For the ordinary guy, wearing a suit can be a terrifying thing. Gentleman dressing—suits and all—is still a limited “practice”, enjoyed by a select few. I remember, every time I put on anything that would resemble a suit, be it a casual blazer paired with just classic blue denim pants, most of my straight guy friends would say, “Ang formal mo naman.” The line always gets blurred when it comes to dressing formal and making an effort to dress. In fact, when you tell a man to, “Suit up!” (to borrow How I Met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson), it’s commonly met with either a question of “Anong okasyon?” or a joke “Para naman akong magbebenta ng encyclopedia.”
We have gone past blaming the country’s weather for men not wanting to go for a little bit of sharp dressing. I think that the biggest reason most men, those who do not need to, reject the idea of wearing a suit is because there are a lot of things that need to be considered to make it look good or even passable—rules, so to speak.
Interestingly, though, a lot of men I have talked to, whether during a shoot or a casual tete-a-tete over coffee or Jack Coke, when asked about a style icon point to the character Ryan Gosling played in the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love. The guy was perpetually in a suit. So, I think, wearing a suit, sans the rules or “eyes” judging and evaluating them, is something that men would and should enjoy.
In this issue of Rank, we offer three simple reminders to aid you when wearing your suit.
Invest in a good suit.
Another good reason most men, especially here in our country, veer away from choosing a suit when it comes to their sartorial selections is because of practicality. But commonly, most men think that buying a suit is a waste but this is nothing but a misconception. There is always a time for you to wear your suit. A business meeting, a presentation that could lead to your promotion, or even the countless weddings you and your girlfriend are forced to attend. There will always be an occasion where someone would grade you on your suit game.
You don’t even need to burn the bank for a good suit. Another misconception is that finding a good suit that will last will cost you money. That’s not always the case. There are always good ready-to-wear stores that carry good suits for your style and size that looks like it is something from a bespoke Tom Ford or Thom Browne collection. You just have to have the patience to study where to find these. Some easy suggestions: H&M, Topman, and Uniqlo. Good enough to look dapper, without costing you a fortune.
Play it up.
A good suit need not stop at being just a suit you “require” yourself to wear for special occasions. There are a lot of ways you can make your suit speak your style so you don’t look like any other businessman trying to cut a deal. Why not play with a pop of color, infuse a nice detail, add surprising layers that would up your styling game. You can even accessorize. And the best way you could hype up your look is to wear it with confidence. Always remember that fashion is meant to highlight the strengths of the person who wears it—not the other way around.
Know the right fit.
As with everything, nothing gives off a “Don’t take me seriously” vibe more than an ill-fitting suit. It’s easy to get lost with all the must’s and should’s when it comes to getting yourself a good suit that suits your body well (see the wordplay there?). Men often go by the saying, “If you feel good, you look good”. This sometimes leads men (and women) to mistakenly go for anything baggy, or anything that would give them space to work around. This shouldn’t be the case. And you don’t need a tape measure when you go to a store or a tailor on call to know what is a good fit or not. That said, here are a few considerations you should always remember when evaluating your next suit purchase:
a. Hands on—Using your fists, you can easily see if your blazer fits you to a tee. Put your fists inside your jacket. Each fist should fit well on each side of the blazer. If it feels too tight or if it feels like you can squeeze in your other fist in it, then it is the wrong size.
When it comes to the shoulders of the blazer, always remember that it should be directly on top of the shoulder. Otherwise, it is not the right size.
b. The long and the short of it— When it comes to the length of your suit, several identifiers can be used to see if it is too long or too short. Designers and stylists often rely to the “cupping method” to determine if the suit is of the right length, and so can you. Here’s how: when you hold out your hands to your sides, you should be able to cup the end of your jacket. If there’s too much fabric you can cup, that means the suit is too long for you, otherwise, it is shorter than you want it to be. Easy indicator: If it goes beyond your backside, then it is too long.
The same goes with your trousers, a good blazer will not work when your trousers are ill-fitting. Remember that there’s more than two to three inches of fabric mid-calf that you can grab, your trousers are too long. Also be on the lookout for sagging pants, that is if your crotch is too low.
c. Remember the golden rule—Always keep in mind that when you are wearing a suit, no matter what type of shirt you choose to wear inside your blazer, always make sure that a quarter-inch sleeve shows.
Shoot credits: Leo Balante, creative direction. Advan Ramirez, photography. Ana Alejo, grooming. Jules, model.