The suit is the foundation of an outfit for any semi-formal event, like a job interview or a wedding. Get a single breasted suit with two or three buttons (double breasted is more formal and should only be purchased after getting the basics). Always get solid colors and subtle patterns - a navy blue suit can double as a navy blazer, but charcoal gray is also a good option. As far as fabric, three-season wool will keep you warm in the colder months and cool in the warmer months and works for almost any occasion.
Tips for wearing: Don't button the bottom button, only the top one or two buttons. To avoud bulging pockets, leave the pockets sewn shut. About a half of an inch of your shirt cuff should extend past the cuff of your jacket at arms rest.
The blazer is a versatile and classic element for a dress wardrobe - it can be dressed up or down for any occassion. A navy suit jacket can double as a navy blazer. The sport coat and the blazer serve the same function; the difference is that blazers come in solid colors and sport coats come in patterns. Remember, stick with dark solid colors or subtle patterns for starters. Like the suit jacket, the blazer or sport coat is best in a medium-weight wool and with two or three buttons.
Tips for wearing: The blazer or sport coat can be dressed up with a tie and wool dress pants. It can be dressed down with khakis or jeans and a sport or polo shirt. A white pocket square will add a classy touch to any blazer situation.
Dress pants are useful for any situation. They are best worn with your blazer or sport coat. Suit pants should be worn only with the suit jacket they match - pants wear out quicker than jackets. Dark charcoal is a subtle and versatile color that will match almost any blazer or sport coat. Wool gabardine is an indestructive fabric and standard for any dress wardrobe. For the colder months, wool flannel pants are thicker and warmer yet soft.
Tips for wearing: The choice whether or not to get pleated or flat front is strickly personal. One should remember, however, to only cuff the hems on pleated pants not on flat front pants. The hem should bend a little on the top of the foot and fall longer at the heel. Belts: one should always wear a belt. Black lether is very versatile, but the belt should always match your shoes.
The shirt is a simple aspect of the dress wardrobe. White is a great begining color, blue is second best. Get a spread collar that does not button down and is wide between the points of the collar.
Tips for wearing:Always wear a blank undershirt to prevent showing perspiration. Don't wear a button down collar with a suit and stick with button cuffs. Shirts are measured according to neck size and sleeve length.
The tie brings the whole outfit together. For business situations, a medium-width tie in a solid color and subtle (if any) pattern is best. For social events, more bold and creative ties (of which there are many!) are appropriate. Medium width (3.5" across the widest part) will fit with the largest variety of shirts. Skinny or wide ties will require different shirts.
Tips for wearing: The very tip of the tie should sit right before the belt.
© Finethreadsnmore JKMason, 2008