The Complete Guide to Men’s Suits: 21 Rules of Style

custom suits in Virginia, Maryland, Washington d.c.

Everything you need to know about suits, including what to look for when buying them, how to get them tailored, and the coats, shirts, ties, shoes, and watches to wear with them.


Rule #1
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Fit is everything. Even the world’s most expensive suit will look bad if it isn’t tailored to the contours of your body.

Rule #2
Some think button-down collars are for casual wear only, but they can work great with dressier looks as well.

Rule #3
Polka dots are a great way to bring energy to a suit. Make sure they’re big enough to be recognizable, but not so large that they’re goofy.

Rule #4
A tried-and-true pattern like herringbone or glen plaid in a muted shade makes an impression without crossing into the realm of garishness.

Rule #5
Visible stitches around the edges of your lapels (called pick-stitching) aren’t necessarily a sign of a well-made garment anymore. However, they can be an attractive decorative flourish—as long as they’re subtle. No contrast stitching!

Rule #6
Some say you shouldn’t cut the stitching in your jacket pockets, because putting objects in them will cause your jacket to lose its shape. Don’t listen. It’s pointless to have nonfunctional pockets, and a concert ticket or a business-card holder certainly won’t do any damage.

Rule #7
Some think three-pieces are stodgy, but when the waistcoat is cut close to the body and hemmed to the belt line, you’ll look slim and modern.

Rule #8
Your tie bar should never be wider than your tie.

Rule #9
The difference between classic and cliché is often in the material. The timeless appeal of this gray suit begins with its super-luxe cashmere wool.

Rule #10
Always unfasten your jacket buttons when you sit. No exceptions.

Rule #11
Never fasten the bottom button of a double-breasted jacket (unless it has only a single row of buttons).

Rule #12
Avoid over-accessorizing. If you’re already wearing a pocket square and a tie bar, you’ll want to reconsider that clever lapel pin.

Rule #13
When wearing corduroy, steer clear of fusty wide wales, but don’t go so narrow that the material starts to look like velvet.

Rule #14
A dark, patterned pocket square provides a welcome visual anchor to a light-colored suit.

Rule #15
When it comes in a sandy tan rather than the usual rust or chocolate brown, this cold-weather suit gets a dose of sunny energy.

Rule #16
Save the bulky shock-resistant sports watch for the gym or your outdoor-adventure excursions. It has no place with a suit.

Rule #17
Save yourself some embarrassment: Always remove the stitching on the vents and the label on the left sleeve before wearing a new suit.

Rule #18
It’s fine to flip up the collar of a casual cotton jacket, but when you’re dressed more formally (say, in a black suit), you should always leave the collar down.

Rule #19
When you go without a tie, it’s best to keep your shirt collar on the smaller side.

Rule #20
Call attention to special suit material—like this marled wool—by keeping your accessories to a minimum.

Rule #21
Tailoring your pants a little bit short will add distinctiveness to your simple look.

We look forward to meeting you.

22 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to Men’s Suits: 21 Rules of Style

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