The uninitiated man might think that wearing a suit is as simple as grabbing a two piece, throwing it on with your cleanest shirt and leaving the house. The fashion-forward man knows, however, that there is far much more to wearing suiting and tailoring than that.
The suit is the most important piece that every man has in his wardrobe. You can wear it in a hundred different ways and for a hundred different occasions. Provided you have a well–cut suit that fits you like a second skin in your armory, you will always have something to wear. But how should you accessorize it?
Accessories are important for every outfit a man wears, but no more so than when here is wearing a suit. The right accessory will take you from blending in with the crowd to standing out from the crowd: turn your simple blue suit into a masterpiece.
Whether you opt for cufflinks or bracelets, minimalist ties or ornate pocket squares, here’s everything you need to know about finding the right men’s accessories for suits:
The first and most obvious accessory that springs to mind when thinking of a suit is a necktie: some occasions will call for pairing your suit with a necktie, whilst others won’t. Weddings, formal black-tie parties and events, most job interviews and meetings with your bank manager will all generally require a suit. Otherwise whether or not you choose to wear one is entirely at your own discretion.
A well-chosen tie can generally improve the look and feel or your suit, but it will also considerably increase its level of formality. If you’re wearing your suit for a date, drinks, or other more casual context, therefore, you might prefer to consider leaving the tie at home and opening the top button of your shirt instead.
If you do choose to wear a necktie, here’s what you need to know:
- For business wear choose a silk necktie in muted colors and with a conservative pattern. Stripes or pin dots will both work well in shades of grey, blue and green.
- For fun occasions when you can express your personality, brighter colours and bolder, geometric patterns will look great. Just remember to choose colour or pattern but never both: it will overwhelm your whole outfit.
- Think about your body shape and the fit of your suit when choosing a tie. Skinny ties don’t work for broad men, as they only emphasize their larger frame, whilst slight guys should avoid wide ties that will overwhelm them.
- Unless you’re going to a fancy-dress party, novelty ties are never OK. They’re not funny and nobody likes them. Just say no!
- To bow tie or not to bow tie? Bow ties can add fun and whimsy to an outfit and, paired with the right pieces, they can look incredibly fashion-forward too. Only you can decide if you have the style and the personality to pull one off.
Perfect Pocket Squares
Many men consider the pocket square to be an old-fashioned accessory, and it certainly isn’t worn as often as it used to be, but a strategically positioned pocket square certainly shouldn’t be dismissed. It can look stylish and dapper, particularly if the right piece is chosen.
Not sure what a pocket square is? It does exactly what it says on the tin: it is a square of fabric that sits in the top pocket of your suit! Pocket squares add color and personality to your suit, helping to break the line of your jacket and instantly showcasing your coordination and your style credentials. They’re an added extra that separates an ordinary man from a dapper man: a nod to the past, when gentlemen understood the importance of dressing up.
Many stores carry pocket squares and neckties in matching sets to give you a clean, put-together appearance. It also takes the work and effort out of ensuring your pieces match: it’s already been done for you! A matching tie and pocket square will look neat and coordinated, but if you really want to show off your sense of style then we recommend buying the two pieces separately.
Many men don’t realize this, but your pocket square and tie don’t always have to match, but they shouldn’t clash either. Choose a pocket square to match a highlight color from your tie or a neutral square to balance a brightly patterned tie. Even contrasting patterns can work well as long as they are complementary of each other. Experiment and embrace the challenge of trying new things!
Delightful Dress Watches
If there’s one accessory that every man should wear with every outfit, it’s the watch. And there is no watch more slick and glamorous than the dress watch. Your watch should be tailored to the occasion that you’re dressing for, and coordinate with your suit perfectly.
For example, if you’re wearing a business suit then a stainless steel oversized multi-functional dress watch that can tell the time in several time zones would be appropriate. This watch instantly shows that you have style, but also that you take your role seriously, and that your career is important to you.
For formal evening occasions, a slicker and more minimalist watch would be more appropriate. This could be in stainless steel, gold or leather, depending on your personal tasks and the cut and colour of your suits.
Gold watches are increasingly in vogue and will lend an edgy, urban look to your outfit. Stainless steel watches are classic and timeless: because they go with everything they are also a great choice of investment watch if you’re looking for one watch that you can wear to any occasion. Leather watches tend to be a little more informal, but a narrow strap in black or brown leather paired with a minimalist face is perfect for a no-nonsense, outdoorsy guy.
Looking for something a little more modern and fashion-forward? Something that will make you stand out from the crowd without being too over the top? We love this sleek black watch from our own RoyalFashionist collection.
This brushed black stainless steel watch with different pointer colors is versatile enough to wear for the day and night. It would look great paired with a black or slate grey suit for a coordinated and stylish look.
Coordinating the color of your watch face with the color of your suit is always a nice touch: so if you’re wearing a blue suit then a stainless steel watch with a vibrant blue face would coordinate perfectly. The watch is the most important accessory that any man can have in his armory, so choose yours wisely.
Not sure if jewelry is right for you? Worry that you might look a little feminine? This is something that we hear a lot, but the reality is you have nothing to worry about! A man that has the confidence and the sense of style to add jewelry to his outfit will only look more masculine than his peers.
So how do you wear jewelry with a suit? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you might think. The key here is layering: layer a bracelet with your favorite dress watch. Pair this with cufflinks in a coordinating shade.
Our morning star bracelet, for example, coordinated with a gold tone dress watch and simple embossed cufflinks is the perfect combo. It also has the added bonus of being in the sale for just $324.00 right now.
Build up a subtle layered jewelry effect that will really showcase your style credentials, but don’t try and make everything look too perfect: something unexpected, such as an injection of a contrasting shade or a precious stone will often grab the eye more than an outfit that is too perfect and polished.
The overall look should be rock n roll: effortless, not too try hard, but fundamentally very very cool. Note that this is not a look that you should wear to the office or any formal business environment, but if you’re in a position where you will be encouraged to express your personality then let it shine through!
Although cufflinks are technically considered jewelry, they are such an important element of a well-worn dress suit that they are worthy of a category all of their own. Cufflinks come in a near-endless array of colors, styles and designs, so the pair that you choose says a lot about you.
For a formal work meeting choose a streamlined and minimalist pair of solid silver cufflinks in a classic shape: square or oval cufflinks are particularly popular right now. These can be engraved with your initials, name, or even the names of your loved ones to add an elegant and personal twist.
If you’re looking for something a little more fun and flamboyant then why not inject your personality into your outfit with a pair of novelty cufflinks: these can be chosen to reflect your hobbies and interests. Bikes, boxing gloves, soccer balls or golf clubs are all popular choices for sportsmen, for example. The logo of your favorite baseball or football team is another fun option.
Finally, if you want to inject a little extra color into your outfit or ensure that your cufflinks coordinate perfectly with your suit, tie, or other accessories, why not opt for simple silk knots. These come in a rainbow of colors meaning it’s easy to find the exact shade you’re looking for: they look great and have the benefit of being considerably less expensive than solid silver cufflinks too.
It’s important to note that cufflinks can only be worn with shirts that have French cuffs, so if you’re planning to wear cufflinks you need to think about the shirt you choose carefully. Cufflinks are like the cherry on the cake; the detail that makes all the different to the cut and fit of your outfit. It is well worth investing in a new shirt, simply to ensure that you can add cufflinks to your suit and, like a knowing nod, show off your style credentials every time you wear them.
The accessories you choose will make or break your suit, so it’s important to carefully consider your whole outfit when you’re putting on a two piece, rather than think you can just throw on a suit and you’re ready to go.
Ties can add an air of formality to your outfit and are perfect for business wear or formal events and occasions. Just make sure you choose a tie that is the right thickness for your frame and the size of your suit lapels: remember that you are wearing the tie. Don’t let the tie wear you!
Pocket squares will add a vintage feel to your outfit and are perfect for dapper guys that want to stand out from the crowd. Ensure your pocket square compliments your tie, but don’t feel pressured to match the two pieces if a matchy-matchy look doesn’t suit your personality.
When it comes to dress watches, just say yes! If you only invest in one accessory to elevate your suit then make it a dress watch. Women notice the watch a man is wearing: make yours a good one!
Jewelry is for everybody, and is a great way to add an edgy touch to your outfit. Don’t be afraid to stack a coordinating bracelet alongside your watch or to choose a well-placed ring. The right pieces of jewelry will instantly show that you are stylish and that you have a keen understanding of fashion – don’t shy away from wearing more than one piece at the same time.
Finally, cufflinks look great paired with shirts with French cuffs. Elegant, expensive and thoroughly stylish: it’s a timeless look that you can invest in now and wear for the rest of your life.
If you only take one thing from this article then let it be this: if in doubt, accessorize! Adding accessories is not just a trend for the girls: it’s the perfect way to elevate your suit and really stand out from the crowd.