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1. The key thing is the size of your jacket and the breadth of your trousers. Sleeves and legs can always be shortened, but if you choose a jacket too ample in the shoulders, you will look as if you were wearing your elder brother’s suit, and in most cases you won’t be able to alter it. The key to success when buying a suit is to choose the right size.
2. The jacket should rest gently on your shoulders and fit perfectly. If you see any horizontal folds on the back, this means that it is too tight, and if you seen the vertical ones – too loose. The jacket should be long enough to divide the silhouette in two, and its lapels must fit to the body.
3. The jacket’s sleeve should reach up to the wrist to show about 1 cm of the shirt cuff when the hand is straightened. Usually, a ready-made jacket will require alterations. Sleeves that are too long spoil the overall effect. If the buttons are not imitation, you can leave the lowest button undone.
4. The collar lapels should always be hidden under the jacket. The exception is a shirt with a wingtip collar or a less formal band collar. Following this principle, a suit is better matched by shirts with Italian collars or semi-Italian collars rather than classic Kents, which leave a tiny space between the collar and the jacket’s lapel.
5. The belt should be made of leather, and its color must match either the shade of the shoes or the watchstrap (if you decide to get one). Flagship brands offering shoes also offer belts and watchstraps made of the same leather as shoes.
6. Trousers. The length of the trousers should be such that the trouser legs at the shoe level do not fold several times. The best length is where the legs rest on the shoe without folding. Italians shorten their trousers to show their socks on the straightened leg. Wearing such trousers is not a mistake, but it does require self-confidence and an awareness of one’s own style. The narrower the leg, the shorter it should be.
7. The only admissible shirts for jackets are those with long sleeves. If you choose to wear cufflinks, do not forget that these should match the other accessories – your watch, belt buckle and tiepin.
8. If you are slimmer, choose slim-fit suits, which will highlight your figure, but if you are a bit rounder it is safer to choose standard three piece suits, which shape the body. It is worth remembering that rounder men should not exaggerate with size. Clothing that is too ample can make us look even rounder. Better quality branded suits, besides the standard sizes, have a ‘drop’ mark, which shows the slimness of the suit. It is sometimes the case that several brands will offer the same suits in the same size that differ by ‘drop’ only.
9. Do not choose slim ties only because they are currently in fashion. If your jacket has narrow lapels, you should choose a slim tie. A sense of proportion is key here. A jacket with wide lapels should go with a wider tie. Trendy slims are a sign of the current fashion that has nothing to do with classic elegance. Such ties go only with very slim silhouettes. Hardly anyone looks good wearing such a tie.
10. A well-tied tie must reach the belt, gently covering the buckle. It can be neither shorter nor longer. Never put your tie into your trousers!
11. Put on long socks to match your suit or shoes. If you feel confident enough to create your own outfit, you can select socks of a different color, for example, by matching your pocket handkerchief. The first method above is the safest, while contrasting socks call for good taste and self-confidence. When you cross your legs, your bare calves must not show.
12. The devil is in the details. Select a good pocket handkerchief which will be the perfect complement for your attire. Never use a tie with a pocket handkerchief of the same color, texture and pattern. This is one of the most common mistakes people make, and is even recommended quite often by suit store shop assistants.
13. Your watch. Choose a classic model with a flat case, not too flashy, with a leather strip or a delicate bracelet.
14. Your shoes. Perfectly polished, laced-up shoes, preferably made of leather, including the sole. The color of your shoes depends on the formality and color of your suit. The most elegant and formal shoes for your suit are oxford shoes, which I discussed in more detail here. It is worth investing in high quality Goodyear Welted shoes, which will last for years.
15. If you want to have a suit that fits really well, go to a good tailor to get a tailor-made suit. Only then will it fit perfectly. All ready-made suit require at least small alterations. It is rare for a ready-made suit to fit perfectly, like a T-shirt or a sweatshirt. Alterations are cheap, but their effect is electrifying. Do not skimp on this service.
This post is also available in: POLISH VERSION
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