Let's face it, every man needs a suit in his wardrobe. Even if your job/occupation doesn't require you to wear on a daily basis, there are certain occasions that will arise that DO
call for a suit. And failure to wear one will make you stick out like a sore thumb -- and not in a good way!
But it takes more than just a cheap, generic suit from your local department store to achieve a polished and formal appearance. Many men make are guilty of making some pretty big mistakes with their suits, ultimately negating all of their hard work. So before you go buttoning up your jacket and heading out the door, you should read the following. Who knows, perhaps you are guilty of making one or more of these mistakes? The only way you'll know is by familiarizing yourself with them, which we're going to walk you through in this week's blog post.
Avoid Blazers for Formal Occasions
There's a time and place for wearing a blazer, but formal events and occasions isn't one of them. Some men assume that blazers are the same as suit jackets. After all, the two garments look very similar to the untrained eye. Upon closer inspection, however, you'll notice there are subtle differences between the two. Typically made of wool, blazers are less formal than their suit jacket counterpart. They often contain visible stitching and silver or gold buttons. Granted, there's nothing wrong with wearing a blazer for casual occasions, but if you are trying to achieve a formal appearance you should stick with a suit jacket. Suit jackets are the most formal form of men's outwear, often made of a finer, high-quality wool, although you can also find summer variants available in lighter materials like cotton and linen. Sports coats are also sold with matching trousers, which cannot be said for blazers.
Match Your Shoes and Necktie
Can't seem to choose the right pair of shoes for your suit? A good rule of thumb is to wear the same color shoes as your necktie. If you are wearing a black necktie, for instance, wear a similar pair of black-colored shoes, perhaps Oxford leather shoes. This creates a matching combination that ultimately enhances your appearance. Consequently, you should avoid wearing mismatching shoes and neckties that clash with each other. Black shoes, for instance, would clash with a brown necktie, and brown shoes would clash with a black necktie -- you get the idea. Make sure your shoes and necktie match; otherwise, you'll have a difficult time trying to achieve an attractive, formal appearance with your suit.
Watch the Shoulders
Want to know the single most common mistake that men make when wearing a suit? It's choosing a jacket with oversized shoulders. Even if the rest of the jacket and suit fit just right, oversized shoulders are a big no-non that draws attention. Ideally, the shoulders of a suit jacket should fit snug on your shoulders, without puffing up. The image below depicts the right way in which a suit jacket should be worn. Notice how there's no puffiness in the man's shoulders? This is the correct way to wear a suit jacket, as the shoulders fit appropriately without puffing up.
Never Button the Bottom Button... Unless it's a Single-Button Jacket
The golden rule of suit jackets 101 is to leave the bottom button unfastened unless it's a single-button jacket. Whether it's a two-button or three-button suit jacket, you should leave the bottom-most button unfastened. With a three-button jacket, fastening the top button is optional. You can either button it or leave it unbuttoned. But the only time when the bottom-most button should be fastened is with a single-button jacket, in which case it's perfectly acceptable. If you can't remember which buttons on your jacket to fasten, refer back to this blog post for help.
Shirt Sleeve Length
When choosing a dress shirt to wear with a suit, you should pay close attention to the sleeve length. In other words, where do the shirt sleeves end? If they are too short, or too long, it creates an awkward appearance that ultimately hurts your image. So, what's the right length for shirt sleeves with a suit? Ideally, your should sleeves should stop at the base of your thumb. Go ahead and put on your dress shirt, and then place your hands by your side. Now, if your shirt sleeves stop either before or after the base of your thumb, you should find a new shirt.
Suit Jacket Length
In addition to dress shirts, you should also consider the length of your jacket sleeves. With that said, jacket sleeves should be shorter than shirt sleeves. A proper-fitted suit jacket should feature sleeves that stop roughly 1/2 an inch shorter than the shirt sleeves. If you aren't sure whether or not your jacket sleeves achieve this length, pull out the measuring tape. This may seem like an insignificant element of a suit, but sleeve lengths can and will affect your appearance -- and that can be either good or bad depending on how your suit is worn.
Don't underestimate the importance of choosing a suit in the right fabric. If you've spent any time shopping for a new men's suit, you are probably well aware of just how many different fabrics are used in their construction. Some suits are made of lightweight materials like cotton and linen, whereas others are made of thicker and heavier materials like corduroy and wool. Heavier materials are typically preferred for the cool fall and winter months. For the summer, it's best to stick with suits made of a lighter material, as they provide greater breathability.
Unbutton Your Suit Jacket When Sitting Down
Try to get into the habit of unbuttoning your suit jacket before sitting down. Failure to do so could result in one or more of your suit buttons popping off, which is something no one wants to see happen to their new suit. By unbuttoning your suit jacket before sitting down, however, you'll prevent this from happening.