If you’ve read the first part of this post, you know your suit needs a little army of compact accessories that make it go from bland to sharp. It’s imperative that you get the basics right yes, but it’s the differentiators that will make you shine in a crowd.
Tie : You’d think the tie would be a part of basics and it is, to begin with but that’s that. A tie makes or breaks your suit. It’s the focal point of your attire, nestled right below your pretty face.
As with other accessories, exercise restraint and keep your tie subtle when dressing for formal and dignified gatherings. Your clothes should gel with your dominant personality at the time.
At other times, like with your socks, play with a multitude of colors and patterns while choosing a tie. There’s only so much with which men can get creative while getting dressed up. Use it to your advantage to stand out.
A few things –
– if you are heavy set, avoid slim ties
– generally, match the width of your tie with the width of your lapel (jacket collar)
– single knot for slim ties. Use your discretion for wide ones
– your tie should just about graze the buckle of your belt
– dark suit : light shirt, dark tie
– light suit : dark shirt, light tie
– silk ties are classic. Rest are all passing trends (like knit ties). Nothing except silk ties for formal occasions
– keep the color of your tie in sync with the color scheme of your other accessories (socks, pocket chief) and complimentary to the color of your suit. Some safe combinations in varying shades are grey and yellow, navy and pink, navy and brown, brown and purple, beige and orange.. you get the drift.
– play with patterns! Paisley, polka, stripes, floral (yes floral), geometric.. they are all your friends. Stay away from juvenile prints like cartoons etc.
Rest assured, this is another one of those passing “trends” but that does not undermine the sophistication that is the bow tie. We’re all for Gatsby-esque fashion and have bouts of depression over not having been lived in the era that was very much defined by bow ties and double-breasted suits.
Ascot/Cravat : There is something so divinely regal about ascots but here we are, seeing less and less of this beautiful little piece of fabric.
No guys, it does not make you look old or stuffy. Embrace the ascot because it makes you look distinguished, sophisticated and displays good taste.
Stick to dark colors and pick patterns over solids for maximum impact.
Tie clip : Completely optional, mostly decorative. Wear a tie-clip when you need to keep the rest of your suit muted. Which means as with cufflinks, they are perfect for the boardroom.
Cufflinks : Wear cufflinks as much as you can and at every opportunity you get. Not just with suits and not just with French cuffs. Normal cuffs also come with a provisioned slit to accommodate cufflinks, if you so choose to.
Match the metal of your cufflinks with the metal of your watch/ tie-clip/ belt.
Lapel pins : There’s a lot to lapel pins beyond displaying organizational affiliations and professional achievements. Worn on the lapel of your suit’s jacket, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a customary flower. In fact, a flower on the lapel outside of black-tie events looks out of place.
Pocket square : should be worn squared and neat at business meetings, in non-flashy colors (white being the safest).
Your pocket-chief shouldn’t match your tie, but compliment it. Keep their patterns different, while noting that they have one color in common with each other out of their respective combinations.
Scarf : a long scarf thrown around your neck on a suit looks exceptional in the cold of winter. Avoid flashy pattern and bold colors in this case and keep it simple and minimalistic. Think black, brown, navy, maroon and charcoal gray.
Parting Note: Never wear more than five accessories at the same time.