Best Suited to the Occasion

Suits for Any Style

When suits come to mind, you think suave, you think elegant, you think GQ. To many, they are conventionally formal and poo poo the idea of ever needing one in their closet. I’m here to tell you that every man should have at least one in their closet (although I recommend two or three for diversity). Suits come in all shapes and sizes and are more versatile than you think. I’m going to give you some insight into the different ways to wear a suit and demonstrate that there’s a suit for any occasion. Just as there’s more than one way to skin a cat… well, you get the idea. 



The Business Man

Suits are the epitome of business wear. The main characteristics of formal suits are structured cuts, double-breasted coats and slimmer, peak lapels. Fabrics such as wool or silk are go-tos for their sophisticated appearance and breathability. Cashmere or velvet are great alternatives if you like to make a statement. It’s crucial to have a neutral color, like navy, black, or gray. This way, you can set the stage for the rest of the outfit. You can pair them with a solid white button-down to maintain a classic image. You can also use them as a blank canvas to experiment with colors and patterns. A 3-piece suit is perfect for men who love the European or vintage style. Details make all the difference, as you can add a necktie, pocket square, or cuff links to elevate the look. Buttons are also a factor, as pearl or tortoise shell produce a classier image than plastic. Leather dress shoes are a must. Even if you don’t need a suit like this for work, it’s good to keep one on hand for special occasions. 



The Business Casual Man

You don’t wear a full suit to work, so you’re not in need of anything too fancy. On the other hand, you want to look put-together, but you’re not quite sure how. Luckily, there is a middle ground. An important difference between business and business casual is comfortability. Unstructured forms, single-breasted coats, and notch lapels are preferred. Cotton is a commonly used fabric that doesn’t lend itself to formal or casual. It isn’t merely about the suit itself, but how you style it. You can choose a cashmere suit and still give it a laid-back feel. Instead of using a dress shirt, wear a button-down or a polo. Layer the blazer over a sweater and collared shirt, leaving the coat unbuttoned and the shirt collar open. Turtlenecks always produce a refined effect. Consider mix and matching different suit sets. Pairing darker blazers with lighter colored slacks puts you apart from the rest without making you stand out. Footwear options are endless, depending on which direction you’d like your wardrobe to go. Chukka or chelsea boots and hybrid shoes are great options for any occasion. Accessories can bridge the gap between between relaxed and refined. Scarves and hats are major players since their style range is so vast.



The Casual Man

You think there’s no reason for you to have a suit and the thought of it is tiring. There’s a lot of upkeep and you’re really not one to overdress. Instead of thinking of it as formal attire, see it as an opportunity for creativity. The best thing about fashion is that you can show your personality! There are no rules for weekend clothing, so there’s room to explore silhouettes, fabrics, and accessories. Unstructured jackets and classic fits are favored. This leaves space for thicker layers, such as hoodies for a smart athletic look. Slim fits are still acceptable and are best worn with a tee shirt, whether it be a Crew neck, v neck, or henley. Aside from cotton, linen and seersucker are traditionally used in the warmer months. It’s fun to incorporate different patterns, like pinstripe or plaid. Try using the suit pieces separately. Nothing is more stylish than a blazer with a tee and jeans. Alternatively, wear a fitted tee with a pair of slacks for a trendy day-to-day outfit. Finish a casual suit with a pair of sneakers. Keep the style clean and simple, as you want the attention to remain on the suit. Ball caps and beanies are unlikely complements. 

As in life, a suit is what you make of it. No matter what your style is, there’s a suit to match. You can take the timeless Daniel Craig route or be bold and go straight Steve Harvey. You can’t go wrong!


Mauve Michele
Stately stylist, writer, and designer based in Los Angeles, CA