If you wanted to buy into gender norms, you might start this article by saying there are certain things a man should be able to do. Like build a shelf, or eat a plate of meat from the bone, or fix a car. There is really only one thing all men should be able to do, and do well (because it’s really not hard), and that is wear a suit. Let’s start with the basics of shopping. The same rule applies to anything you buy, but doubly so for suits: make sure it fits.
A too-tight t-shirt or jumper can be excused with an ‘everything else was dirty’ or ‘it shrunk in the wash.’ A suit is an altogether different beast – you want to look like you’ve made the effort, not like you’ve borrowed your dad’s. Go for a slim or tailored fit – they’re simple and streamlined, cutting out any extra fabric which would add weight to you. The same for your trousers – slim, not skinny.
There are a lot of colours and patterns you could pick from too. Grey is hard to get right – too dark and you look miserable, too light and you look out of place. A mid-ground grey is less stuffy than black or navy, and with a solid black tie and black shoes is a wise choice. You’ll look like a 50s movie star, like Cary Grant. Navy is a good spin for a more formal occasion. If you’re feeling particularly daring, a pattern is good. You’ll stand out, for sure.
But if the pattern is overwhelming, it’ll be garish. It should be a suggestion of a pattern, nothing more. You’re trying to say you’re an elegant gentleman, not ‘omg look how random and kooky I am lol.’
Details are what makes a suit. If you’ve been wearing the same thing to all of your formal events, accessorise it so well its own mother won’t recognise it when you’re through. The right pocket square and a tie bar is enough. There’s no need for overkill as white pocket squares are a good way of adding a classy touch. A patterned one is much more playful, and if you’re in a black suit it can be a little way of adding some of your ‘oh so charming’ personality. Do remember that your tie and pocket square should compliment, not match. That’d be overkill. No one wants that.
Shoes are important on a daily basis, twice as important with a suit. The wrong shoe will make your whole outfit look messy. Unusual colours are modern and can bring out the best in your outfit. A mossy green and a navy suit will work well. A deep blue with a black suit too. Black shoes are always best though, they’re timeless for a reason. Also, here’s a tip for the rest of your life you can have for free: black monk strap shoes are the single best foot-based investment you can make. For the love of god, never wear brown shoes.
And one more thing. Don’t wear a black turtleneck or a t-shirt with a beautiful suit jacket and matching trousers. It’s not going to work unless you look like Tinie Tempah or Jim Chapman, and they’d look good even if they’d been rolling around in a sewer for hours.
After saying all that, there’s only really one thing that matters when you wear a suit. When it’s all on and you take that final look at yourself in the mirror before you head out, you should feel like you can take on the world.