Who Would've Thought It: Sense & Suitability

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We’ve already discussed how to deal with your pant breaks, but there’s so much more to suiting up than the hem of your pants. If you don’t check each of these off of the list, you’ll risk looking foolish. In terms of your suit jacket, there are four key fashion faux pas to avoid in order to be suitable.

1.    Make sure the suit jacket isn’t too big or too small. Whether you love a skinny fit or more traditional (or anything in between), the key to a proper fit is in the shoulders. The seam of the jacket should line up to about where your arm and shoulder connect. There’s very little room for error here and getting shoulders tailored is almost always more expensive than its worth. If the seam is over the arm, then your suit is going to look robotic especially if it has shoulder pads. If the seam is too far into your shoulder, then it’ll look like you stole a kid’s suit.

2.    Your sleeves shouldn't be overlapping your hands. Like your pants, sleeves should also be tailored well. This means they should stop at your wrist bone area. When applicable, your dress shirts should also be tailored as well. Having both tailored is necessary.

3.    Don’t button the bottom button of your suit (unless you have a single-button jacket obviously). This is a fashion faux pas that even some of the greats make, but now you have the knowledge to overcome it. The bottom button can make your suit look too tight and it can restrict your mobility or flexibility. The guideline is to button up your top button only (when standing; unbutton while sitting). This implies you should usually opt for a two-button suit, but if for some reason you are wearing a three-button suit then just button up the middle button. Don’t button up just the top button of a 3-button suit unless you actually want to look like you’re wearing a cape. And whatever you do, please don’t button up all three buttons in a suit you shouldn’t be wearing in the first place.

4.    Don’t forget to remove any visible stitching on your suit jacket. These are meant to be removed. You may think they’re part of the look or you may not even realize they are there, but they are, so you need to address them. Usually, if you take your suit to the tailor, they can take care of this for you. But if you are wearing it off of the rack, remember to check any stitching on the back sides holding the vent(s) together. Also, ensure the sleeves do not have the brand label on the suit still showing. Some jackets also have shoulder seams with threading on them, but they are white and easy to identify and remove. And one last tip is to have the chest pocket of the jacket unthreaded (because it usually comes threaded closed). This is the only way you can wear a pocket square, which is something you should always do.

Avoiding these pitfalls will go a very long way to looking (and feeling) great. There are, of course, other nuances you’ll learn along the way, but this lays the foundation for you to suit up in style.