SUIT Etiquette - unspoken rules for wearing your suit

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“First advice for anyone who wants to feel fantastic in a suit, is to make sure it fits well and that it is styled properly”

It is very unlikely that most young men in Nigeria can avoid wearing a suit. It is the official dress code to formal and even informal events, interviews, dinners, cocktail parties and a host of other glamorous events.

Suits come in different styles, patterns, colors and even fit, but they give a gentleman a distinguished look only if he wears it correctly.

A great suit therefore is an essential part of any man’s wardrobe. Suit etiquette is then just as important so that every man in suit can feel good and more confident about themselves.

First advice for anyone who wants to feel fantastic in a suit, is to make sure it fits well and that it is styled properly. Although sometimes this is not always easy to do especially considering the number of poor imitations of popular brands and shambolic local clothiers available in the market.

If you must wear a suit, it should be the right fit. Do not wear what I would derisively call a “coat” as this would be a sorry excuse for an oversized suit.

Wearing a well styled and good fitting suit is just one part of the things to pay attention to. Here is a brief summary of great suit etiquettes;

Always unbutton the suit jacket whenever you sit down

Sitting down with the jacket buttoned can ruin the shape of your suit. Be sure to unbutton the suit jacket to feel more comfortable and prevent a button popping during a dinner or business lunch. It’s a big part of suit etiquette and will also help you feel more relaxed and at ease – rather than buttoned in!

Always wear a jacket that fits

The jacket should be tailored and fit in a way that isn’t too loose or too tight at the chest. A little tip we follow is to place three fingers perpendicularly between your jacket and stomach. You should be able to slip your hand between your chest and your buttoned jacket, so that it feels snug, but with room to move.

In addition, always remove the stitching on the vents and the label on the left sleeve before wearing a new suit, but never remove the stitching of the jacket pockets and never use your pockets, they can easily be stretched out, warping the entire suit.

Your suit jacket should be just long enough to cover your pants’ zipper and butt. The top button of a two-button (or the middle button of a three-button) jacket should fall at or above your navel.

For a more fashion-forward look, the pant hem should hit right at the top of your shoe.

For the fashion buffs, please note that in general, thin lapels are more modern, whereas wide lapels are more old-school. Double vents in the back of the suit jackets are also more modern and fashionable.

Show off some cuff

Showing off your cuffs will help you determine the proper length of a suit sleeve. About half an inch of the shirt should show below your jacket cuff. If it does not, either your jacket is too big, or your shirt is too small.

You should be able to show you off your cufflinks when wearing men’s suits.

Please keep the top button of your shirt buttoned

Shirt buttons are made to be closed. Yes, all of them! If you cannot close the top button, you need to get a new men’s shirt. Keep the lines of the shirt collar matching and make sure that you have the right length of shirt cuffs. Also, if you find it uncomfortable having the top button of your shirt fastened, then you may need to look at getting a shirt with a bigger collar.

Matching your pocket square and tie is a no-no

Although it may seem like an easy way to coordinate your outfit, matching your pocket square and tie is a no-no. Instead, consider the rest of your outfit first and then choose a pocket square that echoes a color in your tie, shirt, or jacket. It should never match the fabric or the pattern of your tie.

Never wear a black suit with brown shoes. Never!

You may see the odd person wearing a black suit with brown shoes, but it is still a fashion no go. Black and brown should not be worn together, nor paired other way around. Never wear a brown suit with black shoes. It is a clash of colors that might seem like a good idea, but it isn’t.

Don’t button the bottom button

When wearing a suit or blazer, you should never button the bottom button. We always remember one simple suit etiquette rule when wearing a blazer: “sometimes, always, never”.

If you have a three-buttoned jacket, ‘sometimes’ button the top one, ‘always’ button the middle, and ‘never’ button the bottom. With a two-buttoned suit, ‘always’ button the top button and ‘never’ the second.

Fastening the bottom button can make the suit look stuffy and it won’t fit as well on your body.

Your belt?

Your belt should be relatively thin and also the same color as your shoes.

Your tie?

Your tie should always be darker than your dress shirt and your tie bar should never be wider than your tie. The width of your tie should match the width of your lapel.

Still on the tie, please note that your tie should just reach the waistband of your trousers or the top of your belt buckle.

But when you go without a tie, it’s best to keep your shirt collar on the smaller side.

Your socks?

Make sure that your socks are long enough that there’s no exposed leg when sitting down. Do not wear a “hose” for a socks!

I trust that you have re-learned some of the things you already know. See you next post!

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5 thoughts on “SUIT Etiquette – unspoken rules for wearing your suit”

  1. It’s indeed amazing lesson for those planing to wear suit or admiring executive position in the nearest feature,

    This will be keep in memory for occasional purposes.

    The young dude is back again

    we are ever so ready to grabs such a post

  2. Adedamola Ilori

    Thanks Akin,definitely been able to re-learn some things and learnt new stuffs too. Now I know not to take out the jacket pocket stitches and many more about pocket squares,sizes,color combinations etc.
    Well done brother

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