Same Suit, Different Look: Simple Styling Tips for the Discerning Gent

Leonardo da Vinci once said that ‘simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication’ and who are we to argue with the OG Renaissance man? When it comes to sophisticated fashion, simplicity is, indeed, key.

A simple life is a happy life. Under no circumstance is this truer than when it comes to men’s fashion. But it wasn’t always that way. Throughout history, men’s fashion has been an extravagant affair, from frills and ruffs to pimped out jewellery — think of Henry VIII decked out in furs, jewels and patterns. We’re not saying he didn’t look regal in that get-up, but we do wonder how long it took him to get ready every morning. These days, who has time that kind of ornamental dressing?

Thankfully, everything changed in the 19th Century when Beau Brummel refined and adapted the dress suit. His vision was streamlined, simple and classic; a look that continues to endure today. Today, men’s fashion has been simplified by the old adage that you can never go wrong with a tailored suit. A suit can work in every situation and we’re going to show you how.

The Suit

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Every man needs a well-fitted tailored suit. It’s an investment — far from being something that you’ll wear once and forget about, a great suit is something that you can wear time and time again. When shopping for a suit that can fit any occasion, stick to neutral colours and a sharp fit. That’s your basics covered, but now it’s time to get creative.

Office Wear

The landscape of business has changed. Thanks to startup culture and companies like Facebook and Google, a formal suit is no longer the prevailing standard for office wear. But we still believe that a suit is the only way to go when it comes to work wear. Here’s why.

In the 20th century, studies found that certain clothes inspire confidence in a person’s ability. A policeman in uniform would command more respect than one in plain clothes. Ultimately, fashion informs our perception of intelligence, competence and trustworthiness. Wearing a suit in the workplace has the same effect: it shows that you mean business and that you’re ordered, professional and on point. Still not convinced? A more recent study found that when people wore clothes specific to the task they completed, they performed better. Donning a lab coat made people perform better in science tests, while an artist’s smock got the creative juices flowing. It seems not only do clothes change the perceptions of others, but they also change the way we perceive ourselves. When you dress like a boss, you feel like a boss.

Shiny, ill-fitting suits paired with garish ties have given the work suit a bad rap in recent years. To rock your work look, keep it stripped back and elegant. A tailored suit with a simple white button-down is a fashion fail-safe. Keep your tie simple — now isn’t the time for bold colours and flashy designs. Stick with a skinny black tie or a muted colour palette to give an air of classic sophistication that screams unflinching professionalism. For a stylish flair, add a good watch. Nothing says, ‘I’m a great timekeeper and efficient’ more than a classy, leather-strapped watch. When it comes to work, there’s just one rule: keep it simple — don’t peacock.

Keep workwear simple. Add a white button-down shirt, muted tie and classic watch to your tailored suit to give off the ultimate professional impression.

Date Night

Date night. If you’re in a relationship, it’s that one special night when you and your partner finally get some much needed ‘alone time’. If you’re single and dating, it’s your chance to pull out all the stops to impress the object of your affection. Whatever your relationship status, the same rule applies — when it comes to date night, you need to look your best.

We’ve all been there. Standing aimlessly in front of the wardrobe and debating what to wear, unable to settle on a look that’s just right. With a perfectly styled tailored suit, you no longer need to worry. Who knew it could be so easy?

If you’re wearing the same suit you wear to work, you don’t want to look like you’ve just dashed out from a meeting. Switching out your shirt is the easiest way to go from work to play, transforming your professional work look into one that epitomises date night sophistication. A mandarin collar is a great shout. Edgy and cool, a mandarin collared shirt allows you to forgo the tie for a more casual look. Match it with a pair of brogues and go sockless for the ultimate statement look.

Get date night fashion right. Switch out your white button-down for a fresh mandarin collar for an edgy evening vibe.  

Weekend Drinks

Who said a suit was only for formal occasions? Whether you’re popping round to a friend’s house for Sunday brunch, heading down to the pub for Saturday evening drinks or finally throwing that casual dinner party, a tailored suit is always a great choice.

Again, changing your shirt can make a huge statement. Swapping out a shirt for a more informal crew neck t-shirt or polo will revolutionise your summer look. For the colder months, keep warm and look good in a cashmere roll neck. Just keep the slogans simple and the fit tight. A tailored suit matched with a billowing waistline and baggy sleeves is one fashion blunder you don’t want to commit.

When it comes to casual wear, don’t be afraid to get creative. Who said you even have to wear a full suit? If the vibe is chilled, match your suit jacket with a pair of fitted jeans or chinos. This will instantly elevate your look, so you can look sharp while enjoying downtime with the boys. If you want to take your look up a notch, try adding accessories. A pair of sunglasses or a newsboy hat makes a fashion statement and is the perfect way to transition into weekend fashion.

For a more informal look, switch out your collared shirt for a t-shirt or roll neck. Rock your suit jacket with jeans or chinos and don’t forget the sunnies!

Formal Affairs

Whether it’s an important work party, an awards ceremony or a wedding, a formal event is our only opportunity to really dress to the nines. While we might not often get the chance, we know what we’ll be wearing when we do. In case you couldn’t already guess, it’s a tailored suit. Nothing says formal wear like a sharply fitted and tailored three-piece. All it takes is a little creativity in your styling to transform your fail-safe into a showstopper.

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To elevate your suit, add a pocket square and tie. While normally we’d recommend sticking to one or the other, this is a special occasion. The combination of pocket square and tie adds a splash of colour and character to your outfit, so don’t be afraid to go bold. There’s just one rule here: keep it coordinated. Mismatched colours aren’t a great look.

A formal affair also gives you the opportunity to rock those cufflinks that you got a few Christmases ago. A stylish alternative to buttons, cufflinks add a flair to any outfit. Because they’re available in countless shapes, styles and materials, you can channel your inner debonair gentleman and really add some personality to your look.

To show off your tailored suit in a formal setting, add a waistcoat, cufflinks, tie and pocket square. Don’t be afraid to get creative and be bold.

Simple and versatile fashion takes away the stress of not knowing what looks good. With a high-quality tailored suit, not only will you always look your best, but you’ll never be stuck over what to wear ever again.

Anthony Horner is the director of Empire Outlet, a luxury menswear company that provides high-quality suits and accessories at a price that doesn’t break the bank. Empire Outlet operates online and serves customers all over the world.

Rohit Raina

Rohit Raina

A writer by chance and leisurely on his way to become a writer by choice, Rohit is either ranting his ire out or talking about the most irrelevant stuff around.
Rohit Raina
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