Here are some basic tips, and faux pas to avoid in order to look your best:
1. Never wear a short sleeve shirt with a tie. Short sleeve shirts are perceived as lower class apparel. Fine as part of a uniform or if you aspire to be a fast-food manager, not if you want to project a professional image.
2. Shoes are one of the most evaluated elements of men’s wardrobes. Your shoes should be clean, shined, in good repair and appropriate for the occasion. If you are wearing a custom made suit, wear lace-up shoes. Don’t wear the same shoe on consecutive days and keep shoetrees in your shoes when you’re not wearing them.
3. Trousers should be long enoughto cover your socks, and socks should cover your shins even when you cross you legs. Pants are long enough if they have a slight break in the front. Pleats and cuffs are traditional and functional. Pleats let you sit down comfortably and cuffs add weight to the bottoms allowing for proper drape.
4. Wearing both a belt and braces (suspenders) make you look insecure.One or the other please. And if you opt for the braces, please make certain they are the kind that fasten inside your trousers with buttons.
It’s very easy to have a tailor or the alterations person at your dry cleaners put brace buttons on your pants if they don’t already have them. The metal clip-ons are for the guys who wear short sleeve shirts with ties.
5. Socks should match your trousers.
6. Belts should match your shoes in color and texture.
7. Ties should reach your belt line.This is neither arbitrary nor negotiable. Too short of a tie makes you look like a rube.
8. Properly knotted ties have a “dimple” under the knot. Clips and tacks are out of date.
9. Suit and Sports jackets are symbols of authority. However the bottom buttons of men’s jackets are not designed to be buttoned, since King Edward VII gained weight, and started a fashion trend (see detail below).
Single Breasted suits can have one, two, three or more buttons. Two and three button jackets are classic, one or more than three get you into the fashion forward arena, which is more suitable for social events than business. With two button jackets only the top button is fastened.
With three button jackets, you can close the middle, or middle and top button. Some suits are made so that the lapels roll to the middle button. On those suits you leave the top button unfastened. Some East Coast hipsters fasten only the top of three buttons!
Four or more button jackets may be designed to fasten all the buttons, even the bottom. If the bottom button of a four button can be closed without a noticeable pulling of the fabric, it’s ok to close or leave it open.
Double Breasted suits are the more formal of the two styles and can have four to six buttons with one or two “to button”. They are often identified by a two-number designation such as 4/2, 4/1 or 6/2 (also “four to two”).
Translated, the first number gives the total number of front buttons and the second is the number of functioning buttonholes. It doesn’t always mean that all the buttons have to be fastened.
Often only the middle or upper button is secured on a 4/2 or 6/2, but the Duke of Kent started buttoning only his lower button creating a longer diagonal line across his chest giving the wearer a thinner, more dynamic look.