Written by Menswear Style
Tips & Advice
9th September 2019
The Ultimate Suit Accessory and Style Guide
Suits are a definite way to make a statement, whether you are going for understated sophistication or a suave, modern expression. Simply wearing the suit essentials isn’t enough though, and if you want to turn heads then you’ll want to take a look at this accessory guide. With everything from colour pairings to picking the right watch for your look, follow these tips to create a style that can’t go unnoticed.
Modern adjustments: base layer
Your preferred suit is just the beginning. If you want to achieve a modern edge, then you should consider teaming it with some modern inspired adjustments and accessories. If you want to create something a bit different, then mix up your choice of base layer and strike up the ultimate business casual attire. For the cooler seasons, opt for a knitted half zip beneath your suit jacket rather than a plain white shirt. While it might sound notably seventies inspired, it also strikes a balance between corporate and casual, as a less conventional choice. To break up your charcoal grey suit, choose a lighter but similar shade of knit. Or, if you are feeling bold, opt for a bright cobalt blue and pair with slim fit suit trousers to add an air of contemporary inspiration to your look. Also, always ensue you have a windproof umbrella to hand to protect your suit from uncertain weather conditions.
Do not shy away from a print (or two!)
It might seem engrained in fashion gospel but clashing patterns doesn’t always have to be a recipe for disaster. Suit accessories are subtle enough to allow men to experiment with small introductions of contrasting colours and patterns, and these combinations can change the entire statement that you make with your suit. Pocket squares and ties are great places to start, as they can create a small break between your garments. While playing it safe and sticking to matching combinations used to be the way to avoid a fashion faux-pas, this is now outdated. You don’t have to be too outlandish to turn heads by bringing some mismatched elements to your suit. Mismatched pocket squares and ties work partly because of the similarity of their materials, both creating the same sheen. So, if you are going to mix things up a bit then keep this in mind.
Photo: The Locals
If you want to take the plunge and decide to go against the grain, opt for colours and prints that are complementary but not necessarily matching. You have the power to bring out each piece using the other. Base your decision on the colour wheel and pick polar opposites to create a combination that looks meant to be! If you are going to embrace a clash, then also ensure that the contrast between your pieces is clear. You might even find yourself drawn to an animal print tie or pocket square; the combinations are endless. Whether you choose to pair a plain square with a patterned tie, make sure to pick colours that look opposing when worn together. With these being such visible, prominent elements of a suit, it will show a lot of confidence and individuality should you choose to break the mould and wear unmatched pieces. Your style and suit will seem a lot more effortless and unique too, so brave the clash and change things up a bit.
Photo: Style Du Munde
A staple timepiece
A good watch is a go-to accessory for adding elegance to any suit, and it will help to keep you punctual too! Watches can be purchases which require a great deal of precision. Everything down to skin tone can lead you to ponder over which watch face and strap combination is right for you. The strap can feel like the most important aspect to get right though, and you can jazz up a classic leather piece with some contrast stitching to make it stand out when worn. Choose the military inspired NATO strap if you are looking to combine a smart watch with a unique statement, as these can look preppy when worn with a suit. But of course, the timeless chain strap will always be the perfect formal choice. Stainless steel options are ultra-suave, and they are great for smartening up an everyday suit in the office or while out at meetings.
Photo: Craig Landale
Cufflinks and tie clips
As an accessory, cufflinks might seem like a small element of a suit, but getting them right is key. Many people are under the impression that these small additions should be reserved for formal occasions only, but they are far more versatile than this and can be worn on an everyday basis. When you are getting dressed up for a more formal social or business event, you can decide how to style your cufflinks based on whether it is a black tie or white tie function. At a black-tie event, a classic silver pair of cufflinks with some subtle details can tie your entire look together. While comical cufflinks might seem tempting, if you want to look sharp then these are best avoided! Rose gold has become a popular metal hue, and it will really pop when worn with navy suits, perfect for warmer skin tones.
Photo: Preston Konrad
At a white tie event where a full-dress suit is worn, you might already have to adhere to a dress code as these events elevate ‘formal’ to a whole new level! Mother of pearl cufflinks could be the perfect way for you to impress through small, thought-out details. If you are simply looking for some cufflinks that suit your everyday office attire, then you do potentially have the freedom to experiment more with colour — don’t shy away from adding a hint of pattern to them either! Tie clips might seem like a bit of a wildcard, but they are a functional way to keep your tie in place and they look great for all occasions. They also have a significant impact on the overall outfit, so choosing wisely is key! Focus on maintaining your confidence in that all-important job interview rather than repositioning your tie. Pick your favourite metal hue and consider the tie beneath, as it will provide the background for the clip when it is worn.