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Men’s Suiting for the Holidays

Women are not the only ones who worry about what to wear during the holidays. Come Christmastime, there are some men who grapple with the same issues.

With all the company parties, friendly gatherings, and family functions, there will come a point when you have to dress formally or business casual for the occasion. When that occasion arises, the go-to ensemble will be the suit. A classic three-piece suit can be worn as an entire ensemble or broken apart to wear separately. Debonair and well-dressed, Clay Currier works as a lead process chemical engineer, which is a profession typically associated with logic, not fashion. However, Currier breaks the mold. Wearing a three-piece suit, Currier said that he chose this design for its versatility.

“I like the three-piece suit because you can take off the jacket and still look well-dressed,” he said. “You won’t be left with just a shirt and tie.”

He explained that once graduating college, he begin to pay more attention to menswear styles in order to appear professional in the workplace and company functions. Currier believes a suit is an item of clothing that every man should invest.

Where to Begin

Currier advises men looking to purchase a suit to find a store that specializes in menswear suiting. “Good tailoring makes a good suit,” he said.

There is no perfect suit. Guys, you must try on the suit in the fitting room to determine fit. Even more, a tailor can alter the fit, but you must choose the correct style.

When choosing a suit, the first question to ask is, ‘What type of occasions will you wear it?’

Currier explains: “When buying a suit, you should know what you are buying it for. What is its functionality? Then you can choose the color.”

Click to expand
Click to expand

Beginning in the 1950s, the era of the gray flannel suit rose to popularity. Since then, charcoal gray still remains a classic color choice. The charcoal gray suit is more professional and provides more flexibility. Navy comes in a close second. Made popular by Michael Douglas playing the role of Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, navy also became associated with power in the workplace. Navy is the middle ground between stark black and charcoal grey. Brown is typically never a great color unless you want to resemble a deliveryman’s uniform. Black is also a traditional color but is also associated with somber occasions.

Jacket Shoulders and Length

 The jacket shoulders are typically not an easy fix for a tailor. So, it is important to choose the correct jacket size. Most men tend to overestimate their shoulder size so if the department store offers, get measured. Make sure the shoulder seam hits right at the outside of your actual shoulder. The jacket should lie smoothly on the shoulders without creasing. When examining jacket length, the main rule is that the length should be long enough to cover the curvature of the backside while giving the legs a long line.

Lapels, Sleeve Length, and Waist Buttons 

The jacket lapels are another suiting detail that cannot be tailored. The lapels should lay flat against your chest without bulging.

Sleeve length can be easily tailored. Still, the jacket sleeve should be full at the top and taper down to the wrist. The sleeve should also show a half-inch of the shirt cuff, and not envelop the hand.

The buttons on a jacket are easily tailored and come in three traditional styles: one-button, two-button, and three-button. Suiting buttons should not be too raised because it can shorten the torso and lowering the buttons can elongate the torso. Even more, the buttons should not pull but show just slight tension when fastened.

Minor details to look for in a jacket fit are that it drapes smoothly with no pulling or excess fabric, and back vents should also hang straight.

Suit Trousers

Suiting trousers should button and fit at your natural waist. They should not hang or sag below the waist exposing any undergarments. Trousers have two traditional styles: pleated or flat-front. I prefer flat-front trousers for the sleek appearance. However, some men do prefer the traditional pleated-front for the comfort, longer rise, and fuller fit. To determine proper fit, look at the pockets. The trouser pockets should not pull open but lay flat.

The trouser break, or hem should barely graze the front of the shoe and must be long enough to cover the sock as you walk. The break can be easily tailored and some department stores will hem the pants for free while in store when purchasing.

There are many more rules that come with purchasing a properly fitting suit; however, Currier notes it’s the detail that can make a suit fashionable. The basic components of menswear haven’t changed: jacket, vest, trousers, and shirt. It is the details that add the extra touch.

“It’s about the watch, the shoes, the colors, the patterns,” he said. “Sometimes I change out my shoelaces on certain shoes to make sure they match,” he said, raising his trousers to reveal dark-hued rose color socks. “I thought the color looked nice with navy.”

So, if you want to add your own style to a basic suit at any holiday gathering, follow Currier’s advice and choose a unique dress shirt, necktie, tie clip, cuff link, or even pocket handkerchief to stand out as the best-dressed man at any holiday event.


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