Sam Wines knows a lot about suits. As a model and editor of fashion blog Man of Style, it’s his job. He might have a science and commerce degree, but it doesn’t mean he slacks on slacks.
“I have got quite a lot of iconic fashion books I reference or read to understand the technicalities and formalities of suits and styling in general,” says Wines. Regularly fitting between his hometown Melbourne and Sydney, Wines is a sought after fashion enthusiast not often seen without a suit.
So with the arrival of the warmer months ushering in the busiest time of year for events, we asked Wines for tips on how to make your suit look its best, whatever the occasion.
Fit is king
Colours, styles, features, brands – none of it matters if a suit doesn’t fit correctly. “Fit really does reign supreme when it comes to suiting,” says Wines. “It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a $6000 cashmere silk blend or a $100 suit, getting the fit right is the number one thing.”
Wines says it should sit tight on the shoulders. Keep it slim through the sleeves, contoured through the waist and have the cuffs stop at the break of the wrist to leave a centimetre or two for the shirt to show through.
Wines says this last tip is a functional rule as much as it is aesthetic. “It means the wear and tear is passed onto the shirt rather than the suit,” he says. The pants should also be tapered and finish at the top of your shoes “unless you’re an 80-year-old granddad.”
If you struggle to find a suit that fits perfectly off the rack, there’s a range of alteration options available – from in-house stores to standalone boutique tailors. Some stores like M.J. Bale have made-to-measure services and on-location tailoring. “There’s a plethora of options around,” says Wines. “They’ll simply take all your measurements and make it fit perfectly.”
Tie it up
Yes, you will need a tie. And know how to tie it. If in doubt, go with a simple four-in-hand knot. Just make sure it reaches the waistband of your trousers. “There’s nothing worse than a tie being half way up someone’s shirt. It should cover the full placket [buttons].” In terms of colour, it should always be darker than your shirt. With one exception – if you’re going for an overall tonal look.
That breast pocket might look unassuming on the rack, but in practice it’s an opportunity for personal flair. “Most people know you should wear a tie but many neglect the pocket square which is equally as important,” says Wines. “Even if you’re not game on mixing and matching colours, a crisp white pocket square is a safe bet. It literally goes with everything and elevates your look.”
There may be only a few buttons on a suit but they can have different purposes – fashion or function. For example Wines says on a two button suit, the bottom button should “never ever be done up.” The same goes for waistcoats. But when it comes to the double-breasted suit, button up the top and leave the bottom free.
Wines says for those wanting to cap off their ensemble, a small accessory like a tie-clip can do the trick. “Almost all of men’s fashion comes from a utilitarian perspective,” he says. Originally to keep your tie in place, it’s now a visually attractive addition in its own right. Affix one on your tie at chest height and make sure it’s shorter than the tie’s width.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with M.J. Bale.