What are you going to wear? Sometimes it’s good to look at a few suggestions then add your own tweaks and ideas. That’s what these are for. Suits. When done right, are undeniably great. But every so often an email, tweet, or FB message comes in saying along the lines of: “Okay, I’ve got the suit. I love it. Got it tailored. Fits great… but I just don’t have anywhere to wear it.” Totally understandable. We live in a casual culture. But with a few tweaks, you can loosen up the sometimes too stiff looking, interview/boardroom suit, for less formal occasions. Here’s how.
THE 3 KEYS TO DRESSING DOWN A SUIT: #1. Pass on traditional oxfords as footwear. Try boots, monk straps, or loafers. #2. Favor a lower contrast shirt instead of the usual bright white (yet white always looks good). #3. Wear a matte tie, or skip the tie altogether.
The Suit: Suitsupply Navy Wool Napoli – $399. Or, whatever your favorite navy blue suit happens to be. If you’re lucky enough to have a navy suit with a bit of pattern to it (like the one shown at the top of the post?) all the better. Something with a slight, but not hyper bold pattern will help dress down the look even more.
The Shirt: Nordstrom Trim Fit Light Blue Twill – $69.50. The color is key here. A white shirt would look great too, but the higher the contrast the more dressed up/formal the look. Think George Clooney with his black shirts and charcoal if not black suits on a red carpet. Looks much more dressed down, and less black-tie/startched dressed up. Blue on blue here really works.
The Watch: Orient Polaris GMT – $367.50 w/ DAPPERED30 ($575). Pricey, but worth it and then some. (And no, you don’t need to use the “dappered30” code. There are plenty of other 30% off codes floating around out there, and they will sometimes, rarely, run deeper discounts.) A sleek, slim dress watch looks great at a job interview, but something with a bit more weight to it, like the 42mm Polaris, helps balance the look here. Blue hands. Brown band.
The Wallet: FormFunctionForm Architect’s Wallet – $74.80 w/ SendHelpImFFFreezing ($88). A perfect wallet for the idea generating, note taking person you know (especially if it’s you.) You’ll never be without a pen and paper. Currently 15% off with the code through this week.
The Belt: Lauren by R.L. Leather Dress Belt – $45.00. Or, whatever brown leather dress belt you use. No, it doesn’t match the shoe leather precisely. And that’s okay. Don’t over think it.
The Scruf Maintainer: Panasonic ER-GB40-S Cordless Beard Trimmer – $40.99. Clean shaven works too, but a little bit of stubble or more will help dress down that suit.
The Collar Stays: Metal Collar Stays – $12.95. Unlike the crappy plastic stays that come with most dress shirts, an alloy collar stay like these have some decent weight to them, and you can put a slight bend in them as well. That hockey stick blade style bend helps keep them more vertical and less horizontal as the day wears on.
The Socks: Nordstrom Over The Calf Wool Blend Socks in Navy – $14.50. A perfect thickness in a breathable wool blend. The over the calf length also helps keep your socks up, instead of risking any annoying slouching down around your ankles. And remember, match your socks to your trousers. Not your shoes. It makes your legs look longer, and therefor, you look taller.
The Chelseas: Banana Republic “Ty” Chelsea – $53.50 ($178). Sick of seeing these things yet? Apologies if you are, but suited and booted just looks different (but still terrific) than wearing conservative lace-ups with your suit. If chelseas are too rock and roll for you, try a slim soled dress chukka or even a wingtip boot. Just make sure they’re sleek. Plenty of wingtip boots can look a little clunky against a suit. These were just on promotion for $107. UPDATE: And now they’re back in the sale section at $107, and with the extra 50% off deal that’s running they drop to a silly $53.50. Major thanks to Neil V. for the tip!