How to Dress as a Modern Man

Man with blue formal suit and tie

With the mass amount of dress options men have, it has become very difficult for them to correctly style themselves. Let’s walk through some of the details of a man’s outfit to highlight what exactly needs to go where and what should be focused on.

The suit:

The pocket is not always just a functional piece of a suit. Flap pockets are considered stylish; the little pocket above the primary front pockets on the suit jacket is called a ticket pocket. It comes from British influence and is a great place for business cards. When it comes to the fit of the suit, it should contour to your body. Sleeves should be slim and tailored to form your figure, ending just above your wrists. Around half of an inch of your collared dress shirt should show past the jacket sleeve. The jacket should hug your shoulders. Nothing should be loose or baggy, a modern suit is meant to be slim. The lapels of a modern suit should be no wider than two inches at its widest point. To create a slimmer look, two buttons positioned low on the suit can help. These lower buttons should be buttoned. A back vent is okay; a jacket can have either a center vent, side vents, or (most often for tuxedos) be vent-less. Like the rest of the suit, the pants should be slim and have a flat front. They should touch the tops of your shoes and not bunch together.

Fabric:

A light colored linen is perfect for the summer as it is breathable. For the winter, heavy flannel is able to be worn. Wool is great for all seasons while cotton is great for every season but winter. Men have a lot of ‘fabric freedom.’ It’s important, however, to remember that colors are crucial to a successful styling. Typically, the brighter it is outside, the brighter the clothing should be. Bright colors are for the summer, earth tones are for the winter.

Timing:

For casual events like cocktail get-togethers, men can wear either a suit with a dress shirt and dress pants or a tuxedo jacket with a light-colored shirt and no tie. Fortunately, casual settings are pretty forgiving. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. For formal events, a suit with a nice shirt, tie, waistcoat and trousers works very well. Lighter colors should be worn in the daytime along with suit variants like blazers. Tuxedos are best for ultra-formal gatherings.

Ties, shoes, and pocket squares:

The tip of the tie should land at the top of your beltline. No lower, no higher. They should, obviously, match the fabric of the suit and shirt, the level of formality of the event, and the season. Bow ties are most often worn for formal events, although, in recent times, men have been increasingly wearing bright-colored bow ties casually. The bow tie should not be broader than your neck and should never extend past the tips of your shirt collar.

Pocket squares should be folded up to have a square, triangle, or flowering shape and should be placed in the high front pocket of the suit jacket. The more formal the event, the more elaborate the folding of the pocket square.

The shoes must match the belt. Wingtips and Derbys are best for casual outfits while Loafers and Oxfords are best for formal outfits.

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Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

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