How to Wear Suits: A Guide for Men


For years, suits were worn only as formal wear. When a man wore a suit and tie, it’d be safe to assume that he was on his way to the office, a wedding, or on a more grim note, a funeral. Today, however, men’s suits have evolved versatile wear that can be dressed up or dressed down. The modern-day man can wear a suit to an “ordinary” day and he wouldn’t look weird – instated, he’d look refined. With a well-made suit, he can elevate his day-to-day style and be a cut above the rest. 

Why Wear a Suit?

Here are a few reasons why you should wear a suit more often: 

#1 They’re very versatile.

As an outfit that isn’t “pigeonholed” into formal wear, it gives the wearer more options in terms of where, when, and how to wear suits. Wear the suit with a tie for a formal flair, or pair it with a pair of chinos to create the perfect casual-yet-still-classy outfit. How to wear suits is ultimately up to you. 

#2 They’re timeless.

Suits will always be in style. You won’t have to worry about looking like you’ve time-traveled since your suit will always look a la mode. Unlike trends (remember the embarrassing uggs were all used to wear?), suits will look sleek in ten, twenty, or even thirty years. 

Whatever fabric it is made of, you’re free to transform it into an up-to-date outfit. Think corduroy suits are out-of-date? Wear a turtleneck under your suit, and keep the front wide open. That way, you won’t look like you raided your dad’s wardrobe for his 70s garbs. You can always alter how to wear suits to make them more in-trend.

#3 They can change your self-image.

Your confidence will soar when you wear a well-made suit. Studies on enclothed cognition have shown that what you wear can have a significant effect on your self-image. For instance, if you think that black-tie suits are worn by confident men, you will also feel more confident when you wear a suit. 

When to Wear a Suit

We all know that you should wear a suit to formal events, however, where else can you wear a suit without looking like the odd one out? More importantly, where should you show up in a tailor-made suit?

#1 White-Tie Events

White-tie events are the epitome of formal events. Unlike black-tie events where wearers can wear a “standard “ suit, it would be a fashion faux pas not to wear a tuxedo suit to a white-tie event. A white-tie suit meets the stiff formality that’s ideal for events such as state dinners, galas, and more. 

#2 Black-Tie Events

As we said, black-tie events aren’t as formal as white-tie events, however, that doesn’t mean you can simply show up in a suit. For black-tie events, your look needs to be a bit elevated. Wear your suit with a black bow tie and oxfords to look sleek, sharp, and ready for an award ceremony. 

#3 Interviews

Workplace wear isn’t as formal as it used to be. However, that doesn’t mean you should show up to your interview in a shirt, shorts, and a pair of flip-flops. Be well-dressed in a business suit to your interview to show your interviewer that you’re serious about the position. Not only will you be noticeable in a suit, but it will also show your interviewers that you value their time. 

#4 Networking Events

If you go to a networking event wearing a statement tee, you’ll likely stand out – but not in the best way. You’ll be a head-turner, but people won’t be drawn toward you. No one will want to do business with you because you don’t look like the kind of guy who takes things seriously. In the end, you won’t be able to connect with important people who could’ve helped you advance in your career.  

#5 Airplanes

Suits can be comfortable – even on long flights! If you’re in business class, it’s best to be in slightly semi-formal wear to blend in with the “crowd”. Remember, the rest of the passengers will be well-dressed, so you should be, too. Don’t know how to wear suits in the skies? The trick is to wear a wrinkle-resistant suit – you’ll be ready for your closeup the moment you step off of the plane! 

How to Choose a Suit

Fortunately, the rules on how to wear suits aren’t as strict as they were in the Downton Abbey times. However, there are a few things you need to get right to appear put together. 

  • Undershirt. You should always wear an undershirt, otherwise, you’ll have pit stains all over your shirt. As a rule of thumb, your undershirt should be the same color as your skin – that way, it won’t be so obvious that you’re wearing “undergarments” under the dress shirt.
  • Dress shirt. Your suit should stand out, so wear a dress shirt in a color that complements your suit. In general, your dress shirt should be thin enough to be worn comfortably underneath the suit, but not too thin that it reveals the undershirt. The sleeves should be shorter than the suit’s sleeves, and its fabric shouldn’t be too thick that it results in wrinkles. 
  • Pants. Wear pants that are in the same color as your suit to be as color-coordinated as possible. For the fit, go for flat-front pants that sit on the hipbone, and that do not need to be pulled up by a belt. The seat shouldn’t be too saggy but not too tight that the fabric feels like it’s about to split. 
  • Belt. The belt should be in the same color and material as the shoes. For instance, wear a black leather belt with black leather shoes. 
  • Shoes. For a formal look, you can’t go wrong with classic Oxfords that exude elegance. Wear loafers for a more casual flair. What’s important is that you do not wear a suit with open-toe shoes.
  • Tie. If you’re going to a black-tie or white-tie event, wear a bow tie. But for other events, you’re free to wear a tie that’s darker than your dress shirt. Remember that the end of your tie should stop at the waistband.
  • Jacket. The suit’s body should hug your torso comfortably. It shouldn’t feel too tight, but it shouldn’t be too baggy, either. If you’re buying a ready-made suit, it would be better to buy one that’s a bit bigger, than one that is too tight. 
  • Collar. The suit’s collar should sit on the dress shirt’s collar. If there’s a gap, that means you need a bigger suit. 
  • Socks. This is where you aren’t bound by the rules of fashion. If you’re wondering how to wear suits without looking too boring, you can add a bit of fun through your socks. What’s important is that the socks don’t peek when you sit down. 

How to Wear Suits

Finding the perfect suit is easy – you simply need to get it tailor-made to your figure. However, how to wear suits properly can be a challenge for men who aren’t used to wearing this two-piece ensemble. We’ve put together the following pointers so you can wear your suit the right way:

#1 Unbutton the Last Button

You don’t need to button all of the buttons. You shouldn’t wait until you feel full to unfasten it. If you’re wondering why you should always unbutton the bottom button, that’s because suits were designed that way. If you fasten it, your waist will feel uncomfortable. Besides, by leaving it unbuttoned, you don’t have to button and unbutton it every time you sit and stand. 

#2 Only Button One Button

There are multiple buttons on a suit, but you don’t need to button them all – only the middle one. This is because you should be able to “open” your suit the moment you sit down. If you don’t unbutton your shirt when you sit down, you will end up with wrinkles all over your suit, and you’ll look stuffed.

#3 Wear a Tie That Complements the Suit

Wear a light-colored tie with a dark-colored suit, and vice-versa. By wearing a tie that contrasts the color of the suit, you won’t look too one-dimensional. You’ll be able to add layers to your ensemble. It’s also one way to make your tie look more noticeable! 

#4 Your Shirt Shouldn’t Go Past the Cuffs

If you want to be as polished as possible, your shirt’s sleeves shouldn’t go past the suit’s sleeves. However, if you want to show off your shirt, you should only reveal ¼ or ½ inch of your shirt sleeves at most. 

#5 The Suit’s Shoulders Should Sit on Your Shoulder

You do not want to look like you were swallowed by your suit. Your suit’s shoulders should hug your shoulders snugly. They should lay flat and not create creases around the shoulder area. If you want your shoulders to look more structured, ask your tailor to add inserts. 

The Bottom Line

Wearing a suit is a great way to feel more confident, appear more put-together, and more. They aren’t reserved for formal events but can be worn as elevated everyday wear. Now that you know how to wear suits, what to look for in suits, and when to wear suits, you can start window-shopping for a dress suit today, or have it tailor-made for a perfect fit. 

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