How to look sharp in a suit

Even if you don’t usually pay that much attention to your clothes, you still want to look good at a wedding.

After all, it’s a special occasion and you don’t want to be left behind – especially since it’s all captured on camera.

Most men want a suit that looks stylish, modern and feels comfortable – but how do you find one?

“Get the fit right,” is the number one piece of advice from style consultant Daniel Johnson (daniel-johnson.com).

“Visually, a suit should do three things: make your shoulders and chest look as broad as possible, make your waist look as narrow as possible, and make your legs look as long as possible.”

Here’s everything you need to know to find the perfect suit…

The fit

“Locate the bone at the widest part of your shoulder — it’s called the humeral head — that’s where your suit’s shoulder seam should sit,” says Johnson. “If your shoulders are too narrow, your chest will look smaller – too broad and you’ll look like an American football player.”

He says to look for “daylight” between the suit sleeve and the waist. If there is no gap between your torso and the sleeves of your suit, you risk looking like a large mass of fabric. When daylight can penetrate between the torso and the sleeves, Johnson says, “You’re a whole lot closer to making your waist look taut.”

Oliver Spencer, founder of Favourbrook (favourbrook.com), recommends finding your nearest tailor. “The cut and the fit [of a suit] is absolutely crucial,” he says. “If you’re not the perfect size, make the appropriate changes.”

The fabric

The right fabric is crucial, especially if you wear the suit all day. “You need something that can move and breathe,” advises Johnson. “My personal favorite is a linen, wool and silk mix.” If you can’t find that, he recommends cotton and linen.

Spencer also suggests going for linen or linen blends “because it’s lightweight, breathable, and has a nice natural drape that improves the more you wear it.”

Whether you go for a single-breasted or double-breasted jacket comes down to personal preference, but Spencer says “the latter is a touch more formal.”

“A lot of men get stuck here when it comes to color,” he adds. “Don’t be afraid of pastels – sky blue, tobacco, pink, ivory, olive green, light gray… All of these work really well on linen.”

When shopping for linen, Spencer says the best fabrics come from Ireland and Belgium. “If you’re going for a wool suit, look for extra fine merino fabrics that are lightweight and good for summer.”

The shirt

Johnson prefers a white shirt because it’s “the most versatile color — a blank canvas.”

For a wedding shirt, he advises going up a size. “You’re going to be eating a lot, drinking a lot, and hopefully dancing a lot — so you need space to move,” he says. “I made the mistake of wearing a very tight fitting shirt to a wedding once – never again.”

Spencer is a fan of pastels. “Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a crisp white shirt, but a pale pink or sky blue gives you that distinction,” he says. “A contrasting white collar is a nice touch if you want to add formality.”

Some weddings can be pretty relaxed and don’t require a tie—in this case, Spencer suggests a linen shirt with a soft fold-over collar.

The vest

If you want to wear a vest, Spencer says silk and linen are excellent breathable fabrics for summer.

“Here, too, it is important that it fits. The basic rule is that you should never see your shirt sticking out of the waistcoat hem,” he says. “Be especially wary of double-breasted styles as they’re square in the waist – so they often require a bit more length.”

tie and handkerchief

“Give up pink,” says Johnson. “It seems like the number one choice for a wedding is a pink tie — avoid it.”

Instead, Johnson prefers a plain tie and pocket square, white or one with a subtle pattern.

“A good tip here is the scale. If the pattern on a pocket square is very large, it will draw attention – so keep it small,” he advises.

“If you want to wear a patterned tie, make sure the scale of the pattern on the pocket square is smaller.”

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