The 5 types of Suits every Stylish Gentleman should own

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The Dinner Suit

Rent if you must, but in terms of making a decent show of yourself, there’s little that beats wearing your own dinner suit (and, please, it is a dinner suit, not a tuxedo). That’s a hard idea to grasp when most of us are given opportunities to wear black tie sparingly, but – as countless James Bonds have demonstrated – nothing trumps it for sheer class. Opt for a single-breasted, one- or two-button jacket with satin-faced peak lapels and slit (not flapped) pockets.

The trousers should have pleats, a straight or very gently tapering leg, a narrow satin stripe down their outer seam and suspender buttons or side fasteners. You don’t wear a belt with black tie.

Aim for a medium-weight wool cloth – which will crease more easily but should see you survive a warm evening – in midnight blue, rather than black, where possible. In indoor light (you’ll likely be indoors if you’re at a function requiring dinner dress) midnight blue looks blacker than black.

The Party Suit

Given that the call to wear a suit for office work is in decline, thanks to rise of “business casual”, men are increasingly left with the option of dressing up for the pleasure of dressing up. Now, rather than dispense with the suit to go out, we’re often wearing one to go out. But, of course, such a suit need not be conservatively restrained to corporate demands: colour, fit, proportion and detailing are all there to play with, as in any other garment.

More likely to follow current trends than any other suit you own, right now you might go for a loose, double-breasted, low-breaking jacket, with similarly outsized tapering trousers, in a pastel shade of blue, pink or plum. Look for suits in sporty, technical cloths too (perhaps with some stretch for comfort).

Worn with a T-shirt and sneakers, this is clearly not the kind of suit envisaged by your bank manager – it’s not even one envisaged by most tailors. But it does embody ideas of where the suit is going.

The Casual Suit

Suiting is not all about the stiff, military bearing of our forebears. Opt instead for a looser-fitting, workwear-inspired suit, with an unlined two- or three-button, single-breasted jacket – which can be worn shorter than normal – and matching flat-fronted trousers in a stout cotton twill.

A darker colour such as navy or mid grey will be most useful all year round: the suit can be worn over a merino wool polo shirt or cardigan in the winter. Both parts of the suit can, of course, be worn separately. Both parts also benefit from being machine washable and worn straight from the line – this isn’t the kind of garment to press.

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