How to look good when suiting up

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Nothing quite gives a man the confidence and charisma like looking good when suiting up. But the world of menswear can be a treacherous place, with many subtle rules and nuances at play whenever you take a suit out of the wardrobe. Here are The Photo Studio’s tips and tricks to take you from dumbfounded to Don Draper.

By Keir Hale

1. The Button Rule

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Easy to follow but often overlooked, the button suiting rule is crucial in showing you know how to suit up properly. When wearing a one-button jacket, keep the button fastened. If you are sporting a two-button jacket, keep the top done up and never do up the bottom. If it is a three-button jacket that takes your fancy, keep the middle fastened with the bottom undone, and the top optional. For each style make sure you undo the jacket when sitting. Not only will this make you look like you are on the cover of GQ, but will allow the jacket to shape your torso better.

2. Matching your leathers

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This rule is applicable outside of how to look good when suiting up, but never as fundamental as when you put on that jacket and tie. Make sure to keep you leathers consistent throughout your outfit. If your shoes are a rich chocolate brown, make sure your belt matches it perfectly. If you are donning a leather strap watch with your outfit too, be sure it falls in line with the rest. This rule goes beyond leathers and extents to metals too, keeping those silvers and golds with each other.

3. Belt vs Suspenders

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The last decade has seen suspenders rise up from the dead and come back to the land of the fashionable. The more you look, the more you see young guys opting for a pair of stylish navy straps over the top of their white poplin shirt. But with both suspenders and belts designed to keep pants up, only wearing one at a time is the way to go. To wear both is to effectively look like you are wearing a beanie over the top of a cap, and no one needs that.

4. Pant Length

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Nothing says ‘off the rack’ like a pair of trousers that are too wide and too long, and will end up making you look out of shape and out of touch. While there are many different trouser cuts (skinny, slim, straight or tapered) and different hem lengths (full break, half break or no break) the best thing you can do is get yourself a trusted tailor. It wont cost anywhere near as much as you think, but will have you looking a million dollars.

5. Sleeve Length

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Even the more nuanced rules on how to look good when suiting up become important when the whole outfit is put together, and your shirtsleeve to jacket sleeve ratio is no different. Make sure your shirt cuffs do not fall over the top of your hand, but do make sure they are not too short either, with the perfect length should land just around end of the wrist. Your jacket sleeve should be a tad shorter than that, with half an inch of shirt showing as a good rule of thumb.

6. Tie Length

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Contrary to looks sported by President Trump, a longer tie is not the way to go. While there is often debate over how long or short your tie should be when wearing a suit, the appropriate length should hit just the tip or slightly below the tip of the belt. It is also important to keep in mind the width of your tie, and try to keep it similar to width of the lapels on your shirt.

7. Tie Clip

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As long as we are talking ties, the humble tie clip is an accessory many men choose when deciding how to look good when suiting up. One of the finishing touches to a suit along with pockets squares and lapel pins (more on that below), the tie clip will keep your tie in place while showing off that you care enough about how you look to make sure it does not move. Slide it in between the third and forth button on your shirt, making sure it is closer to the third. It is also important to keep your tie clip narrower than your tie for added style.

8. Pocket Square

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Once a standard in the pocket of every suit jacket worn, the pocket square has fallen out of favor over the decades and now become an optional suiting accessory. However, that does not mean you should skimp on sprucing up your pocket. With so many different folds, colours and patterns, it is important to keep it in context with your suit. If you are wearing a dark suit, use a light pocket square – and the other way around applies.

9. Lapel Pin

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Both modest and inexpensive, the lapel pin is a minimal alternative to the tie clip or pocket square for when you would rather let the suit do the talking. Placed on your left jacket lapel, a lapel pin acts as a decorative frill to add a bit of personality and class to your suit. From flowers, to foxes, and even the fingers crossed emoji, lapel pins come in all shapes and sizes. Just be sure to keep it quirky but tasteful.

10. Socks

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If you are electing to wear socks when deciding on how to look good when suiting up – not going the sockless loafer route – then there are a few but important rules to keep in mind. Always choose dress socks to ensure you have no sneaky skin showing. It should also go without saying to avoid the explorer and old white socks, instead choosing something with a bit more personality to contrast with the rest of the suit, without taking attention away from it. Think a soft navy and maroon polka-dot or solid olive green.

Want more menswear styling tips for your upcoming shoot? Be sure to check out The Photo Studio’s 21 photo shoot styling tips for men.

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