It wasn’t that long ago that wearing a suit sans tie was a definite sartorial no-no. Considered a marker of distinction and class, the humble neck tie has stood as a significant social marker for centuries.
But as social mores change, so too does the way we dress. For the modern day chap, a suit without a tie can perfectly straddle the line between corporate and cool — effortlessly transporting you from the board room to the bar.
Here, we explain how to pull it off with nonchalance and a heavy dose of swagger.
How To Wear A Business Suit Without A Tie
First things first. Wearing a suit without a tie is different to just pulling it off after a long day in the office. The latter is an afterthought whereas the former is a commitment to a look — the distinction is important.
If you’re trying this out for the first time, start with the basics. Look at pairing a navy pin point suit with a plain white shirt. Given this is a more casual look for the office, seek out premium shirting fabrics that will give your ensemble a luxe edge. I usually go for a sateen-finish shirt, opting for a heavier weave as this also reduces the chances of creasing.
Style your look by leaving the top button undone — it’s simple as pie but when pulled off, looks sharp as hell. And whatever you do, don’t allow any undershirt to peak out from the open neck.
How To Wear A Casual Suit Without A Tie
Wearing a more casual suit without a tie sounds fairly basic. And it is — if done well. However, there are a couple of key pointers to keep in mind to ensure you stay sharp — not sloppy.
As a starter, it pays to think about what kind of suit you’re wearing. If you’re in a linen suit or light cotton suit, look at pairing it with a plain poplin shirt. The weight of the fabrics will balance each other out and ensure the elements of your outfit don’t clash. I’m a loyalist to block colours and keeping it simple; a taupe suit with a pale blue shirt looks sensational as does an olive suit with a white shirt.
If you’re going for a more casual aesthetic, think about the style of the suit too, looking for details like patch pockets and more robust twill fabrics. Suit Supply has an enviable selection as do the likes of P. Johnson and Steve Caldera.
When pairing a less-structured suit jacket with a shirt (think half or unlined), you run the risk of your collar slipping under the lapel. To avoid this, steer clear of collar stays (these weigh the collar down) and also get your dry cleaner to iron a crease into the collar.
This will help stop it from flying away and ensure you remain polished regardless of the shenanigans you’re up to.
How To Wear A Double Breasted Suit Without A Tie
The double breasted suit is a bold sartorial statement, not for the faint of heart. However, wearing it sans tie can be a helpful way to soften this sometimes severe look and make the right kind of stylistic splash.
If you are taking on the double breaster, go for a lighter construction in a cotton or linen. Also opt for soft Neapolitan tailoring, particularly around the shoulders. This helps avoid that 80s fat cat look this style of jacket is synonymous with.
When it comes to the shirt itself, focus on a high collar that’s going sit above the lapels of your jacket. Given your jacket will almost always stay buttoned up too, go for high-contrast colours that will pop against the suit fabric. This can be a great opportunity to play with bolder prints like candy-stripes and self-checks.
How To Accessorise A Suit Without A Tie
Accessorising a suit without a tie is all about the details. Given this can be such a simple look, you’ll benefit from selecting luxe finishing touches like a statement watch or pocket square that adds personality and also elevates the ensemble.
A bracelet/watch combo peaking from the end of a sleeve is a great way to lean into this more casual form of suiting. Look for woven options or even classics like a Cartier Love bracelet to really amp things up.
When it comes to pocket squares and lapel pins, look at it as an opportunity to bring some colour to your look — particularly if you’re wearing a classic combo like a white shirt and navy suit. Bold pocket squares in shades like pink, orange and green offer a sensational contrast point.
The shoes you wear with a suit are entirely dependent on the degree of formality you need to adhere to. In this instance, given you’re without a tie, think about options that are slightly more casual than normal, even if it’s just adding some colourful socks to your standard black Brogues.
If you do have the opportunity to push the envelope, a suit without a tie can also be a great chance to explore some more alternative footwear options. Particularly if you’re in a casual suit, you can afford to look at loafers or even crisp sneakers to give your suiting a more urban, avant-garde edge. Wear these without socks and have your trousers cropped to a shorter length so that the hem skims the top of your foot.