A suit is a piece that belongs in every man's wardrobe, but getting the right fit that works for your shape is the key to success.
Whether you are tall and slender or a shorter, stockier build, there's a right way to wear a suit that will accentuate all your strongest features while at the same time hiding any areas you're concerned about. There are a few things you need to know before you head off to the shops to get the perfect piece, and along with our friends at Arnotts Dublin, we've got a few tips on what you need to know.
Off the bat, you'll need to know what shape you are. Realistically, most men will fall in to a few broad categories, one of which we'll look at here: Tall and Lean. As with our previous look at the Athletic build, there are plenty of positives here, and picking the right suit will bring those to the forefront, making sure that the look you choose works for you.
As a taller man, your focus should be on proportion (something that holds true for the smaller man too), and that will come from focusing on the details. A two-button suit is a classic look that will always fit you, no matter your shape, but particularly if you happen to be tall. Three buttons can make you appear even taller, and while there's no reason for that to be a bad thing, the two-button is the one that will work equally as well in the office as it will at the bar.
For the majority of taller men, finding something that isn't too small is the real challenge, but the extra bit of effort put in to the search will pay off. You don't want to have half your arm hanging out the bottom of your cuffs, or the hem of your trouser leg being half way up your calf. Being tall is an advantage, and when it comes to dressing in a smart suit, you should look for pieces that have got that bit of room or can be adjusted to fit you snugly. Our friends at Arnotts have suiting experts on hand that can give you any advice you need when it comes to getting this right.
Make sure that your shirts are long, so that they don't pinch, but don't be afraid to spend some time finding the right one that doesn't gather at the waist. That over-sized look means that you end up lost in amongst a sea of cloth, when you should be front and center.
Here, Tall and Lean John is striking the perfect balance, and has a commanding presence in his fitted suit. A slightly wider lapel will add width across the torso that balances out the height, while choosing a timeless grey shade will work well for most men who are of a fair colouring. Although the current trend is for slim lapels, the ultra-modern trend of super-skinny is a hard one to pull off, so something a bit more traditional will not only ensure that you look great, but you'll get more wear out of your suit in the long run too.
As a taller man, avoid stark patterns like vertical stripes. While they aren't off the list entirely, they can serve to make you look even taller and slimmer, so a solid block broken up with splashes of colour from your shirt and your added layers will work much better.
For those with a lean build, layering will also help you to appear more in proportion, in particular across the chest and shoulders. If you're conscious about being slim, this will also help to bulk up your torso, but again it will be about the fit. Hiding behind lots of extra material will actually have the undesired effect of making you look awkward, the exact opposite of what you want to portray. It also allows you to ditch the coat for a bit of extra comfort, and add some variation to the suit with cardigans, a pullover or a waistcoat.
When it comes to accessories, wearing a belt can make you appear shorter, so if you're really tall it will help to break up the look, but be proud of your shape. Your height marks you out as a cut above, so make sure that your clothes do too: if your suit fits properly, then you won't actually need one either. Again, like with the lapels on the suit, steer clear of the overly skinny ties and go for something classic. You should get a good collection going that you can then match to your other layers, as John has here adding some dark reds and cranberry colours to his look.
Trouser length is a key concern, and if you feel that you need it, don't be afraid to find a tailor and have them cuff the hem of your suit trouser. Having them adjusted is important though, as you want to aim for one or, at a maximum, two kinks in the material when it rests on your shoe. This means that it won't ride up when you sit down, which is both uncomfortable and looks odd. If you leave them too long, then you once again get lost and end up looking like you've borrowed your dad's suit, no matter what age you are.
Top the piece off with some shoes to perfect the look, which can be brown or black, depending on what setting you intend on wearing the suit in. Black works well for more formal events, while brown will be a bit more relaxed for weddings or social occasions.
Suit by Gagliardi - €275
Shirt by Calvin Klein - €69.90
Cardigan by Gagliardi - €85
Tie by Gagliardi - €45
Shoes by Kurt Geiger - €110
John's look is available from Arnotts Dublin or on Arnotts.ie