The 9 Essential Rules of Suiting-Up

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Image from @manmantra via Oxford Shop Instagram

Guys always tend to look their smartest, their slickest and their sharpest when wearing a suit. Donning slick suits is why the infamous “Rat Pack” oozed style and class, why Conor McGregor always stands out at press events, and a key factor as to why James Bond is always such a hit with the ladies… well that, and his smooth one liners of course! However, sometimes guys can’t quite nail the look, and end up not appearing as impressive as they’d hoped to.

Simply slipping on a fine quality three-piece won’t guarantee that you’ll look as sharp and sleek as you aimed for. There are many unspoken rules that every guy should know when it comes to donning a suit.

Shoulder alignment

More often than not, incorrect shoulder alignment is the key reason why a suit can look ill-fitted on a man. Your suit jacket’s shoulder should end before the end of your actual shoulder – many men make the mistake of purchasing a jacket where the shoulder extends beyond their shoulder, and unfortunately, this isn’t something that can really be tailored.

Jacket length

A suit jacket should cover the entire front fly of the suit trousers and just as equally extend to cover a male’s entire ‘behind’. If you’re a little shorter in the torso, get a shorter sized jacket as it will actually make you look taller, whereas a regular sized suit jacket will look too big and make you seem smaller in height than you are.

Shirt cuff to sleeve length

Many would argue that there’s no “specific” rule about the ratio of shirt cuff to sleeve length. However, if you want to look your best in a suit, you should only have about half of your shirt cuff showing, with the shirt cuff sitting just before the wrist. Your shirt cuff should never come down over your hands. If you can fit your hand through the cuff while it’s fastened with cufflinks, it’s too wide for you.

Button up your shirt

There are plenty of men out there who really just do not like to button shirts the whole way up to the top, with many holding a particular hatred for that tight top button. However, if you’re donning a tie or bow tie with your suit, buttoning up your shirt the whole way is just a necessity. The lines of your shirt collar won’t match up and your tie will be on show. If the reason you won’t close the top button on your shirt is that you can’t do so without choking yourself, you just need to get a new shirt.

Pant breaks

Your suit trousers should sit just on the tops of your shoes. If they’re too long they will just bunch up and look baggy. If they’re too short, your socks will be on show. Neither of these are a strong look – the suit will look really ill-fitted. At the very least ensure to wear dress or trouser socks which match the colour of your suit, completely cover your legs and ensure that they are never on show.

Ties are not always a necessity

A tie isn’t always an absolute necessity – it’s better to wear a dickie bow, ascot, continental tie, go open collar or button up with braces than pair your sleek suit with a regular tie that just doesn’t complement the colour or style of the suit.

Tie your tie correctly

If you are wearing a tie, tie it using a Windsor or Pratt knot – huge tie knots just tend to look ridiculous, especially with skinnier ties. It can be difficult to judge where to most easily tie the knot, but the easiest way to judge is to ensure that the tie will cover all of your shirt buttons on show, and yet not go beyond your belt.

Leave the bottom button of your suit jacket alone

This is possibly the worst mistake that guys make when wearing a suit. Buttoning the bottom button of a suit jacket is just completely forbidden. Whether you are wearing a single or double-breasted suit jacket and whether it’s got 2 or 3 buttons, just don’t even think about buttoning up that bottom button! It’s there for decorative purposes only and your suit jacket is tailored to only have the middle button closed.

Cut the threads

Save yourself a cringe-worthy moment and ensure to cut the threads off the vents and pockets off your suit before wearing it. They’re not meant to be left intact and will impact how the suit hangs on you.

The sacred rules of suiting-up

Breaking any of these rules is simply not okay, so bookmark this page and whenever the next occasion arises where you need to look sharp, refer back to this guide and follow the rules to ensure you’re one of the slickest guys in the room.