What To Wear With A Suit and Tuxedo: Beyond The Shirt and Tie

It's a picture-perfect day outside. Birds are chirping, the air is a balmy 73 degrees, your best friend is getting married, you're all nice and cleaned up in your custom suit, and the church where the ceremony is being held—despite being constructed in the 1850s—isn't sweltering hot like it was last year when your older brother tied the knot. But something doesn't seem right. Something is amiss and you can't quite figure out what it is. Your suit is pristinely tailored to fit your body, your socks actually match this time, and there doesn't seem to be any loose fabric hanging off your crisp white button-down shirt. But you put on your tie in a bit of a rush, one of your cufflinks fell out on the way to the ceremony, and you decided to go with a pocket square at the last minute that is strikingly reminiscent of a diner tablecloth. Later at the reception people comment on how much you stand out, but it's perhaps not in the way you envisioned. When it comes to looking stylish in a suit, the devil is almost always in the details, and by following some of our pointers you'll be able to shine through in a crowd without having to commit any fashion faux pas to do so.

Wristwatches

In 2007, Apple released its iconic iPhone, which changed the way we communicate with each other forever. Checking stocks, looking at the weather, sending e-mails, and watching video clips no longer required a computer. One less noticeable side effect of the phone's release was a marked decline in the popularity of the wristwatch, which up to that point was a near-universal style staple due to its simplicity and utility. The next time you go out to a restaurant or walk into work, take notice of how many people are actually wearing a wristwatch. Wearing one has become a bit of an anomaly, and it may be that only 10 to 15 percent of the people around you are actually sporting one. By pairing something as simple as a wristwatch with your suit or tuxedo, you will be sure to make your presence known without going overboard or making loud style statements. A simple wristwatch with a leather or metal band can go a long way in bringing out your own personal style, and you'll be able to know what time it is without awkwardly fumbling your phone out of your pocket every 30 minutes.

Tie Clips

Just like wristwatches, tie clips are also stylish yet utilitarian. Not only do they add a perfect accent to your ensemble, but they also keep your tie from flapping around in the wind or inadvertently getting too close to your second-course soup. Tie patterns can always add a bit of flair to your outfit, but you don't want them coming from what's on your plate. A tie clip will keep your tie nice and centered throughout the day and will reduce the chance for any mishaps at the dinner table. When it comes to the size of a tie clip, thinner and narrower are usually preferred. You want people to notice the tie first before their eyes catch your tie clip, not the other way around. For colors and finishes, black is always a classic and matches with almost anything, but grey, chrome, silver, or even gold will add a nice touch just as well. If you do opt for a tie clip with any sort of pattern, we recommend something that is subtle and tightly woven together. As the old saying goes, less is oftentimes more.

Belt Or Braces?

You will never come across universal opinions on this. Plenty of information—both good and bad—on this subject abounds. As a general rule, it is best to go with either a belt or braces, but never both. If your suit pants have belt loops on them, then logic would tell you that it is best to go with a belt. If belt loops are absent on your trousers or you are wearing a tuxedo, braces—or suspenders as they are more commonly called—are the preferred accessories. During the early part of the 20th century, the belt gained more popularity and gradually replaced suspenders as the standard choice for keeping one's pants from falling down. But in recent years, suspenders are making a bit of a comeback. And of course we're talking about suspenders that button into the pants with leather fasteners, not the suspenders that use clips, which can become unhinged at even the slightest of arm movements.

Nowadays, it is becoming more common for people wearing tuxedos to forego the traditional cummerbund and waistcoat in favor of a more minimalist and less fussy look; even sans vest or cummerbund, a nice pair of suspenders still add a classic touch to black-tie attire, and this style choice will also ensure that your pants stay up on the dance floor.

As far as belts go, it is generally good advice to make sure that they at least match the color of your shoes. Opinions vary on this as well, but it is almost always universally accepted to never wear a black belt with brown shoes and vice versa. The human eye is keenly aware of this color contrast, and the more symmetrical your suit is the better you will appear in it.

 

Cufflinks and Studs

If you've ever put on a tuxedo, you are most certainly familiar with the tendency for studs and cufflinks to randomly get lost, and this could be from dancing at a wedding for hours or simply taking a stride too quickly to walk to the other end of the reception hall. This is especially common with tuxedo rentals that have been put through quite a bit of mileage, as shirt buttonholes tend to become loosened over time and with continued use. Many studs and cufflinks can also be very delicate and have problems with their fasteners and hinges, which make them more prone to falling out from even the slightest disturbance. With a good pair of studs and cufflinks, you are less likely to experience these issues, as more rigid fasteners and robust hinges will keep them in place for your entire evening outing. While both of these are standard hardware for tuxedos, cufflinks can also provide an eye-catching fashion statement for suits. No matter the style of cufflinks and studs you decide to choose, the unspoken rule is that they should always match each other, and as most of them are sold in sets together you won't need to worry too much about cufflinks or studs looking out of place.

Lapel Pins

This is always a tricky and contentious one. As far as most occasions go, lapel pins should be used sparingly unless the event you are attending specifically calls for it. When it comes to lapel pins, it's all about context. While an American flag lapel pin, for example, is perfectly appropriate for political fundraisers that require a suit and tie, it is generally not encouraged to wear one with a tuxedo. Many different lapel pins of all shapes and colors are available, and sometimes they can add a finishing touch for even the most formal occasions. But it is certainly not a necessity and you will do just fine without one. If you are feeling brave enough to try one out, keep in mind that subtlety is the key component. A lapel pin should be noticeable when you are in close proximity to someone, such as during a conversation or sitting next to them at the same table. If someone can see the finer details of your lapel pin from across the room, it might be wise to tone it down just a little bit next time.

Pocket Squares

This is where most people stumble. Pocket squares are a great addition to any suit or tuxedo, and when done correctly and tastefully you'll be more dashing than James Bond after a secret mission in the Swiss Alps. But if you have ever been to any formal event, it is easy to notice how many people get it wrong. There is great variety in the ways in which a pocket square can be styled, and no matter how it is folded, it should always be neat and clean, not sloppy or drooping down. First and foremost, if you're looking to project a simple and minimalistic style, the easiest thing to do is to match your pocket square with your shirt; attempting to match it with your tie will more often than not throw your suit's color contrasts off in a noticeable way. The most common shirt color for people to wear with a suit or tuxedo is going to be white, and the addition of a white pocket square will render your outfit extra sharp. Patterns are OK, too, but just make sure that they aren't too loud or deviate too much from the colors visible on the rest of your outfit. In terms of pocket square placement, the corners facing up creating a visible half diamond is a good start, but more intricate folds can accentuate your suit or tuxedo on an even more sophisticated level. Really, it all comes down to what you are comfortable wearing. Pocket squares, tie clips, and cufflinks won't compensate for a suit that is too tight, too baggy, or uneven in the shoulders.


Which brings us to the most important element of your ensemble...

The Suit Itself

Most of us have probably had a point in our lives where we had to rush out at the last minute to purchase a suit directly off the rack for a formal or cocktail event the very next day, only to find that shoulders might have been too tight or the pants didn't quite fit exactly right. Sometimes we get lucky and find one that fits with no issues at all, especially since suits purchased at a department store are designed to more or less fit a wide variety of dimensions. But each person, even if their body types are similar, will still have slight variations that can make a difference between a suit that looks good and a suit that looks spectacular. This is where Enzo Custom comes into play. Here at Enzo Custom, we will make sure that your custom suit fits your dimensions with absolute perfection, leaving no seam or stitch unaccounted for. A suit designed just for you will make any additions or accessories you decide to pair with it stand out that much more prominently, ensuring that your presence at any event will leave a lasting impression.


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