A few weeks back we did an article on understanding the quality of suits and what to look for when buying one, however following this article we’ve received many questions about accessorizing a suit and what to wear to complete the look. The answer is it’s the details that change a suit from being simple tailoring to a dapper style, so today we cover 5 accessories every gentleman should own and wear with a suit.
5) High Quality Collar Stiffeners
Collar bones, or stiffeners as they are sometimes known, are designed to structure the ends of a shirt’s collar so that they lie flat against the collar bones when worn. This ensures a crisp, clean look and reduces the likelihood of the collar bending as you move around. The majority of shirts comes with plastic stiffeners inside when purchased, however these will bend after being worn a few times and as such are not terribly effective.
High quality collar stiffeners, usually made from steel, silver or enamel, don’t suffer from this problem and do a much better job of keeping the collar structure tidy. We also believe that the slightly extra weight they add helps the collar sit on the neckline in a much more comfortable manner, as a result you’ll never have to worry about your collar looking out of place or bent.
The set pictured comes from T.M. Lewin for £25 and suits a range of collar sizes, well worth the investment.
4) A Silk Tie
If a suit is the main part of your outfit then a tie is your opportunity to add colour, sophistication and subtle detail to the overall ensemble. The right tie can enhance the look of your suit, giving it character and complimenting the colour scheme to give a much more charismatic feel to the ensemble.
When shopping for a tie make sure to get something of a high-quality material, preferably silk, as this will feel and look much more stylish than a poly-blend. You can also look into textured wool ties such as these are becoming popular in the coming seasons and are likely to be a big style factor in Autumn/Winter 2014.
3) A Tie Clip
We cannot stress how much of a difference this single accessory makes to the overall look of a suit, it is incredibly simple and yet just as powerful in making your outfit look sharper, tidier and cleaner. There are a wealth of them available and, usually, the simpler ones are the most effective. There are two main rules to wearing a tie bar:
- Do not wear it too high/low- The tie clip should sit in the middle of your sternum and be clipped to both your tie and shirt (see here for an illustration)
- NEVER wear a tie bar that is wider than your tie. It looks a tad ridiculous.
This one is from Next and at £10 is a bargain considering the benefits you get from wearing it. We generally avoid gold tie clips as they look a bit too “bling” for our liking, instead we favour silver, stainless steel and titanium clips with simple detailing on them (such as the carbon fiber one above).
2) A Good Pair of Cufflinks
This is another example of small details making a big difference in the way a suit looks. Assuming you’re wearing a double cuff shirt, a cufflink is something that will get noticed in conversations, making them an important item despite their reduced visibility when wearing the suit around town.
Cufflinks also give you a chance to show off your character and personal style. For example, we love these black enamel and silver button cufflinks because of their classic look when worn with a black or grey suit. Simple and sophisticated.
PET PEEVE ALERT: Please, please, PLEASE refrain from wearing the cotton/nylon knots that often come free with shirts. These are, at best, designed to keep the shirt cuffs looking good on display or in packaging and not to be worn with a suit.
1) Pocket Squares
By far and away our favourite item to go with a suit is the pocket square, an elegant accessory that adds sophistication and stylish detail to any tailored jacket or blazer. There are multitude of ways to fold them, each with their own emphasis on a specific style, we prefer to keep it simple with a straight fold or single-corner fold.
It’s important to note that choosing the colour of a pocket square is important, stay away from matching it with your tie as this is likely to look too similar on the outfit. Instead aim for a similar colour to your shirt or a strong contrast against your suit colour, for example in our wedding post a white pocket square was incorporated to contrast the grey suit and match the white of the shirt. Elegant and simple.
Well gents, those are our 5 items that are necessity when wearing a suit. If you’ve enjoyed the article then feel free to like, comment and/or share with your friends. Don’t forget to subscribe for more updates from The Male Stylist and if you have any other tips then feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
By Adam Walker