs between your socks and your trousers. Make sure your socks are long enough. And if you want to make your legs look longer, wear socks that are the same colour as your trousers. Or wear Power Ranger socks. It doesn't really matter as long they're long enough.


9. Your Tie Should End At Or Just Before Your Belt

This one might be a case of trial and error when you're getting dressed because it can be pretty difficult to judge where exactly to tie the knot, but it's worth it. At the very minimum, you shouldn't be able to see any of your shirt buttons if you don't have a tie on, while not going beyond your belt when you're standing up.


10. Waistcoats Should Also Finish At Your Belt


This rule is obviously just for if you're wearing a three-piece suit, but it is still important to get right. If you pull off a three-piece you will definitely be one of the sexiest bastards in the room, and the key to this is making sure the waistcoat is a pretty slim fit, pinched in at your waist, with it finishing at or just below your belt. And for the love of god, don't have your tie sticking out from under it. You'll like a child wearing his big brother's hand-me-downs that don't quite fit him yet.


11. Your Tie Knot Should Be A Reasonable Size

Huge tie knots seem to be hand in hand with ties that are too short, so just don't do either. Footballers have a habit of this and it just looks stupid. Windsor knots always look classy, but they can be pretty hard to tie, so a pratt knot is a pretty good alternative. It ends up in roughly the same shape while being an awful lot easier to tie.


12. Your Tie Should Be Darker Than Your Shirt


The last rule for your tie, this isn't quite as important as the other two as it is more a question of taste, but in general, a darker tie will look a lot sharper than one that is lighter than the colour of your suit.


13. Cut The Thread On The Vents And Pockets When You Buy It

Before you buy a suit, there will be thread keeping all of the outside pockets closed, and the vent(s) at the back also closed. This is help keep the shape of the jacket even when loads of people are coming in to try it on. So when you do eventually pick the one you want, the first thing you should do when you get home is cut all of these threads. Otherwise, your jacket will hang weirdly when you're walking, and will most definitely not look slick.


14. If You're Wearing Braces, Don't Wear A Belt

Simple enough really, the idea behind braces is to keep your trousers up, like a belt, so if you wear both at the same time one of them is obviously redundant. It's like standing under a bus shelter to keep out of the rain while still having your umbrella up. It just looks odd.


CollegeTimes Staff
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