Dealing with Suits: How to have a Royal Flush
Suits are symbols of authority. However, the bottom buttons of men's jackets are not designed to be buttoned, since King Edward VII gained weight and ultimately started a fashion trend.
Single Breasted suits can have one, two, three or more buttons. Two and three button jackets are classic; one or more than three get you into fashion forward arena, which is more suitable for social events than business. With two button jackets, only the top button is fastened.
With three button jackets, you can close the middle, or middle and top button. Some suits are made so that the lapels roll to the middle button. On those suits, you can leave the top button unfastened. Some East Coast hipsters fasten only the top of three buttons!
Four or more button jackets may be designed to fasten all the buttons, even the bottom. If the bottom button of a four button can be closed without a noticeable pulling of the fabric, it's okay to close or leave it open.
Double Breasted suits are more formal of the two styles and can have four to six buttons with one or two to button. They are often identified by a two-number designation such as 4/2, 4/1 or 6/2.
Translated, the first number gives the total number of front buttons and the second is the number of functioning buttonholes. It doesn't always mean all the buttons have to be fastened.
There are 5 types of casual, be careful as to which one you need to be donning so you don't become a casualty!
1. Business: The level beneath the business suit and tie, which can consist of a suit or sport jacket and/or sweater, and an optional tie. This is what you'd wear to a company party (retirement, holiday, etc.). The fabrics may be less dressy, and the tie a knit or novelty print. You may have slightly relaxed the look, but you're still there for business.
2. Casual Chic: Apparel that you'd wear to a private country club for lunch or dinner. Dress trousers, sport shirt, dress shirt or knit polo shirt, a sweater or sport jacket and leather shoes/belt. It's also appropriate for an off-site seminar, a party at a friend's home or dinner at a nice restaurant. And yes the elements in your attire may have cost MORE than a good suit!!
3. Sporty: The outdoor look! Off to the local pub to watch Monday night football with the guys, to a real game, when you're invited to spend the weekend at one of Ralph Lauren's homes, or third date out for pizza. Any activity where you might run into someone interesting. It's more casual, but you still took some time to coordinate colors, and think about what elements you put together.
4. Saturday Casual: What you wear on weekends, if you had to go out shopping or doing laundry, and there was even a remote chance of human contact.
5. Active: Gear you'd wear to the gym, to play b-ball, washing your car, or gardening, but not stop off at the grocery store on the way home. It's also what you might wear around the house if you weren't expecting any visitors.
The Match Game
- Socks should match your trousers.
- Belts should match your shoes.
- Never wear both a belt and suspenders. You'll appear insecure.
Keep It "Tie"ty
- Ties should reach your belt line. This is neither arbitrary nor negotiable.
- Properly knotted ties have a "dimple" under the knot.
- Clips and tacks are out of date.
- Never wear a short sleeve shirt with a tie.
- See www.tieguide.com for more info.
It's a Shoe In
- Shoes are one of the most evaluated elements of men's wardrobes.
- Your shoes should be clean, shined, in good repair and appropriate for the occasion.
- If you are wearing a suit, wear lace-up shoes.
- Don't wear the same shoe on consecutive days.
- Keep shoetrees in your shoes when you're not wearing them.