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1 Suit, 3 Ways to Wear It

A suit can be a significant investment, but with the right style moves you’ll get the most out of it at the office.

By: HARRY ROSEN EDITORSDate: 2019-09-17

You just bought your new favourite suit. Now, let’s show you how to maximize your investment. When the suit came to prominence in the early 1800s, there was only one way to wear it: in full, with a collared shirt (even if the collar was detachable), full-length trousers and a carefully knotted necktie. This is still how suits are thought of. But today, there are a multitude of methods in suit dressing. One suit can become many by deploying a few key style moves that can open you to some next-level style opportunities.

Just remember, you won’t get away with this in a loud suit - only a neutral tone will allow you to present different looks with those around you none the wiser. Make it grey or navy blue. More specifically, something soft-shouldered, singled-breasted and in medium-weight, four-season wool will allow for the most versatility and outfit options.

We’ve used Canali’s popular "Kei" suit which features a deconstructed jacket with a soft shoulderline that gently moulds to the body along with lightweight streamlined trousers.

Change It Up

How do you take your suit look down a notch while still looking business appropriate? It needs to be the right suit with the right shirt. Choose a shirt with more pattern and add a pocket square to complete the look. Changing out one blue poplin shirt for another blue poplin shirt won’t cut it. Mix in a floral, a Bengal stripe, a plaid—and while you’re at it, changing the texture will help you keep things interesting—a cotton slub on Tuesday to a piqué on Wednesday will alter the character of your suit.

Accessories: Small Details, A Big Difference

The right accessories will not only make the same suit look different, they’re also the best opportunity to show your individuality. An expressive tie, for example, will let those around you know they’re not dealing with a square, but someone with an edge. The same goes for socks and pocket squares—these are inexpensive items that will add variety to your wardrobe.

Break It Up

A sportier take on a suit look. A suit with a more natural shoulder allows for a more casual coordination with a cotton pique knit. Pair it with a loafer or sportier shoe and you are still appropriate for many professional situations.

Breaking up your suit and wearing it as separates will not only give it a new look, it will also give your pants a rest (jackets tend to stay fresher longer). But a suit jacket with jeans? A little gauche, no? Only if you’re not wearing the right jacket. A few of our designers have created suit jackets of just the right weight and fabric to make it work. Here we’ve paired Canali’s “Kei” jacket with slim dark denim and an elegant cardigan for that extra element of Italian style. This bit of clever layering eschews the need for an overcoat (you want to show off the suit jacket after all).

Canali’s "Kei” jacket, ZEGNA “Packaway” suit and key styles from Atelier Munro are all beautiful options when it comes to pulling off this type of look.

Skip the Shirt

We don’t mean go to the full Fabio and bare your chest, but in these modern sartorial times, there’s no rule saying you absolutely must wear a collared button-up shirt with your suit. Kick things into a more casual mode of dress with a tasteful crewneck sweater, a knitted polo or even a T-shirt of a heavier weight. The same suit you wore with a suit and tie one day will make you look (and most importantly feel) much different when dressed down a touch. Feel free to team it with a sporty yet smart pair of sneakers or dress boots and you will still be appropriate for most professional situations.

Wear your suit outside of the boardroom. Add a crisp white tee and a pair of sneakers for a confident weekend look.