Anyone can look good in a suit. Quite often, anyone will look good in a suit. But not just anyone can look amazing in a suit. What really separates the dapper gent from the rest comes down to a good eye for the individual accessories that truly ‘create’ an outfit.
In this guide, we cover how to choose the accessories where you can exhibit an effortless polish and take your suiting up a sartorial notch.
In this guide, we cover the following men's suit accessories:
We also post daily images of some of our favourite jacket and accessory shots on Instagram, which can be used as a source of inspiration here: www.instagram.com/rampleyandco.
The Importance Of Your Accessories
Accessories adorn your look almost like a Christmas tree- drawing the eye to key aspects. Think of a broad chest emphasised by a pocket square or the antique grandeur of a watch chain. There is a difference between just putting on clothes and actually dressing. We all want to be the latter. The only problem is it takes a bit of effort. However, with practice, minimal effort becomes effortless splendour.
Why do we need watches in the age of the smartphone? Actually, the smartphone emphasises the importance of a watch when it comes to style. Since it is no longer functional, it has become purely a statement piece.
In practical concerns, a watch is now limited to providing the time when your phone runs out, or in some cases a rudimentary compass. In the modern life, these feature pretty low in terms of real practicality. This leaves the real benefit of owing a timepiece a the possession of true, weighty craftsmanship.
Ten years ago many of us were happy with a reasonable design that didn’t break the bank, now we don’t need one in the practical sense, it makes more sense to invest in quality. You don't necessarily need to invest in a Patek Phillipe, the key is to find a high-quality design you like and wear it.
A watch is a reflection of the owner's personality and there are no hard and fast rules, however, our advice when wearing with a suit are below.
Choose classic minimal faces with a white faced watch with a brown leather strap to wear during the day and a black faced watch with a black leather strap for the evening or black tie events. The below examples are about as complex as you'd really want to go.
Image Source: Jomashop.com
Avoid Bulky Watches
Don't go over the top with big bulky faces. Unless you have especially thick wrists avoid 44mm diameter faces with a deep case. A suit is about clean lines and this type of watch most definitely breaks the clean lines. Also, leave classic sports watches with metal straps for more casual events.
Match Your Watch To Your Personality
Taken the above into account, your watch is a profound statement of who you are, and wearing it says something about your personal style. If you are a classic work of leather go for any antique style watch, if you like a touch of flair then go for a watch that has a punchy accent with the hands.
The Pocket Watch
For the more eccentric there is the pocket watch. As to how to wear a pocket watch, it should be in the waistcoat pocket if you have one. The dangling fob should be, like a lady’s charm bracelet, a chance to express some personality. Although antique fobs remain best.
The Single Albert is this traditional style of chain while a second length from the T-bar to another fob in the opposite waistcoat pocket forms a resplendent Double Albert. If you do not wear a waistcoat, fasten the T-bar to your lapel and place the watch in your breast pocket. Again though, it should provide an accent to the suit not dominate the entire outfit.
Image source: Gq.com
Cufflinks are both an opportunity and a curse. They can be a pain to put on in the morning, but their effect in a double cuff is profound. The faux pas to truly avoid is the comedy cufflinks your best man or sister gave you, keep these for casual events.
Symbols close to your heart are acceptable, but keep them small and understated. Stick with simple gold and silver with basic settings like stones or mother of pearl. Art Deco cufflinks are never unfashionable and provide a nice touch.
As for the age-old debate or trigger or chain, chains are generally deemed more formal- most likely due to what a nightmare they can be to put on. Triggers may seem modern convenience but are a joy to put on.
Firstly, and most importantly, do not directly match your pocket square to your tie. The key is to take a primary colour from your jacket, shirt or tie and have that as a secondary colour in your pocket square.
The pocket square is a superbly versatile suit accessory for a suit in that if you are at a more formal occasion you can keep it quite conservative and go for a flat fold which provides an accent to the jacket.
As an example see how our Kinglet Calyptura Pocket Square has been used here to accent the green in the tie but is only an inch above the pocket so provides interest without being overtly flamboyant.
For the more casual occasion then a more flamboyant fold can definitely draw attention and lift the suit to another level. This time the fold is much more flamboyant, in this example using our Kingfisher Square, matching the blue stripes in the shirt with blue accents in the pocket square.
In this example, the pocket square is the focal point of the suit, using our Venice: The Basin of San Marco Pocket Square with different shades of blue reflected in the shirt, tie, jacket and pocket square. This kind of attention to detail will really make your suit stand out.
Ties allow one to express his individuality without contradicting the conservative dress codes that exist in some work environments or social occasions. They main things to consider when choosing your tie are the colour and pattern matching to your shirt, jacket and any other accessories such as a pocket square, and thinking about the textures.
Bold Patterned Ties
If you have a solid coloured shirt (particularly white or sky blue) and a classic suit colour such as navy, then you are free to experiment with bolder colours and patterns with your tie, and you can provide strong contrast should you wish.
When matching your tie to your suit colour, the best looks tend to come when your combinations are balanced. From the colour wheel below you want to match your suit colours on the opposite side, so blues and navy's work well with oranges and reds.
There is one main rule with patterns, and that is don't directly match your tie to your suit pattern in terms of the pattern itself, but more importantly the size of the pattern. For example if you have a houndstooth suit, choose a tie that has a smaller pattern such as polka dots, or a larger pattern.
Image Source: Hespokestyle.com
Feel free to adorn straight ties with all manner of the tie bars and tie pins, but a word of advice on tie bars. Aim for your tie bar to be around 3/4 of your tie width. Although it is not a complete faux pas for it to be the width of your tie, we feel that if you have a tie bar the full width of your you are effectively cutting your tie in half and it ruins the vertical aesthetic of the tie.
A tie bar should also be placed between the 3rd and 4th button of your shirt.
Image Source: Thescotteffect.com
Braces are a sadly forgotten essential. Today, the biggest effort we see is the narcissistic throwing off a jacket to reveal the clip-ons underneath. What these aspiring dandies don’t understand is the clips on these stand up to very little, flying off at the slightest tension like slipping a hand into your pocket.
The original braces use traditional buttoning with leather ends and thick cloth that doesn’t stretch such as our hand-made braces below.
Quality braces make a statement. One of luxury craftsmanship rather than mass produced synthetics. These braces work. Trousers should be hung and braces achieve this beautifully, unlike a belt that simply latches the waistband to the hips. The braces actually hold the crease so that it drapes correctly.
Suit trousers should not actually be worn with a belt, if not braces then side adjusters are the other method of keeping them in place. The reason for this being that a suit is meant to form a singular, vertical aesthetic, whereas a belt provides a horizontal break in the middle of the suit.
The ‘dressed’ feeling of braces is hard to beat, reminding one that the suit is the modern day armour. Braces have the effect of almost pulling you together, your trousers higher and shirt held in. Another benefit of our wool box-cloth material is the comfort of not being stretched across you.
For something rather more functional in the modern age, try an umbrella. The Fox frame is the patented and best model that won’t let you down like a small-packing version. Although not directly a suit accessory, a well suited man in the cooler months with a quality umbrella is making a satorial statement all of his own.
Our personal favourite is to go for a two tone colour, ideally with a classic houndstooth or herringbone pattern such as the below.
A well-tailored suit will always look sharp, but what really takes it up a level is how you choose your accessories so you look like you are styled from the pages of GQ. The main things to keep in mind are complementing primary and secondary colours through your suit and accessories rather than directly matching.
Also, keep an eye on texture matching. In our opinion, a highly textured suit jacket, such as a heavy wool does not work with a shiny silk tie or pocket square. You don't have to match textures directly, but keep them within a few levels of each other.
Our online store, featuring luxury pocket squares, ties and braces for the modern gentleman can be found here: Rampley & Co Shop.
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