The Right Suit
1. Perfect Your Sleeve Lengths
So how exactly should they fit? Erlanger is quick to point out that no matter what style or material you’re going for, the sleeves should always hit at the same place: “at your wrist bone," she says. "More importantly, your shirt cuff should peek out.”
2. Let an Expert Cuff Your Pants
While cuffing your jeans is a totally sartorially approved move (within reason), throwing a fold in suit pants is expert-level territory. Erlanger says your trousers should hit right where the pant leg meets the shoe. For you aspiring suiting aficionados, that’s called a zero break (hitting above the shoe is a flood break, and fabric piling atop the shoe is a full break.)
3. Choose a Slim Silhouette
Beyond getting your suit tailored and ensuring the fit is correct, Erlanger suggests using fit to achieve a more modern look. If your suit game is a throwback to the pre-Instagram days, modernize it with a closer cut. “Go slim,” Erlanger suggests. “A super slim fit instantly feels modern.” A silhouette that fits close to the body without looking painted on is one way to balance a modern yet classic vibe. For those looking to take a risk, Erlanger suggests going with a double-breasted suit — just make suit the fit is lean and perfectly tailored.
4. Pay Attention to Lapels
The first thing many people notice when they size up a suit is the shape of the lapels. Framing the body, the lapels set the tone of the suit — whether it’s a notched all-business look or a more formal, attention-grabbing peak lapel. Notched lapels are a safe bet, but Erlanger suggests taking a slight risk with lapels. “I love a peak lapel," she says, “and it seems to be universally flattering.”
5. Nail the Accessories
Erlanger is something of a specialist when it comes to finishing a look. She even wrote a book on the topic, “How to Accessorize: A Perfect Finish to Every Outfit.” Accessorizing with a suit should be done with care, and pops of color or personality need to be introduced tastefully. “My advice is have fun with your shoes and keep belts simple without flashy hardware,” she says.
The proliferation of pocket squares and ties over the last decade means more men are paying attention to formal accessories — and taking more risks. One big move to avoid? Matching your pocket tie with your necktie.