Style notes: What you need to know about men’s formal wear
From shirts to waistcoats, pants to blazers, a basic (or not so basic!) suit and all its components are a fashion staple in any smart man’s wardrobe.
Whether you’re looking for a classic wool 3-piece suit for a wedding or the perfect shirt to update your work wear. We bring you the finest selection of formal wear to fit all tastes and budgets - from M&Co to Mcqueen, we’ve got it covered.
And if the thought of online suit shopping leaves you to sitting at your computer in a cold sweat, fear not as we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide for you! This mean less time shopping and more time out with friends!
Formal wear: men’s style options
Men’s formal suits
Form-fitting silhouettes are very in style and can look fantastic if you’re slim. If you’re heavier-set or looking for something more traditional, a classic cut will never look out dated.
Men’s jackets online
Double vs. single breasted: A double-breasted suit is often considered more formal and is a very flattering option for tall, thin men. Bigger men should opt for a single-breasted style since the width of a double-breasted jacket can often make you look bigger. For a slick and youthful look, a single-breasted cut will always work, though a double-breasted jacket cut close to the body can look extremely stylish.
How many buttons? A two-button jacket is a timeless classic and will fit most men – just remember to only button the top button. A one-button style is considered less versatile and is better suited to slimmer frames. A three-button jacket is best avoided since it can make short men look shorter and tall men too tall.
Vents: These are the cuts of fabric on the back of a jacket or blazer. As a guide, these should always cover your backside and should only be separated when sitting or bending down. Double vents (also known as side vents) are the most flattering and functional because they allow the most movement.
Men’s formal pants or trousers
Cuffs: Cuffed styles look better on taller men and should be avoided if you’re short since they can make your legs look even shorter.
Breaks: A break is the spot where the hems of your pants falls on your shoes. A medium-sized break is the traditional look, where trousers are hemmed to fall around halfway down the back of your shoes. Any more than one break in the fabric of your trousers can make your look unkempt.
Men’s formal shirts
Shirts look and feel best when they are made from 100% cotton and collar styles should always flatter your facial features. A point collar will help elongate a round face while a spread collar will flatter a narrow face.
Waistcoat styles online
No longer simply a boring addition to a business suit, a well-fitted waistcoat can inject some va-va-voom to an otherwise basic look. Just make sure to wear a fitted shirt underneath to avoid any ballooning of the fabric.
Fabrics of men’s formal wear
Worsted wool is the ideal fabric for a suit since it has the ability to keep you warm in winter and cool in summer while breathing well and holding its shape. Tweed or flannel are alternative options for a warm and durable suit, though heavy-set men should avoid tweed. Linen or tropical wool are great lightweight choices for dressing up during the summer. Polyester is a cheaper alternative to wool for anyone on a budget.
Sizing and fit of formal wear for men
Jackets or pants that do not fit right can really make the wrong impression, especially in a formal or corporate environment. Retailers will have a dedicated sizing section to help you choose perfectly-fitting formal wear but we have some handy pointers for some general guidance:
Jackets should lie smoothly over your shoulders and back with a collar that sits flat against your shirt collar without pulling. Jacket and shirt shoulders should hug your own and buttons should be easy to fasten with no straining.
The buttoning point should also be on the same latitude as your belly button with a close fit around the stomach. Jacket sleeves should end where your hands meet your wrists and you should have free movement of your arms. Shoulder pads can help create more shape for men with narrow shoulders though they should never be bulky or obviously protrude further than your own shoulders.
Shirts should be smooth around the neck and allow an index finger of breathing room in the collar.
The waistline on formal pants should feel comfortable while still leaving room to fit two fingers into the waist.
The finer details of men’s formal wear
For a thoroughly ‘put-together’ look, leather is a great option for shoes and belts. No matter what the material is, try and match the color of your shoes and belt as closely as possible. Socks should always go with the colors of your suit. Also, matching the metal of your belt buckle with the metal of your watch creates a polished look. If you wear a tie, choose subtle patterns and colors that compliment your features and the color scheme of your suit.
Men’s formal clothing: What colours should I go for?
Your complexion, hair color and eye color are key factors in determining which colors you should choose. As a general rule, warmer skin tones should stick to warmer colors (reds, yellows, dark brown, orange) and cooler skin tones should opt for cooler colors (pinks, blues, purples, greens)
In more detail, men whose hair color is in stark contrast to their skin (‘high contrast’), for example, pale skin and black hair, should try to mimic this difference in their clothing, e.g. with a charcoal grey suit, icy blue shirt and tie in a strong color.
Men with a more muted appearance (‘low contrast’), for example, red heads or men with little hair, should veer towards earthy tones and dark colors because strong contrasts can be overpowering.
Inject color into your formal look while keeping it smart and stylish with hints and accents in ties, watches and pocket squares.
Men’s formal fashion – caring for your garments
The most important thing you can do to prolong the life of your formal wear is to rotate two or more suits so that you’re not wearing one for more than two days in a row.
To prolong the life of your formal wear always hang items on a curved wooden hanger. Hang outside your closet when you get home and only put it away when you’re heading to bed. Brush with a clothes brush to get rid of dust or fluff.
Too much dry cleaning can upset the natural fibers in suits and shirts so only get your suit cleaned if it’s dirty, otherwise simply press it when it is creased.
Shopping online for men’s formal wear
Now that you’re clued in on exactly what to look for to fit your coloring and physique, take a look at our comparison tables. With a vast selection of men’s shirts, waistcoats, pants and jackets you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for at Cafe la Moda.