Over the last several posts we have been addressing the fundamentals of accessorizing a suit to make the most professional impression possible while spending as little as possible. Remember, the point of these pieces of advice is to step up the appearance of a basic suit by the addition of critical pieces, most of which can be acquired for a very reasonable investment. This final post will deal with what I call finishing touches, or “costume jewelry” for the man of today.
In a woman’s wardrobe, costume jewelry is just that, costume. It is inexpensive and designed to produce a certain look, dressing up an outfit that might otherwise be somewhat plain in appearance. For the gentleman and the suit, the same thing can be accomplished with a few critical items. All of them can be obtained rather inexpensively to start.
A critical piece of the bespoke man’s wardrobe is the pocket square. In many circles, pocket squares have begun making something of a resurgence, while in others they have remained ever present. Worn in the outside chest pocket of the suit with just a small amount of fabric showing, it is a symbol of taste and sophistication.
The pocket square can be worn either pressed flat with an iron, so that a slim line of fabric is visible just above the pocket, or in a more roguish manner, “thrown” into the pocket with the four corners being visible. Also, the fabric of choice for high style is always white, although a choice of color that matches the tie being worn is also appropriate.
The lapel pin is a hold over from the days when honor societies and fraternal orders were commonplace, and the pin worn on a lapel was as much a key for entry into exclusive clubs as it was a mark of deeds accomplished. Today, they are not quite so commonplace, and conversely, they are everywhere one looks.
If you are fortunate enough to have attended a school where you distinguished yourself in academics, sports, or some other aspect of college life, it is likely to believe that there is a lapel pin that reflects the accomplishment. Volunteer organizations often also give Ribbons showing support for various causes have been made into finely crafted pins. Find one for a cause that you believe in, and wear it with pride. Finally, if you can think of nothing else, a flag showing either a country of heritage or the country of your citizenship can be a fine finishing touch.
If you have made the investment in some french cuff shirts, cufflinks are a must. More than simply holding your cuffs together, they can be a statement of various kinds. do you have a particular interest or hobby? There is likely a pair of cufflinks for that. Is there a movie franchise that you think is worth talking about? Again, cufflinks that are connected to this are likely somewhat easy to find. Want to find something unique? Cufflinks are an easy bet. I have even made several pairs of cufflinks, and the ones I have made continue to be not only the least expensive ones that I own, but also the best conversation starters.
With these three items in mind, along with the other suggestions that have been made during these posts, you are well on your way to being recognized as a man who can not just wear a suit, but wear it well.
What other items or tidbits of advice have served you well in connection with your efforts to dress up your suit? Leave a comment with them for the benefit of others.