When it comes to suiting, a coloured suit is one of the boldest statements a gent can make. Wear it well, and you’ll be the coolest guy in the room; stuff it up and you risk looking like you’ve been shopping at a costume shop at Christmas.
It ain’t easy, and this is even more the case when you’re working with a stand-out shade like red (followed closely by white suits). However, with a couple of key pointers under your belt, you can ensure that this stand out colour plays to your finest attributes without being a sartorial laughing stock.
In this story…
How To Wear A Formal Red Suit
So, you’ve been invited to a cocktail event with a cocktail dress code requisite and want to make a bit of a splash in the sartorial stakes? A red suit is a sure-fire way to do so, but it’s best handled with caution and a healthy splash of restraint. Firstly, look for a plain two-piece suit with soft Neapolitan-style tailoring in a muted shade. Nothing says cheap like Fire-truck red, so instead opt for a shade that verges more on the side of pink or brick.
When deciding on a shirt to pair with, stick with block colours. White or a very dark navy pair sensationally with red and are flattering to most skin tones. Keeping things simple with your shirt also ensures that the suit is the star of the show. Finally, it pays to look for premium shirt fabric finishes like sateen that add a level of luxe to your ensemble.
How To Wear A Casual Red Suit
A red suit is perfect for more casual suiting moments – whether it be a drinks event or even a run-around day in town. However, low-key doesn’t mean sloppy and it takes a deft hand to pull off. In order to keep your look sharp, focus on tailoring. A well-cut jacket can make a world of difference so look for options that define the waist and fall neatly at the edge of your shoulder.
If you are electing to wear your red suit a little more casually, we would also recommend a slightly higher hem. This looks more relaxed and feels sharper if you’re pairing your suit with a t-shirt or a less formal button up (think linen or chambray shirts). In terms of shirt colours, stick to classics such as white, or if opting for a t-shirt, a traditional navy and white Breton stripe. To top off the ensemble, play with scrunching back the sleeves or flicking back the cuffs to show a rogueish touch of forearm.
What Shoes To Wear With A Red Suit
A red suit is not the time for your standard pair of black Church Derby dress shoes. Instead, look to lighter options that complement this already bold sartorial statement. You can’t look past a pair of classic loafers from the likes of Santoni or Meermin. Play with complementary copper-y hues like rust and mustard and fabrics like suede that lend a softer touch to suiting.
If you skew to the more casual end of the spectrum, a red suit is also a great opportunity to experiment with the suit ‘n’ white sneaker look. Look for a classic pair from the likes of Oliver Cabell or Adidas. These will be pairs that you can comfortably wear throughout the year, so are a worthwhile investment.
To really push the envelope, espadrilles are another great alternative that lend a hint of whimsy to your ensemble. Look for a pair crafted from luxe fabric like suede or embroidered cotton – Stubbs and Wootton have an enviable selection which can add extra flamboyance without pushing you into the realm of costume-y.
What Accessories To Wear With Red Suit
When accessorising a red suit, you need to adopt a less is more approach. The suit is the hero piece so look at subtle touches that add interest but don’t steal the show. A plain poplin kerchief with a starchy white shirt and sneakers makes for a sharp ensemble and doesn’t require further additions.
If you want to experiment with bolder accessories, look for a pocket square in a graphic print with red tones running throughout. Also, look at playing with contrasting fabrics like silks and linens that offset the heavier weave of a suit.
Red Suit Fabrics & Quality
Quality is everything when it comes to buying a red suit and fabrics are a tell-tale sign of what calibre suit you’re purchasing. Because a red suit is such a striking statement, it’s worth looking at options that break things up with a subtle check or a more open wool weave. In terms of fabrication, look at wool/silk blends and cotton/linens that have a more relaxed vibe. They have a slightly rumpled finish that’ll clearly distinguish you from more corporate players.
Finally, elect for a less structured garment that is unlined or has a half canvas. This leads to a more fluid line around the torso (plus, it’s a heap more comfortable than its fully lined cousins).