Whether you’re dealing with a small budget or small luggage space, you may not have a lot of suits.
Luckily, that doesn’t mean you can’t look like you can. Because it’s such a basic figure in men’s fashion, suits don’t usually stand out, which means with some different accessory and shirt choices, you can transform a single suit into what appears to be several different ones.
Here are some basic things to know about changing the look of a suit:
Choose your suit color wisely
If you know that you can’t buy a lot of different suits, or can’t pack a lot of them with you when you travel, pick a suit or two in a basic, solid color. A black suit will blend in (even though its good fit will hopefully still catch appreciative glances), but an orange or boldly patterned suit will get noticed – and if you wear it again and again, that will get noticed, too. Other colors that will be less noticeable are dark grey or dark blue.
Two at least
If you really, really can only have one suit, that’s okay, we can work with that. But as you’ve read, it’s best to have at least two, so that you can alternate them and let each one have a “day off” to breathe and settle between wears. Shop around; lots of stores offer a range of suits at different prices. Also, you could try your luck at a vintage or used clothing store. But remember, the suit has to fit you properly and should be in excellent condition – there’s no point in investing in one if it’s already worn out.
Accessories are important
Simply wearing a different tie each day can go a long way towards making it seem like your suit is different. Pair different ties with different shirts, and that’ll go even farther. Or add pocket squares that match each tie in a surprising way, and you’ll get a feeling of novelty that will easily distract people from your suit. A lapel flower is another eye-catching, attention-diverting feature that can make people forget what you wore the day before.
Use your jacket
For some situations, like heading to a bar or club, you don’t have to wear your whole suit. Pair your jacket with a well-fitting pair of jeans, and add dress shoes, a button-down shirt, and a pocket square and/or bowtie for a fun but elegant casual dandy vibe.
With all this in mind, here’s how to work the same suit for different occasions. We’ll say our base is a black suit.
– Business: Wear the suit with a tie. You can try to be a little bold, depending on the vibe of the corporate culture, by wearing a colored shirt and adding an accessory like a pocket square or interesting socks to the mix. (Just be sure to read the chapters about these so you’ll have no problem matching everything together.)
– Formal occasion: For the ultimate formal occasion, of course, you’ll have to wear a tuxedo – and don’t worry, we’ll get to that a little later. But if an event isn’t white or black tie, make sure your suit looks clean and sleek. Wear a white button-down shirt, more conservative tie, and possibly an artfully matching pocket square or lapel flower.
– Night out: As I mentioned before, depending on the venue, you could use the jacket and accessories and dress it down with jeans. If that look doesn’t appeal to you, try wearing a black shirt and black tie, to give a “night life” feel. To add a quirky touch, you can add a white pocket square or a white pocket square with a black pattern, for contrast. And if you’re looking for another option, a black suit with white shirt and black skinny tie is a sophisticated, eye-catching combination.
Hopefully you’ve got some ideas now for how to make a small wardrobe seem a lot bigger. Now get out there and conquer the world with your apparent army of suits!