The humble suit is a staple of every man’s wardrobe, even for those who see a wedding once a decade. Little do some know though that a suit can be broken up and worn in countless different ways for different occasions. We’re talking about the suit jacket, a single venerable piece that can show off its versatility when paired with different bottoms, shirts or layers.
Pulling it off is easy. During the colder months simply throw your suit jacket together with a cardigan and a dress shirt or t-shirt of your choice. Ties are also optional with the dress shirt as the star here is the suit jacket which defines the overall formality of the look.
RELATED: How To Wear A Suit Without A Tie
Most men who break up a suit tend to go down the smart-casual route which is perfect for after work drinks or more casual workplaces. Come summertime and a suit jacket is easily paired with shorts and a tee or linen shirt.
The beauty of the lone wolf suit jacket? It’s entirely up to you how you rock it on its own. But here are a few hints to help you on your way.
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Correct Suit Jacket Fitment
Just as any full suit needs fit your body in order to look good, a suit jacket on its own also follows the same rule. In order to determine if a suit jacket fits you, look at:
- Suit jacket shoulders should never be fully square like in the 80s and stick out beyond your own shoulders
- If the suit jacket’s shoulders extend beyond your shoulders then it’s too big
- Sleeves extend past your lower wrist and into your palms – this means they’re too long
- When buttoned up (top button only), the suit jacket wraps around your mid-section whilst leaving stretch creases – this means the jacket is too small
- The best fit is often a slim or tailored fit which contours around your body without restricting it
How To Wear A Suit Jacket With Jeans
The poster child for smart casual is a suit jacket with jeans combo. The one rule that pertain to this look is no ripped jeans or baggy jeans often donned by skater kids or rappers. The suit jacket is derived from sartorial roots so keeping the fitment within these guidelines is imperative.
Once you’ve nailed that it’s a simple case of picking your denim. Indigo denim is a no brainer and pairs best to contrasting suit jacket colours (black, navy, grey, green). What you don’t want is a suit jacket that is too similar in colour to the jeans otherwise you’ll end up looking like Justin Timberlake circa-2001. Black jeans can also work well with these colours.
How To Wear A Suit Jacket With Chinos
Chinos follow the same rules as denim with the only difference being brighter options for summer season styling. The most common pairing is a navy suit jacket with light coloured chinos (white, sand, cement) but this can also work with various suit jacket colours. When going for lighter colours up top, contrast it with darker chinos. Given the casual nature of chinos, it’s also ideal to pair them with white sneakers, suede loafers and anything else that gives off the laid back vibes that are perfect for both work and play.
How To Wear A Suit Jacket With Shorts
Proceed with caution. Not many men can pull off this look as it does go against conventional suiting looks. The issue isn’t with the shorts but more so the right occasion to wear this unique combo – it’s a more festive look than formal work attire. Nonetheless, it’s common for the shorts to match the suit jacket colour, and to remain fitted.
Remember, you’re not wearing swim shorts but dress shorts so they should look tailored and sit just above the knees. Baggy shorts or swim shorts simply won’t work. One other rule to stick to is the no socks rule. When pairing a suit jacket with shorts, forgo the socks as this pertains to the summer theme.
How To Wear Double Breasted Suit Jackets
Double-breasted suit jackets can be worn the same way as single-breasted suits. That is, with jeans, contrasting chinos or shorts. The only difference here is the overtly formal look. The rule here is to do up the middle row of buttons and the single button on the bottom left.
Double-breasted suit jackets are designed to be worn closed at all times and that goes for sitting down as well. There should be enough flex provided by the last undone.
Smart Casual Suit Jacket FAQ
Bemberg is the most commonly used lining for suits as it is breathable, durable and relatively inexpensive. If you want a luxury fabric, silk is your option, but it is not as comfortable to wear during the hot weather. A vent is a vertical slit rising from the bottom hem of your suit jacket. There are two types – the single vent (often considered the American style) and the double vent (typical in British suits). There is also the ventless jacket, which is associated with Italian tailoring. There are three types of suit lapels – notch, peak and shawl. Notch lapel is the most common type and suits a single breasted jacket. Peak lapel is more formal and always found in double breasted jacket. Shawl lapel are seen only on tuxedos.
What is the best lining for suit jacket?
What is a jacket vent?
What are the common type of suit lapels?
Bemberg is the most commonly used lining for suits as it is breathable, durable and relatively inexpensive. If you want a luxury fabric, silk is your option, but it is not as comfortable to wear during the hot weather.
A vent is a vertical slit rising from the bottom hem of your suit jacket. There are two types – the single vent (often considered the American style) and the double vent (typical in British suits). There is also the ventless jacket, which is associated with Italian tailoring.
There are three types of suit lapels – notch, peak and shawl. Notch lapel is the most common type and suits a single breasted jacket. Peak lapel is more formal and always found in double breasted jacket. Shawl lapel are seen only on tuxedos.