How I Choose a Suit Outfit
by John Phillips
I work at a job where I rarely (read: never) have to dress up. Everyday is casual Friday for me. So when I get the opportunity to suit up, which is mostly for wedding, I go all in. My goal is the be the best dressed person in the room. And since I have an upcoming wedding, this is my approach to what I’m going to wear…
Choosing a base color
I like to start with color. I have 3 suits: tan, gray, and black (that never gets worn). Right off the bat, I need to choose a color that compliments the tan or gray. Since I was leaning more towards wearing the tan suit, I chose red as the color that I wanted to work with. Given the right shade, the color highlights very well with the tan suit as the back drop. With red chosen, I now have a good direction to put the pieces together.
The focal point: my tie
Next up was the tie. This is what people will see first, so I wanted something vibrant, and a little different. I’m always partial to patterns/textures over solid colors, so I wanted a pattern that didn’t clash with the shade of red I was leaning towards.
I landed on this knit polka dot tie from The Tie Bar. The polka dots added just enough detail to pair with the knit texture and color to not be too busy. Though I was skeptical on if it would be *too* bold, putting it next to the tan suit looked great.
Base layer: the dress shirt
Now that my focal point was selected, I needed a dress shirt to compliment the tie. Since I love pattern mixing, a solid color shirt was quickly ruled out. I wanted something subtle that didn’t compete too much with the boldness of the tie.
I found the perfect red/blue checked shirt from Banana Republic. It was just enough pattern to not be too attention grabbing, but yet add more visual appeal to the overall outfit.
Adding the details: pocket square, tie bar, and socks
Now that I had the main parts taken care of, it was time to add in the details, which is my favorite part. Starting with the pocket square, I wanted something to take from the color of my tie, but not too heavy on the eyes. That’s when I found Lovely Lapels. I was able to do a custom order to match the color of my tie and add the button onto the pocket square. The button detail sold me on it instantly.
For a tie bar, I needed something slim, since the tie itself was pretty slim. The silver tie bar I already own wasn’t working for it. It didn’t feel a part of the outfit. So I got this small white one from The Tie Bar. It blends in very nicely with the white polka dots of the tie, and still does it’s job of keeping my tie where it needs to be.
I kept the color scheme alive for my socks as well, wearing red with white-ish stripes tucked inside a pair of brown dress shoes. These items helped to seal off the total outfit.
Putting it all together
I’m very pleased with how it all turned out. My main goal was just to have all the pieces working together and not clash.
There are a lot of pieces to this outfit, and it can be overwhelming when trying to put it all together. The best thing to do is have a starting point. That may be a color you want to wear, or a specific tie that you found. Once you have that starting point, work your way out from there on what fits with the overall outfit.