The default uniform of the office environment has barely changed since time immemorial and suits can understandably feel like a straitjacket to your self-expression but it doesn’t have to be that way. While what is obtainable most of the time on the commute might seem stale, designers are relentlessly tinkering with the suit silhouette and styling to keep it fresh. Wearing a suit has many advantages and not only is it comfortable, practical and extremely elegant, it is also very versatile. The timeless piece of clothing is a safe bet if you want a go-to outfit that you can wear to work or to special events without thinking about current clothing choices or trends. However, having a suit but not knowing how to modernly style it properly is just as bad as having no suit at all. If you are looking to look the part and achieve a clean-cut appearance then, let’s together explore modern and contemporary moves and ways to bring your suit styling from the 18th century into the 21st century.
Divide and conquer
Suit separates provide more interesting options however; they also provide more opportunity for inadvertently killing your vibe. The key to separates is mixing up both the texture and color so for instance, a blue blazer with a chambray shirt and white denim jeans offers a great mix. Also, the fabric texture is a major determinant and for instance, flannel and tweed works well with jeans. Suit jackets with more texture are easier to wear casually so they are better choices to use as separate blazers. As a general rule, those with very fine fabrics like wool should always be worn with their matching trousers. Patterns will raise your interest level and game from the block-color basic but if you squeeze in too many patterns into your outfit, you will only cramp your style. If you are mixing patterns then, leave it to one item except you know what you’re doing, then you can mix multiple patterns. If you have a check jacket in grey, stick to a solid burgundy roll neck and navy chinos rather than attempting a second pattern.
Put a Tee on it
A simple t-shirt in combination with a suit is an underrated outfit and a flexible way to dress up your suit in a modern way. The tees makes the whole look more relaxed and charming even though it can never replace the place of a shirt in a serious and proper context but, wearing a tee with a suit has its uses and one of them being giving a combination that is easy to match with accessories like bracelets or a scarf to create a variety of stylish outfits with a fairly simple base. The most important thing is to color match the right way. A black tee fits perfectly with a beige suit, a white tee becomes super stylish with a black or navy blue suit and a gray mixed tee is unbeatably fashion forward with a navy blue suit. You should have a reliable selection of basic tees in your arsenal. Solid neutral colors are a go-to option but don’t ignore more unexpected contrasting color combinations and upscale graphic t-shirts and if you are going the t-shirt level of casual, you can add edge with well-chosen accessories to have yourself a dressy and sober look that works just as well for work, parties and dinners. Polos, Henley or turtle necks are great options as well.
Since a t-shirt and a suit look can be a bit tricky to pull off, here are some Dos and Don’ts to consider:
- Tuck in your tee for a cleaner look
- Wear dressy sneakers
- Wear a crew neck tee
- Wear a fitted suit
- Wear V neck tees with caution
- Wear old ratty tees
- Wear a too loose tee
- Wear an overly fancy suit with a tee
- If you must un-tuck your tee, don’t go too long with the length
- Go too dressy with the shoes
Toss out your Jacket or layer it on
To dramatically switch up your suits, shove aside your jacket altogether. Try swapping your jacket for a fine knit cardigan to give you some of the structure while at the same time being less overly formal or you can layer a jacket over the top if you want to maintain formality. This is a great opportunity to create interesting texture and color combinations. Just be sure to opt for lightweight knitwear if you don’t want to ruin the slim silhouette of your jacket. Keep the color scheme neutral if you want to maintain some degree of dressiness and introduce bolder colors or patterns if you want to show off more personality. For something more contemporary, exchange your standard jacket for something uniform in a different sense like the bomber jacket which is the perfect alternative to a tailored jacket.
Foot wears can make or break an outfit, so choosing the right shoes is key. These are the finishing touches you need to modernize your suit game. The fashion world has loosened up about what constitutes acceptable footwear with a suit and boots are now in. It goes without saying that adding sneakers to a suit gives you a modernized look and because the sneaker world is vast, you could go for something slim like a classic converse or something flashy. Replacing the finer leather shoes with a pair of sneakers is an easy way to get a slightly more casual but still very elegant look with a relaxed and striking finish. If you choose a stylish, neutral and dressier pair of sneakers it could become a hard-to-beat summer combo that works on most occasions. Importantly, you should remember to keep the sneakers spotless, clean and tidy.
Throw in shades
Recent seasons have expanded the suit palette with primary and even pastel tailoring but there is a reason why most tailoring is conservative: the more it deviates from the navy, grey and black norm, the less versatile and appropriate it becomes, and the greater its potential to be a wardrobe object of value. If you’re branching out to throw in some shades, start with dark shades of forest or olive green or burgundy. Brown is also relatively low-key but still swervy, while camel is impactful without being too tricky. So, go for color! You don’t need to wear a solid black or blue suit try out other colors as it is your opportunity to stand out in the sea of black suits.
I trust this will guide you in your journey of transitioning your suit the modern way. My biggest tip will be to have fun and try new things. The world of suit has taken a modern turn and has become more comfortable without sacrificing style. The smallest step you can take is see what pictures resonate with you to help you narrow down which look you want to go for and the step after that would be to try things on. Tune on your stylish self and turn up your fashion style.