5 Keys to Wearing Casual Suits
Master the Casual Suit
Casual suit sounds like an oxymoron, but you know it’s possible. You’ve seen pictures of the most dapper dudes in the world rocking the look. And now you want to join their ranks.
Maybe you’ve got a business casual office, or maybe you’re looking to step up your weekend/evening gear in order to properly fit in at that swanky bar.
Whatever the reason, it’s time you mastered the look. So many guys get it wrong but, with a few key pieces and a little bit of know-how, it’s not that complicated.
Here are the essential tools stylish men use to put together casual suit outfits.
Essential #1: An expertly tailored suit
To pull off the look, you need—you guessed it—a casual suit. But just because it’s relaxed doesn’t mean it should fit you like a sack of potatoes. A casual suit should still be a well-tailored suit.
All of the suits featured here are made to measure exactly to the model’s dimensions. As you can see, he can move comfortably and freely.
There are a few routes to a well-tailored suit. You could go to a alterations tailor and get an off-the-rack suit altered to fit you better than it did in the store.
Set your expectations properly, though. Even the best tailor in the world is no magician. Taking an off-the-rack suit and altering it can yield a pretty good result, but to get a truly perfect looking fit, making the suit to your exact measurements is the way to go.
Everyone’s body is different but, with a full set of measurements, you can get an expertly tailored suit to fit your unique size and shape and make you look amazing.
Essential #2: A dressy polo shirt
A dressy polo shirt has a bit of sheen to it, partially from the weave, and partially from the fabric. A dressy polo shirt does not have a big logo on it. A dressy polo shirt has a collar that lays flat.
A polo shirt that fits will always look more dressy than one that doesn’t. Try to hit the sweet spot of fit. It should not be so tight that it constricts your chest, but not so loose that you have any fabric flapping around your biceps. It should also fit your height so that in a test of your flexibility, a 90-degree upper body twist will not untuck your shirt.
Capture the accent color of a suit for a relaxed, put-together look, like we did by using this red polo shirt to enhance the hint of red in these Clarkson suit pants.
Of course, to tuck a polo shirt in or not is a common concern. If you are just wearing the pants, like the photo above, then untucked is fine. But when the jacket is part of the outfit, tucking is preferable. That way the shirt doesn’t appear below the closed button of the jacket and you present a cleaner look.
Essential #3: A pair of athleisure sneakers
At this point, you’re well aware of the fact that sneakers are a great way to take the formality down on a suit. But there’s a good and a bad way to pull this off. You know those basketball shoes with all the bells and whistles? They’re way too busy looking for wearing with your suits.
For sneaking around in the summer, socks are optional. But if you do ditch the socks and decide to bare the ankles, be sure to follow our advice and avoid the dreaded sneaker stink.
Instead, go for simple, sneakers. No big logos. No more than one color. No scuffs. By rocking this look you’re officially getting into athleisure, that means those grass stained shoes you played touch football in on Saturday afternoon are not appropriate for wearing with a suit on Saturday night.
Essential #4: A pair of neutral chinos
Chinos are a summer staple and easily one of the most useful, timeless elements of a man’s wardrobe. Pairing them with a casual suit jacket can make for a classic, yet stylish, laid-back look.
In the summer Casual Friday is often Getaway Day. And what says, “in my mind, I’m already at the beach” like a pair of off-white chinos?.
Just as with the shoes, less is more when it comes to chinos color. While we love a pair of boldly hued chinos as an alternative to khakis with a T-shirt, when you’re wearing a suit jacket, stick to a more subdued color palette for the pants for simple matching.
Essential #5: A pocket square
Yup, even when you wear a jacket casually, fill that pocket. Why? By now you’ve probably heard that symmetry isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when it comes to attractiveness. This is true, not just of your face, but of your clothes as well. A little asymmetry in your appearance, created by putting a pocket square in your pocket so that the left and right sides of your chest aren’t the same, keeps things interesting.
Especially when your version of an outfit includes a dress shirt and dress shoes, a pocket square is a crucial element in finishing off the look.
Just as a white dress shirt is the most formal, a white pocket square can be too formal for a casual outfit. Opt for a patterned or colored square. And now’s the time to experiment with rougher fabrics like cotton and linen blend pocket squares. These might be a little too rugged with a silk tie and shirt but, perfect for your chilled-out looks.
If you follow all of the above advice, your outfits will certainly get some dap from us. Are you missing the key piece to get these looks? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Check out the casual suits from Black Lapel below.
Your Next Move:
Like What You See? There's More.
We'll send you style advice and intel for the modern man.