Is It Okay to Wear a Different Suit Jacket Than Trousers?

A traditional men’s three-piece suit consists of trousers with a matching jacket and vest. Of course, a three-piece suit isn’t always necessary. Generally speaking, it’s used for black tie and other highly formal events and occasions. For all other occasions, wearing only a suit jacket with matching trousers will suffice. But what if your jacket doesn’t match your trousers? Is it still okay to wear a suit if these two essential garments don’t match?

Yes! It’s Okay… And There’s Even a Word For It

Not only is it okay to wear a different suit jacket than trousers, but it’s so common that there’s even a word for it: separates. Wearing “suit separates” essentially means that your trousers have a different color and/or style than your suit jacket. If your trousers feature a dark gray color and your jacket features a lighter beige color, you are wearing suit separates.

Of course, wearing suit separates poses several challenges that you need to be aware of. With these two garments featuring a different style, you need to ensure they match or otherwise flow cohesively with one another. This is in stark contrast to wearing a traditional three-piece suit. If your trousers and jacket feature the same design, you don’t have to worry about them not matching. If they don’t feature the same design, however, you’ll need to choose these garments carefully to ensure they have a positive impact on your overall appearance.

Stick with the Same Fabric

A good rule of thumb to follow when wearing suit separates is to stick with the same fabric. In other words, if your trousers are made of linen, you should choose a linen jacket. Alternatively if your trousers are made of corduroy, you should choose a corduroy jacket. Wearing a corduroy jacket with a pair of linen trousers isn’t going to look right, nor will help your appearance. The alternating fabrics will clash with one another to create an awkward and unkempt appearance. To prevent this from happening, stick with the same fabric for your trousers and suit jacket.

Color Coordinate

You also need to color coordinate your trousers and suit jacket. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the two garments must feature the same color. It only means that the colors should match or compliment each other. If your suit jacket is black and your trousers are brown, your outfit won’t match. Black and brown clash with one another, and thus should be avoided in the same outfit. On the other hand, it’s perfectly fine to wear a black suit jacket with a pair of dark gray trousers. Although they aren’t exactly the same color, the two garments will still match because of the way in which gray and black compliment each other.

If you need help choosing colors for suit separates, consider wearing one primary color and one secondary color. You can refer to the color wheels to see what constitutes a primary color and what constitutes a secondary color. Many fashion experts, however, recommend this formula when choosing colors for an outfit.

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Go Without a Necktie

Normally a necktie is an essential component of a suit. It enhances the wearer’s appearance by adding color, patterns and symmetry to his outfit. But not all occasions require the use of a necktie. If you’re getting dressed for a semi-formal event, for instance, you can probably leave the necktie at home — something that’s actually recommended when wearing suit separates. If your suit jacket doesn’t match your trousers, leaving off the necktie will create a more appropriate appearance.

Wearing suit separates is less formal than wearing a traditional matching suit. As a result, you really don’t need to wear a necktie. Leaving off the necktie will help you achieve a more balanced appearance that’s perfect for suit separates. So, consider leaving the necktie at home the next time you wear suit separates.

The Size Is Right

Perhaps the most important tip for wearing suit separates is to choose the right size. Wearing slim trousers with an oversized jacket, or vise-versa, won’t look right. Your trousers and suit jacket must be proportionately sized to create a clean and attractive appearance. If you’re having trouble finding trousers and a suit jacket in the right size, consider shopping here at StudioSuits. We offer custom sizing at no additional charge. You tell us your measurements, and we’ll use those measurements to customize the size of your suit.

Beware When Cleaning

Use caution when washing and cleaning your suit separates to protect against damage. Your suit jacket, for instance, might require dry cleaning, whereas your suit trousers can be washed in the washing machine. This is particularly true if the two garments are made by different companies or brands. If you want your suit jacket and trousers to last, check the care label before washing or cleaning them. Here, you’ll find specific instructions on how to clean and care for the respective garments.

Beware of Fading

Something you should be aware of is the potential for irregular fading. If you’re wearing suit separates, your trousers and jacket will fade. And assuming they are part of a different suit, they may no longer feature the exact same color or tone. Your trousers, for instance, will likely feature a lighter tone than the jacket for which they were designed. You can overcome this problem somewhat by wearing the jacket as well. As the jacket fades from use, it should become lighter as well, eventually achieving a similar tone as the trousers.

The Bottom Line on Suit Separates…

To recap, it’s perfectly fine to wear suit separates. Some men even prefer wearing different suit trousers than their jacket. When these two garments feature a different color or style, it creates a more complex appearance. There’s a right way and a wrong way to wear suit separates, however. Refer to the tips outlined here to wear suit separates the right way.