Singaporebrides | Fashion

October 2014

How To Suit Up Like A Gentleman

Today, it’s all about the grooms. We’ve got plenty of guides on how to shop for the perfect wedding gown and what makes up a dream gown, but little is said about a groom’s suit. And let’s admit it, the wedding day is the groom’s big day as much as it is the bride’s, and you have every right to want to look good for your special day too. So, today, we share with you some tips on how to pick out a well-fitted suit so you’ll look dashing on your wedding day and our top 3 suit recommendations for that special day.

It’s all about the fitthe most important detail of a suit isn’t its price-tag or where it is bought from but how well the suit is cut. A well-fitted suit makes all the difference, instantly accentuating a man’s figure regardless of his body type and height. There are three components that make up a suit – the jacket, shirt and pants – and all three of these components must fit you properly for your suit to look good.

The Jacket

How to Suit Up Like a Gentleman - Jacket Image cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo by Ryan Polei

The perfect suit jacket fits your body at all the right places. It should hug your shoulders instead of slouching off them and there should be no gap between the collar of your jacket and that of your shirt. The sleeves of the jacket shouldn’t be too baggy on your arms and its length should be about a quarter to half and inch shorter than your shirt sleeve to show off a little of your shirt cuff. The jacket should also be slightly nipped in at the sides to create a V-shaped contour and to accentuate the width of your shoulders. The perfect suit jacket should also have just the right amount of room to fit your fist comfortably between your chest and the jacket, and long enough to cover your pants zipper and rear end. Any more or less than that, you might be facing the wrong fit.

Now that we’ve taken care of the front of your jacket, let’s pay the back some attention. Notice the slit at the back of the jacket? That’s called a back vent. Most suits come with the more universal single center vent as it is unobtrusive and keeps the lines of the suit clean and simple. The more modern and fashionable double side vents make a slightly more rakish statement and flatter men with larger figures better. Regardless which type of back vent you choose, remember to cut the thread that keeps it closed on the underside. Most suits will have threads keeping the vents closed to keep the shape of the jacket as people try it on. If you neglect to cut it, the back of your jacket will hang weirdly when you walk. Not cool at all.

The Shirt

How to Suit Up Like a Gentleman - Shirt Image cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo by Ryan Polei

Use the one-finger rule to determine if your shirt is too big for you. If you can fit more than one finger between your shirt’s collar and your neck, then it’s too big for you. Opt for a slim-cut shirt to slim down your silhouette. Ideally, your shirt sleeve should end just at your wrist. Any longer or shorter just signifies a poor-fitting shirt. Your shirt cuffs should be narrow enough to sit just above the start of your thumb. If you can fit your hand through the cuff when its fastened, then it’s too wide.

The Pants

Suit Up Like A Gentleman Image by Android in Boots

The sign of a well-fitting pants is one that rests comfortably on your waist with a finger’s space between the waistband and your waistline, and sits just above the top of your shoes with one fold in the fabric instead of bunching up. Slim-cut flat-front pants are perfect for a long and clean look, while pants which are tailored a little on the short side adds a sense of refinement and distinctiveness, great for grooms who are adventurous and wants to look taller and thinner.

It’s All in The Details

Even if you’ve gotten the three major components of a suit right, make a mistake with any of its accompanying details, such as buttons and collars, and all your previous effort would be for naught.

To Button or Not To Button

How to Suit Up Like a Gentleman - Button Imagecc licensed BY ( ND ) flickr photo by Ryan Polei

When it comes to a suit’s buttons, you should never fasten the bottom button. This applies to all two or three-button suits, single or double-breasted. Every suit is tailored to have only the top or middle button closed, while the bottom button is there just for design. If you have to sit down, do remember to unbutton your jacket, as you’ll look awkward buttoned up as your sit and you may risk ruining the shape of your jacket, shortening the lifespan of your suit. But, when it comes to your shirt, every button on it is meant to be fastened, even the highest one that rests just at the neck. If you don’t, the lines of the shirt collar wouldn’t match up, not even if you tried to fake it by covering it with a tie.

The Lapel

How to Suit Up Like a Gentleman - Notch Lapel Notch Lapel by Lightedpixels Pixies from My Garden Romance

When it comes to your jacket’s lapel, there are three areas you should take note of: the width, type and fold of a lapel. The width of your lapel determines your suit’s style. Slimmer lapels are more modern looking while wider lapels tend to be more old-school. Whether you should get a suit that sports a notch, peak or shawl lapel depends on the occasion, the type of you suit you’re wearing and your body type. The most common of the three, a notch lapel is defined by a “notch” – an opening – where the bottom of the collar meets the top of the lapel, usually at a 75-90 degree angle. It is extremely versatile, perfect for every-day business or for-interview suits, complements all body types and an ideal lapel for single-breasted suits.

Peak lapels are the most formal of the three and were originally found in formal wear garments such as tailcoats and morning coats. It is characterised by its upward pointing edges towards your shoulders. It is great for formal dinners such as weddings and black-tie events and often seen on double-breasted suits. The points of a peak lapel can create an elongating effect by drawing the eye upwards towards the shoulders, thereby great for men who are looking to lengthen their silhouette.

Shawl lapels are most common on dinner jackets or tuxedos. It is characterised by a rounded edge and a continuous curve without breaks or points like the other two types of lapels. This style of lapel is extremely formal meant for black-tie events and red carpet galas. It will suit most body types, but if you have an extremely round found or body, you should consider a suit with a peak or notch lapels as shawl lapels may accentuate those rounded features.

The Tie

How to Suit Up Like a Gentleman - Tie Image cc licensed BY ( ND ) flickr photo by Ryan Polei

Ideally, your tie should just reach your waistband or slightly shorter than that. While it would be difficult to estimate where exactly to tie the knot to achieve that length every morning, the time you spent will be worth it. Always opt for the classic Windsor Knot for your tie, but the size of the knot should complement the size of your head. Full knots are better for men with bigger heads while half knots complement men with smaller heads better. Alternatively, you can opt for Pratt knots if you find it difficult to master the Windsor knot. They end up in roughly the same shape but are much easier to tie!

The Vest

How to Suit Up Like a Gentleman - Vest Image cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Avangard Photography

Adding a vest to the usual suit is a great way to change up the look, add warmth during cold months and adds a formal touch to your suit, which is great news for those living in a warm climate country like Singapore. Make sure your vest is a slim-fit cut that’s slightly pinched in at your waist and ends just at or below your belt. Here’s an additional tip: leave the bottom button unfastened and if you’re wearing a tie, check to see if its sticking out from under it. If it is, tuck it under!

The Material

Suits come in a variety of material depending on your personal preference and in most parts of the world, depending on seasons. Corduroy,velvet, flannel and tweed suits tend to appear more modern and trendier, and are more suitable for winter time. On the other hand, lightweight materials such as cotton and linen are more commonly seen, and are more appropriate for hot Summer climates like the one we’re used to.

The Belt and Shoes

How to Suit Up Like a Gentleman - Shoes Image cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo by Ryan Polei

The colour of your belt and shoes should always be the same without any exceptions. So, if you’re feeling like switching up your usual black suit look with a brown belt, then slip on a similar coloured pair of shoes. And if you’re one of the rare ones to still wear a watch, then pick a matching one to complement the colour of your belt and shoes. I know this sounds like an OCD behaviour, but trust us when we say that your suit will look much smarter if you matched these items than if they don’t.

Not only does the colour of your shoes need to match your belt and watch, it also has to complement the colour of your suit. Black, navy, grey, brown and charcoal are five of the most common suit colours and these generally work well with a pair of black shoes with the exception of a brown suit. You should never pair a brown suit with black shoes, or a black suit with brown shoes. Brown suits are best matched with a pair of burgundy-brown or deep maple brown shoes, as do navy, grey and charcoal coloured suits. Of course, these shoe matching rules aren’t absolute, but if you are not very confident with your colour matching skills, then its safer to stick to this guide.

The Socks

How to Suit Up Like a Gentleman - Socks Image cc licensed flickr photo by Andres Rodriguez

Wearing socks long enough to cover up your ankles and the area above it when dressed in a suit is mandatory. Nothing could be more unsavory than to see a suavely-dressed man flash his hairy legs and ankles as he sits down. So, go ahead and pull on your favourite pair of multi-coloured or argyle-patterned socks to jazz up the usual black or navy suit.

Our Top 3 Suit Recommendations

#1: The Essential Two or Three Button Suit

How to Suit Up Like a Gentleman - The Essential suit Image cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo by Lianne Nichols

This is the male version of a woman’s little black dress. The two-button suit is the more classic and universal of the two because its frame-lengthening qualities complement men of any build. This timeless style stays current throughout the years and if you aim to buy only one suit for the rest of your life, then the two-button suit is the one for you. The three-button suit has a ’60s mod feel to it and is a perfect option for men taller than six feet because the buttons on the jacket reach higher on the chest, make it more visually appealing on taller men. While not as timeless as the two-button suit, three-button suits are still a classic option that all men should consider owning.

#2: The Double Breasted Suit

Suit Up Like A Gentleman Image by UKay Photography

The double breasted suit is the quintessential gentleman’s style. Although it looks best on a man of medium or tall build, any man can rock a double-breasted suit by making sure the jacket is tailored at the waist. This emphasises a man’s shoulders and can actually benefit smaller men. The overlapping lapels can also help hide the fact that your waistline is wider than your shoulder width. Timeless and classic, opt for the more elegant six-button option in favour of the low slung four-button model when buying a double-breasted suit.

#3: The Three Piece Suit

Suit Up Like A Gentleman Image by Alvelyn Alko

The three piece suit is my personal favourite style out of the three. Why? It’s classic, suave and dressy at the same time, even if you take the jacket off. And because the charming Simon Baker sports it all the time. So do Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Justin Timberlake and Usher. In a three piece suit, the vest is actually the star of the outfit. Don’t think for a second that just because your vest is worn on the inside, it doesn’t need to be properly tailored or have a correct fit. Too loose and you’ll feel like someone has draped a pillowcase around your chest. Too tight and it will ruin your day because you won’t be able to breathe. But if the vest contours your body without developing lumps or protrusions on the sides, is closely fitted but still gives you room to breathe, then you have the perfect fit. The vest look might not necessarily flatter men with a rounder mid-section, as it will draw attention to your midriff, but if you’re proud of it, then by all means wear one.

Now you know what kind of suits are out there, but what suits you best? Read up on getting it right for your body type.

Credits: Feature Image: Image cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Ryan G. Smith / cropped