Suits

mens suit patterns

If the phrase “patterned suits” made you think of Austin Powers, we forgive you. Most men find patterned suits too risky an option, and instead stick to safe bets like black, navy blue and grey suits. But patterned suits can be everything from fun to sombre. Here we take a look at six of the most popular suit patterns in the market.

1) Glen plaid suits

Reminiscent of European aristocracy, the Glen plaid enjoys a rich and distinguished history. It’s essentially a woollen fabric with a woven twill design of small and large checks. Owing to the check design, the making of a Glen plaid suit calls for a tailor with expertise since the checks have to align harmoniously at the seams. Glen plaid suits can easily be worn in formal work environments.

2) Windowpane

Unlike regular plaids, the windowpane checks give a more checkered effect owing to the wide spacement of the checks. The look can be sombre or bold based on the color or the check stripe. If the stripes of the check are close to the tone of the body, then it can be worn to formal settings, but if the check stripes are bold and contrasting to the body, then it’d be more suited for parties.

3) Pinstripe suits

Pinstripes or bankers stripes started out in the 19th century, when they were used in banker uniforms, with each bank having their own stripe. Even today, it’s associated with banking and financial institutions. The pinstripe, looks exactly like what the name suggests – stripes made by a pin. Pinstripe suits are ideal for corporate settings, thanks to the subtlety of the stripes, and the closer it matches the body, the more sombre it looks. Pinstripe suits are traditionally worn to jobs in the finance field, but they can easily be worked into every man’s formal wear repertoire.

4) Chalk stripe suits

Chalk stripes are closely related to pinstripes, the only difference being the width of the stripe. The name is derived from the fact that they look like stripes made by a tailor’s chalk on fabric. Chalk stripe suits are flashier than pinstripe suits and are ideal if you want the stripes to be predominant. Wear chalk stripe suits for boardroom meetings, when you need to draw attention and convey a powerful image.

5) Herringbone

The herringbone suit pattern comes from the repeated inverted V’s created by the twill weave. It’s a versatile pattern, and can be found on everything from semi-casual olive or brown blazers to neutral toned business suits.

6) Houndstooth

The houndstooth pattern can trace its roots back to Scotland in the 1800’s. The fabric got its name because it looks like a repeated hound’s tooth pattern. As such, houndstooth fabric is mostly used in suit jackets and blazers rather than full suits. It’s a very bold look, even when employed only on suit jackets or blazers, so wear them to casual events and parties.

We hope this helped you familiarise yourself with the six most popular men’s suit patterns. There are a few things to remember though – a patterned suit is memorable and therefore should not be part of your core suit collection. They can ideally be your fourth or fifth purchase. And high quality fabrics and beautiful tailoring are very important here since patterns make mistakes show more easily compared to a solid dark suit. And finally, don’t forget the importance of pairing your patterned suits with the right shirts and ties. Thankfully we’ve done a post on the subject that you’ll find helpful.

Image Credits: Herringbones – sprucelondon.com, Houndstooth – stylemakerfabrics.com

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style black suit

Black suits constitute one of the three fundamental suits in every man’s wardrobe, the other two being the grey and navy blue suits respectively. Most men think of the black suit as the go-to suit for all occasions, but that’s not the case. However, since black is symbolic of power, sex appeal and mystery, not to mention the slimming effect it creates, we recommend having it on hand. Here we give you the low-down on when to wear a black suit and how to style it for every occasion.

How formal is the black suit?

First of all, the black suit is the most formal suit you can have in your wardrobe. It’s strong, stark and quite memorable and therefore not as versatile as grey or navy blue suits. Plus it looks best away from daylight or fluorescent lighting. These qualities make it more suited for evening wear than for the day. That being said, it can still be styled imaginatively to suit various occasions. Here are a few:

How to style a black suit for work

Black suits are considered too formal for daily office wear, but you can wear them all the same with a bit of imaginative styling.

The classic white shirt and black tie combo works for most conservative offices. You can soften the look with pastel or neutral color shirts. Almost all color ties can be worn with black suits, but opt for low contrast colors so that your ensemble doesn’t look colorblocked. Black Oxford or monk strap shoes will easily complement these office looks. Since black suits are memorable, we suggest you rotate them with other suits.

The one rule of thumb is to not wear a black suit to an interview, since it’s more serious that the occasion warrants.

How to style a black suit for a night out

Black suits look sexy when worn with fitted black, charcoal grey and navy blue shirts. Ties are optional, but try a black tie or one in the same shade as the shirt. Add tie pins, signature watches and cufflinks to glam it up. Complete the look with black dress shoes like Oxfords.

Similarly, you can layer your black suit over pastel or printed shirts and leave the top two buttons unbuttoned for an effortlessly sophisticated look that’s perfect for clubbing and parties. Alternatively, wear your black suit with T-shirts. If you’re going with T-shirt, we suggest completing the look with white sneakers or dark brown leather Chelsea boots.

How to style a black suit for formal or black tie events

Black suits come into their own during formal events, especially those held in the evenings. Though not considered occasion wear, a well-fitted black suit can be a beautiful alternative to a tuxedo.

Pull off another popular black tie look with a crisp white dress shirt, black bowtie and white pocket square. Accessorise with black Oxfords or derby shoes and you’ll fit right in.

As you can see, there’s a reason why the black suit is a wardrobe staple. And just because it’s formal doesn’t mean that it has to be rigid and boring. However, we recommend you buy a made to measure suit in a fabric made of natural fibres so that it lasts for years. We’ve elaborated on the plus points of owning custom clothing in another post, and quality and longevity are two of the many plus points. After all, if you’re going to own only one black suit, make sure it’s one hell of a sexy, well-fitted one, that’ll last for years!

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Style Navy blue suits

Blue suits are one of the three fundamental suits that every man should possess in his wardrobe, the other two being the black and charcoal grey suits respectively. That being said, there are variations on the blue too. Let’s quickly go through the four popular blues:

  • Midnight blue – This is the most formal of all blues. It’s a great alternative to black for black tie events. For example, tuxedos often come in midnight blue.
  • Navy blue – The most popular blue of the lot. If you’re going to own only one blue suit, let it be the navy blue suit.
  • True blue – We suggest you get a true blue suit only after you get a navy blue suit. This is because it’s a memorable color and repeated wears will be noticed.
  • Light blue – A summery color for the hot months. Just like true blues, it’ll be noticed, and therefore should not form the foundation of your suit collection.

From the quick analysis above, it’s obvious that the most versatile blue of the lot is the navy blue. Therefore, definitely consider buying a made to measure navy blue suit. Below, we’ll give you tips on how to style the navy blue suit.

How can you style a navy blue suit?

Whether you wear suits to work daily depends a lot on your company’s dress code. Suits are a good investment for those who work in traditional careers like banking, investment, law, etc. However, a navy suit can work across the board and look just as good in more casual work environments.

Styling corporate looks using the navy blue suit:

Be it an important interview or a business meeting, navy suits won’t let you down. You can style navy blue suits for work in myriad ways with different shirts and ties. Here are some of the most popular combinations:

Style your navy blue suit with classic white, light blue and pink shirts. Ties that usually go with these shirts are black, navy, red, burgundy and pink. If you want to add pattern to the mix, we suggest thin stripes, micro prints or polka dots.

Another popular formal look is the blue on blue combo where you layer your navy blue suit over a light blue shirt. You can keep it formal with a textured navy blue tie.

Complete the look with dark brown or black shoes. Oxfords, brogues and monk straps are classic choices. Make sure that your belt matches your shoes.

We’ve discussed the rules of mixing patterns in a different post, but the main rule is to ensure that you don’t load your look with too many distracting details. E.g., if your shirt is loud, tone down the suit; if your tie and pocket square is patterned, then don’t wear heavy cufflinks and watches, etc.

Styling formal looks using the navy blue suit:

The navy blue suit, when styled correctly, can serve you well in formal occasions like black tie or black tie optional events. The rule of thumb is to stick to darker color shirts such as black, navy blue(for that blue on blue look) or charcoal grey. If you do opt for a white shirt, then tone it down with a charcoal grey tie and a complimentary pocket square. Complete the look with black shoes and belt, and a statement watch.

If you’re planning to wear your navy suit to a wedding, we suggest you wear a bowtie instead of a regular tie. If you do want to wear a tie, then opt for one in a pastel shade in keeping with the frivolity of the situation.

Styling casual looks using the navy blue suit:

Putting the words casual and suit in the same sentence may look like an oxymoron, but in this situation, it means business casual. And it can get even more relaxed based on the dress code. For shirts, you can experiment with gingham checks and florals, along with solid neutrals. If you’re wearing the shirts on their own, then leave the top two buttons unbuttoned. For the business casual look, ties and pocket squares are optional. There are those who take it to the next level and wear T-shirts instead of shirts. For shoes, you can wear leather shoes in Oxblood or burgundy, or opt for loafers or sneakers.

Now that you have all the tips needed, it’s time to invest in a good quality suit. We can’t stress enough on the importance of owning a tailor-made suit in a high quality fabric. We suggest you buy one in wool in a classic cut or head to Tailorman for a made to measure suit that’s perfect for you and your lifestyle.

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take care of your suit

Suits are one of the most most expensive clothing items a man can own. If you’ve purchased your basic suits, added patterned jackets and blazers, and a tuxedo, then you’re now the proud owner of an enviable wardrobe.

But once you have all the right suits, how are you going to maintain them?

Your first instinct may be to get your suits dry cleaned. But the truth is that most men are dry cleaning their suits too often. You could just as well keep suits fresh by brushing them, airing them out and spot cleaning them regularly.

Let’s talk about how long your suit can last.

As a general rule, if you buy a well-fitting suit in a classic style, crafted from good quality fabric, it can easily last your at least ten years. Steer clear of trendy elements and patterns and no one would be able to tell that it wasn’t a current purchase.

Next, how many wears can you get out of a suit?

As a general rule, you can get at least 130 wears out of a suit. This is a conservative estimate, because things like how often you wear your suits, how long you wear them each time, how much dust and stains your suits are exposed to during each wear – all can affect the longevity of your suit.

And finally, how to take care of your suit.

Storage

First of all, hang your suits on a wide wooden hanger in your closet. Make sure that the hanger is wide enough to reach the shoulders so that the shoulder padding stays intact. When you have to store your suits away for a season, it’s best to dry clean them first and store them in a breathable garment bag.

Brushing

Buy a suit brush specifically for brushing your suits. All you need is fifteen seconds to brush the dust and food particles off your suits. This buildup if left unchecked can lead to fiber decay, which in turn can lead to a dusty appearance and tearing. Therefore, regular suit brushing can add to the longevity of your suit.

Airing

Don’t pack your suits in like sardines. Give them an inch or two on either side so that they air out naturally between wears. This can get rid of light odors.

Steam cleaning

Use a steam cleaner to get the wrinkles out. It also gives the additional benefit of freshening your suit.

Spot cleaning

Spot cleaning comes in handy when your otherwise clean suit is marred by a stain. This way, your suit does not have to undergo drycleaning just to get rid of a tiny stain.

Washing suits

Though people wash their suits at home, we suggest you look at the care instructions that come with the suit first. Otherwise, we suggest maintaining it using the methods given above and dry cleaning it occasionally.

Dry cleaning

It’s best to take your suits to the dry cleaners every six months or when it starts to smell funky or look visibly dirty or when it gets a stain. This is because dry cleaning uses chemical solvents and regular dry cleaning can be bad for suits made from natural fibers.

Now that you have all the requisite information on keeping your suits clean, we suggest you buy made to measure suits with confidence – after all, they’ll keep for years to come and make you look amazing every time.

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basic suits

Wardrobe basics get a bad rap. They’re seen as boring – the clothing essentials of boring men. But that’s far from the truth. Wardrobe basics are the building blocks of great looks. The crisp white shirt, the sleek tuxedo, the linen jacket – they’re timeless, classy and say very nice things about the wearer.

When it comes to smaller items, it’s okay to indulge and spend on trends. But flashy items like a printed shirt in the color of the moment or checkered trousers that were in fashion for exactly fifteen minutes don’t have a great shelf life. And six months down the line, you’re stuck with a wardrobe that’s begging for some serious Mary Kondoing. And that’s why, at least when it comes to your big ticket items, it’s best to have your basics in place.

And what are these big ticket items, you ask.
Suits.

Why should you own a suit in the first place?

Though suits may feel like a luxury to many, anyone who’s serious about their career and how they’re perceived is sure to have at least one sharp suit hanging in their wardrobe. The structured garment is flattering on most body types, and there’s a certain gravitas it gives to the wearer. It automatically gives the person an authoritative air. And if the suit is well tailored, then it makes the wearer look effortlessly sophisticated. And all this is conveyed without him even uttering a word. If Mark Zuckerberg wore a suit everyday, he’d probably be president by now.

How many suits should you own?

Most men think one black suit is enough. But at Tailorman, we believe you should own at least three – the black, navy blue and charcoal grey suit. They’re the cornerstones of great business looks. And here we give you a list of reasons why you should own these three suits:

  • They are in line with most corporate dress codes
  • They can be worn with a wide range of business shirts and tie combos without looking repetitive
  • They can be mixed and matched to create more looks, e.g., charcoal grey trousers with navy blue suit jacket, etc.
  • If you get them tailored to perfection, they can last for years without looking outdated
  • They can be worn for pretty much all business meetings, conferences, and formal events
  • They can be dressed up effortlessly with the right accessories, ties and pocket squares.

These suits really do put the power in power dressing. When you’re a busy man with empires to build, your wardrobe should be functional and easy to assemble. And these basic suits allow you to do that. If you want to jazz up your basic suits with color and patterns, then we have an entire post on mixing patterns. Of course, Tailorman allows you to add fun linings to the mix so that it’s all business on the outside and a party inside.

Now that you know the importance of owning the holy trinity of suits, please head to the Tailorman store and get your made to measure suit right away.

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pinstripe suit

Blame it on movies from the 80’s, but pinstripe suits automatically conjure images of sharply dressed finance guys talking numbers or toasting each other over closing million dollar deals. During the hipster era, the pinstripe suit trend lay dormant, but it’s making a comeback.

Traditionally, pinstripes or bankers stripes came into style in the 19th century. They started out as banker uniforms, with each bank having their own stripe, shade and weight. Later they became the uniform of choice among gangsters, whose style was later copped by Hollywood stars. And this is how it gained its bad boy reputation.

So, what is it about the pinstripe suit that makes it appealing?

On a subconscious level, pinstripe suits symbolize money, status and power. It’s conservative, yet powerful and dynamic. It represents the alpha male. Even today, it’s favored by men who work in finance, and it means business.

From a design point of view, vertical stripes create visual interest. Plus, they give a slimming and lengthening effect to the wearer. Above all, they’re a classic, and therefore not reliant on trends to stay relevant.

When should you buy a pinstripe suit?

The rule is that your pinstripe suit should come in after you’ve purchased the basic suits, namely the ones in black, grey and navy. Why is that? Pinstripe suits are memorable, and therefore repeated wears will be noted, unlike suits in solid neutrals.

How do you style it?

The color of the suit and the stripe dictates the shirts and ties you choose. Ideally, the shirts you choose should match the stripes of the suit. But you have more freedom when the stripes almost match the background, because then you can treat it like a solid. That being said, the stripes will show up the closer someone gets to you, so here are a few important rules to dressing in pinstripe suits:

  • Make sure your suit fits well. Pinstripe suits, like all suits, look best when it fits well. But, unlike other suits, say a black, navy or charcoal grey suit, pinstripe suit will show the bunching and stretching caused by bad fit because of the visible lines. The Tailorman made to measure service ensures that your suits are tailored to perfection.
  • Wear solid color shirts, preferably neutrals. If you want to play with patterns, choose micro checks and subtle stripes, but always go with neutrals as a first choice.
  • Accent the suit with ties and pocket squares with contrasting shades, e.g. navy blue, maroon, black, etc. Alternatively choose ties in light colors like gold or lilac. When it comes to patterns, it’s best to stick to paisleys, stripes, plaids, polka dots, provided they’re not loud.
  • Tone down the accessories. In other words, reduce the points of focus on your ensemble – cufflinks, tie pins, big watches, etc. This allows for a clutter free look.
  • Wear formal shoes like derbys, Oxfords or monkstraps.

Now that you have all the encouragement you need to buy a pinstripe suit, please head to the Tailorman store and make an appointment for a made to measure suit.

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