Author: Aoife Moriarty
That’s why Spear’s has put together a helpful ‘How to’ guide with the aid of some of Savile Row’s finest tailors, Gieves & Hawkes and Norton & Sons, so that you can be confident that you are looking suitably dapper whatever the occasion.
1. Match Your Suit to the Setting
Whether you’re looking for a new suit for the boardroom or a fresh look for a summer wedding, the sagest advice is to always match your suit correctly to the occasion.
Jason Basmajian, Creative Director of Gieves & Hawkes, says: “For the office I tend to favour a suit in a lightweight wool. Wool is a fantastically hardwearing fabric and if you take care of your suits, they will last for many years.
“For summer down time, I favour a silk/linen mix jacket and cotton chino pants with loafers and no socks, substituting a fine-gauge merino or cashmere knit for a collared shirt to mix it up and dress it down. I think it is more polite to be a little overdressed than under, so I think a relaxed tailored jacket is a fail-safe option for whatever the day might throw at you.”
2. Choose Bespoke Tailoring
While ready-to-wear jackets might be on trend, nothing can quite compare to the lines of a tailored suit. A bespoke two piece from Savile Row can set you back upwards of £3,500, but the experts agree that it is an investment well worth making.
“With a Savile Row bespoke suit comes a guarantee of hand sewn quality, and excellent cloth,” says Patrick Grant, Director of Norton & Sons, “which together mean a lifespan that is probably five times that of many £1000 off-the-peg suits.”
3. Get the Perfect Fit
When it comes to suits, all and sundry agree that it’s the fit that matters most. From shoulder pads not lurching forwards to sleeve, arm and jacket lengths, every measurement needs to be right to ensure you’re flattered rather than disadvantaged by the cut.
“If time is an issue or your means do not permit, it’s worth keeping in mind that any ready-to-wear garments can also be altered by a good tailor and it is really essential to take time to get your clothes properly fitted if they aren’t made for you,” advises Basmajian.
My golden rule is to have everything – jackets, trousers, coats – altered to ensure that it fits properly. Nothing is more unflattering than acres of fabric where it isn’t needed or a jacket that is too tight in the wrong places,” he adds.
4. Accessorise Well
There are no definitive guidelines when it comes to accessories to complement your outfit. Shoes, shirts, ties, cuffs, pocket squares… the list – as well as the possibilities – are endless.
As a general rule though, both style gurus advise not to be overly ‘matchy matchy’; stick to tonally similar rather than identical shades.
“If it makes it easier lay is all out on the bed,” notes Grant, “Does it all work pattern and colour wise? And think about shoes and watch straps too.
“In general terms harmony and matching is bad. Pieces should be complimentary but matching M&S gift sets are not cool.”
5. Invest in your Wardrobe
Ok, so we admit a bespoke suit doesn’t come cheap. But when it comes to feeling your best in the boardroom, surely no price is too high, which is why any serious businessman will have all bases covered in his wardrobe – from lightweight linen to cashmere sports jackets and heavier tweed and wool.
Basmajian says: “I think it’s important to have a sufficient number of suits for the demands of your individual work week; if you wear a suit every day, I would, over time, build up a stable of seven to eight good quality suits that you can rotate.”
6. Confidence is Key
“Ultimately dressing well is all about being comfortable, and being confident, in your clothes,” says Grant, “If you’re wearing good piece, well pressed and polished, and you feel yourself in them then confidence is easy.”