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

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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.

Differences Between “Off-the-Rack” Suits and Bespoke Suits

Differences Between “Off-the-Rack” Suits and Bespoke Suits

It takes less of a trained eye than you would think to tell if a suit is well-fitted or not. There are many things that set our bespoke suits aside from suits bought off of racks at department stores.

This should come as no surprise, either. Our highest-end of suits—our signature Purple Label, take in excess of 50 hours of hands-on work from a master tailor. There are a lot of things to consider when constructing a suit of this level.

–    Careful attention is paid to the detail of the entire canvas of the suit.

–    The lapels and collars are carefully shaped, crafted and contoured to the size and preferred style of the wearer.

–    Sleeves and buttonholes are constructed and hung by hand and made the appropriate size for the person that will be donning the attire.


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With this careful attention to detail in mind, there are many little features that a master tailor will fine-tune for someone purchasing a bespoke suit. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not you want a truly custom tailored suit:

When someone purchases a suit from a standard designer or a rack in a department store, these cheaper versions of suits typically incorporate blends with synthetic fibers. Synthetic fibers are made with a cost efficiency in mind, and are not as strong and do not breathe as well as natural fibers. Many of these suits are being made by the hundreds in a period of a few hours. These fabrics are purchased at low prices, in bulk.

High-end suits will be made of quality natural fibers with intricate weaving processes. They typically feature fabrics like merino wool, cashmere, mohair, silks and high-quality cottons. You will never you see cheaper synthetic materials like polyester or viscose in a quality bespoke suit.

Custom Fitting and Tailoring


When a Master Tailor is custom-designing a suit for their client, they will note small details that work together to create a great garment.

Custom Tailors will give special attention to a suit’s shoulders, ensuring the fabric is cut for that person’s body type, carefully designing the shoulder slopes and posture and discerning the dimensions of the shoulder-pads.

Tailors will also carefully design the sleeves of a suit or customized shirt. Everything down to the button style is considered, not to mention the sleeves being custom-measured to the wearer’s arm lengths and hung perfectly to the pitch of their arms.

Another thing that bespoke suits are known for is the carefully constructed front-plate and midsection areas. The front chest area will be carefully sized to contour to the wearer’s body type. Additionally, the armholes, collar rolls and upper body/neck areas will be shaped to the wearer’s body type to avoid rolling, wrinkling and other fit problems. The hand-work in these areas causes the canvas pieces to mold to the wearer, making the suit fit perfectly and adding comfort for the wearer the more he wears it.

Quality bespoke suits are also tailored to the wearer, which means that each piece of fabric is carefully cut and stitched together. Preferences regarding lapels, pockets and vents are all carefully determined before the suit is constructed. These suits are durable and have a drastically longer lifespan than mass-produced or cheaply crafted garments. As mentioned, bespoke suits can be broken in like a good pair of shoes and will fit the wearer better over time.


bespoke suits in D.C. by mario rojas

The trims are some of the best benefits to wearing bespoke suits. Cheaper suits can have tell-tale shortcomings, including fake pockets, unnecessary or unusable button-holes, buttons made from plastic or other cheap materials, linings made from acetate or other cheap threads, and cheap zippers.

Good, responsible tailors know the importance of quality trim – zippers and buttons that accommodate the style and color of the suit and incorporate high-quality materials like semi-precious gems, horn or mother of pearl.   The linings and threading will be tight and from high-quality fabric that matches the rest of the garment. Finally, the pockets will never be fake, and can often be specially designed for accessories and other specific needs.


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When you purchase a suit off of a rack at a store, without consulting an image consulting firm or a master tailor like ours, you are buying a suit that has probably been made multiple times for multiple different stores – in other words, you are getting a suit that is unoriginal, for lack of a better word. These suits have no style that sets them aside from other suits in that market.

When you get a bespoke suit or other custom garments from places like ours, you are getting a piece of attire that will make you stand out in a crowd or during job interviews.   The trims, style and cuts will be unique and the fabrics will have people asking questions about your garments.

For a suit that truly stands out in a crowd and hasn’t been done before, bespoke suits are the way to go.