The Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing a Suit Without a Necktie

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Who says you need to wear a necktie with a suit? Some men assume that two- or three-piece suit requires a necktie, but this isn’t necessarily true. While wearing a necktie is always an option — in can enhance your appearance in many appearance — there’s no rule stating that you must wear this accessory with your suit. With that said, there are a few dos and don’ts you should follow when wearing a suit without a necktie.

Do Choose the Right Color Dress Shirt

Arguably, one of the most important tips to follow when wearing a suit without a necktie is to choose a dress shirt in the right color. Without a necktie, there’s greater emphasis placed on your dress shirt. If it features a mismatching or otherwise poor color, it will bring down your appearance while negating your efforts to create a formal, cohesive outfit. A good rule of thumb is to choose a dress shirt in a color that contrasts to the color of your suit jacket and trousers. A white shirt, for example, is a a great all-around choice for a black suit.

Don’t Button the Top of the Collar

Most fashion experts will agree that you should button the top of your dress shirt’s collar when wearing a suit. However, this rule only applies if you are wearing a necktie. If you are omitting a necktie from your outfit, you don’t have to button the top of your shirt collar. In fact, leaving it unbuttoned is recommended, as this offers a more relaxed appearance that flows cohesively with the rest of your outfit. Only button the top of your shirt collar if you are wearing a necktie with your suit. Otherwise, leave it unbuttoned.

Do Check the Collar

Not all dress shirts can be worn without a necktie. Depending on the collar style, you may be forced to wear this otherwise common suit accessory. The spread, button-down and club collars, for example, are all acceptable to wear without a necktie. These three classic collar types offer the ability to wear a necktie or leave this accessory out of your outfit. On the other hand, dress shirts with the forward point collar should be worn with a necktie. Classified as the most common and traditional collar type, the forward point is characterized by a narrow opening separating the front flaps of fabric. Without a necktie, it creates a messy appearance that most men want to avoid. So, check your dress shirt’s collar before sporting a suit without a necktie. If it features a forward point collar, don’t wear it without a necktie.

Don’t Wear a Wrinkled Dress Shirt

It’s never a good idea to wear a wrinkled dress shirt with a suit, but it’s particularly problematic if you aren’t wearing a necktie. Normally, a necktie helps to conceal your dress shirt, essentially hiding and minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and creases. If you omit this accessory from your outfit, however, you won’t be able to take advantage of these benefits. Rather, everyone can see your dress shirt and any wrinkles or creases that it contains. This shouldn’t prevent you from wearing a suit without a necktie. If your dress shirt is wrinkled, check the care label for the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to clean and maintain it. The manufacturer should reveal the best way to press the shirt, such as ironing it or having it dry cleaned. Follow the manufacturer’s advice to de-wrinkle your dress shirt before wearing it without a necktie.

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Do Wear Dress Shoes

It should go without saying that you need to wear dress shoes when sporting a suit without a necktie. Again, there’s greater emphasis placed on other aspects of your outfit when you don’t wear a necktie. More people will see your shoes, for example, which can either help or hurt your efforts to create an attractive and formal appearance. Stick with a pair of high-quality formal dress shoes while avoiding casual or athletic shoes. Regardless of the occasion for which you are wearing a suit, you need to accessorize it with the right footwear. This is an important step to creating a formal appearance, and you shouldn’t overlook it when wearing a suit without a necktie.

Don’t Wear Suit Separates

What is a “suit separate” and why shouldn’t you wear one? A suit separate refers to a suit with mismatching trousers and a suit jacket. Normally, suits are sold with both a jacket and matching trousers. Some men, however, prefer to buy their trousers and jackets separately — something known as “wearing suit separates.” The problem with suit separates is that they only work with a necktie. If your trousers don’t match your jacket, you’ll fail to achieve a uniform and cohesive appearance.

Do Clean Your Dress Shirt

Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that you’ll look better if your dress shirt is clean. Without a necktie to conceal the upper part of your suit, it will remain visible for the world to see. If it’s dirty or stained, it will likely to take a toll on your appearance, thereby hindering your ability to create an attractive, formal outfit. Thankfully, most dress shirts are easily cleaned in the washing machine just like other garments. You can take your dress shirt to get dry cleaned, but placing them in the washing machine is equally effective for most fabrics.

Don’t Wear an Oversized Suit

It’s important that you wear a suit in the right size, especially if you’re not including a necktie in your outfit. The lack of a necktie means there’s less fabric underneath your suit jacket. And if your suit jacket is just a little too big, it will create a baggy, awkward appearance. You should only wear a suit without a necktie if the suit is designed to fit your body.