The key with menswear is subtlety. There are rules to adhere to when dressing for business which you are probably best not to deviate from too much (depending on which business you're in) but it's the subtle nuances that mark you out from the crowd. People won't necessarily know why you look like the best dressed man in the room when you're wearing a navy suit and pale blue shirt which is not dissimilar to the others in the boardroom, but they'll notice that you are.
Here we explore what can set you apart from the crowd and help you to look your best in business attire:
Have your suit altered to fit you properly
This is crucial whatever the price and brand of your suit, if it doesn't fit it won't look good. Have alterations done in store when you buy or find a tailor who can readjust your off the peg suit to fit you perfectly. See here for my guide as to how a suit should fit.
Illustration Alen Clo
Subtlety is key
As mentioned, it’s the tiny details that count – a great haircut, a perfect fit, a sleek belt, understated cufflinks, toning socks, a smart pen, a good quality briefcase or bag. Carefully chosen accessories finish off and enhance your appearance no end.
Oxford shoes - Church's at Mr Porter
Steel cufflinks - Alice Made This
Reversible leather belt - Dunhill at Mr Porter
Pay attention to your tie knot
A very fat knot or a poorly executed knot won't do you justice. Ensure the size of the knot works with the shirt collar (a slightly wider Half Windsor knot for a cutaway collar, and thinner Four in Hand knot for a slimmer style collar) and your face shape and neck size. (A wider spread collar or smaller for a thin neck and a regular or point collar that sits lower for a wide neck). And if you don't already know then learn how to master the tie dimple.
Get the shapes & detailing right
Sometimes you know that a certain jacket, shirt or trousers you've had in the past has worked well for you and been a flattering shape but you haven't been able to pinpoint why. And the way you wear things can also have an impact. For example: if you have a bit of a tummy, wear trousers with side adjusters instead of a belt, so as not to draw a horizontal line across your widest point with a belt (especially if it has a shiny buckle). Or if you have short legs then avoid wearing turn ups on your trousers. A Personal Styling session helps to identify the best shapes and detailing for you so you can make future choices successfully.
Combine your patterns carefully
It can be tricky to combine patterns but if done well can make for a more interesting outfit. Make sure if you are wearing two patterns together that there is some sort of link with the colours and you combine one larger print with one more subtle. For more detailed information on how to combine patterns, read the article I recently wrote for Niven & Joshua's blog. And have a look at my Pinterest board too for further examples and inspiration.
Jacket: Isaia at Mr Porter
Shirt: Charvet at Mr Porter
Pocket square: Drakes at Mr Porter
Learn to love Dress Down Friday
Dress down days and what to wear for a smart /casual look is the most common area I get asked to shop for. It's a wide field and easy to go wrong. A pair of slim cut cotton flat front trousers in a neutral colour like navy or beige is a good place to start. Shirts with a softer collar than usual or a chambray, Oxford or small print are good options, as are fine gauge crew or v-neck sweaters. A fitted single breasted blazer (that's a slightly shorter length than your suit jacket) in navy or grey is an invaluable item to have and you can go as structured or unlined and patch pocketed as you like. Choose a dark denim in a clean wash for jeans and wear with brown brogues or some soft soled Derbies. Add patterned pocket squares, knitted ties and woven belts to finish.
Blazer - Hardy Amies
Shirt - Joseph
Shoes - Paul Smith at Mr Porter
If you would like some help with dressing for business - whether it's finding some alternatives to blue shirts or experimenting with pattern mixing with formal suiting, or dressing for a smart/casual creative environment then I can help. Please contact me to discuss.
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