How to wear a three-piece suit

26 February 2015
How to wear a three-piece suit

The three-piece suit is back. From Daniel Craig and Bradley Cooper to Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch, we’re suddenly seeing dozens of male celebrities (and their stylists) embrace the three-piece suit once more. We’re tailors based in Leeds, and we’ve seen a resurgence in demand for three-piece suits of late. If you’re thinking about dusting off your old tailored waistcoat or investing in your first three-piece suit, you might have some questions about how best to wear it. Given the extremely formal nature of three-piece suits, there are a number of traps you can easily fall into when donning your new bespoke three-piece suit. Here are some tips to keep you on the straight and narrow.

 Understand the connotations

Three-piece suits may be all the rage on the red carpet, but for the rest of us it’s important to consider what we traditionally associate with the outfit. For many, they’re seen as ultra-formal outfits that are only worn by dull, stuffy professionals who want to look pompous. They might also be associated with the 19th and early 20th centuries – and probably not modern day business wear. Be aware of these connotations, and choose when you wear your full three-piece suit carefully. They probably aren’t suited to a normal day in the office, but an important client or investor meeting might be well be a better place to wear them. They are also obvious options for occasions such as weddings and funerals.

 Another consideration to make is the colour of your three-piece suit. You don’t want to be mistaken for a waiter or even a butler, so it may be best to stay away from black and stick to dark grey, navy or brown.

 The right fit

As with any garment, fit is important for a three-piece suit to look good. An ill-fitting waistcoat is particularly obvious, so ensure you opt for a bespoke or made-to-measure suit to avoid fit problems. A too loose waistcoat feels odd and looks strange, and a too tight waistcoat might restrict your breathing! Ensure that the waistcoat is also the right length. When worn with your suit trousers, the waistcoat should cover the belt so that it looks as if you’re wearing a continuous piece of fabric from the top of your waistcoat to the bottom of your trousers.

 Separates

A three-piece suit is one of the most versatile garments out there. Remove the waistcoat for a slightly less formal (but still well-fitting) suit that works perfectly as an outfit for the office. Leave the jacket at home and switch your suit trousers for jeans or other casual trousers to wear with your waistcoat for a slick, casual outfit. The fit and quality of a bespoke three-piece suit is too good to only wear on formal occasions! Take any chance you have to wear its components – you’ll soon find that different combinations of suit, trousers, and waistcoat work perfectly for almost any occasion you can think of.

There are plenty more style and design considerations to make when ordering a bespoke three-piece suit from the tailors. Book an appointment with Hemingway Tailors so that we can begin crafting the perfect suit for you. 

Abbas Mahmood
Abbas Mahmood
As a lifelong purveyor of fashion, Abbas has been writing for Hemingway Tailors for 2 years, keeping readers up to date with style trends and delivering a regular insight into the world of tailoring.
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