Suit Saturday: Wearing a Suit Without Wearing a “Suit”


Last night I was at dinner with some friends, and one of them asked me what exactly constituted the proper attire for going out. I guess many guys think they simply have to pair suit jackets with some oddly striped shirt that they untuck so that they look “more casual” (ps. don’t ever wear a shirt with that many stripes).

Whatever you want to wear to “go out” should be appropriate to A: wear you’re going and B: the weather. If you choose to wear a suit, go full out suit and don’t be embarrassed to do so, you’ll stand out (in a good way) unless you’re going to a Rodeo Bar.

So how do you wear suit elements without wearing a full out suit? Here are my thoughts and suggestions:

The gentleman above is wearing the proper elements of both a suit and the sort of “laid back” look that he is obviously going for. The only question marks on this outfit for me are the shoes, but that is just personal preference.

The key to the look is to make sure that the textures of your jacket match up in the same “genre.” What do I mean by that? He is wearing ripped jeans with a seersucker jacket, they are both of similar coarse textures and the structure of the jacket lends itself to jeans. This gentleman understood this fact, plus the shirt he wore, the suspenders, all little elements that add up to a proper outfit involving both the “suited world” and the “jeans world.”

However, there are exceptions to the “rules” I described. For instance, if you are an absolute baller, then placing an formal jacket and ripped jeans can work (see and be jealous). So don’t think of things as rigid, just as general pointers for you to make sure that you look put together and that you’re not just taking your blue blazer and shoving it with your jeans and some random shirt.

Just don’t ever do this, and you’ll be fine in most cases, the key is to make sure that your shirt is as simple as possible. A striped shirt like this and you can never go wrong with a simple plain white shirt. Try pink, it is as versatile as white, honestly just try it.

You don’t have to go as over-the-top as the guy above, but just try and gauge yourself, use some colors, but a general rule of thumb is that cool colors (blues, purples, etc) are more “evening friendly” than warm colors (reds, oranges, etc); however, again, those rules aren’t rigid and frankly if you have the confidence in yourself, you really can do anything you want, but I am just giving you my opinion on what would be the safe bet, if you have any doubts.

The only real “rules” are: tuck in your shirt, keep your collar in your jacket, and boot-cut jeans will not look good on you, so don’t wear them.

Osama Eisa


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