The Elements of a Three Piece Suit

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What’s the difference between a typical two-piece and a three-piece suit? Really, it’s the waistcoat. A waistcoat is the vest worn above the shirt and below the jacket. It’s amazing how the addition of this vest can add a sense of class to a boring trouser and blazer combination.

Can I just add a vest to my suit?

Technically, then it’s not a real three piece suit. The elements of a three piece suit must be made from the same material and lining. This includes the waistcoat, pants, and jacket.

If you take any two piece suit and add a new vest, this vest is called an “odd vest”. Typically, the waistcoat matches the rest of the outfit. If this is your first time trying to add a vest or waistcoat to your outfit, don’t go for a pop of color, just stick to the color of the rest of the suit.

How do you wear it?

As with jackets, there are buttoning rules for waistcoats. It’s best to always leave the last button undone.

You also won’t be needing a belt with your suit, it just looks off.

Finally, your waistcoat should cover your belt line. But don’t let it fall above or below it, or the proportions will be off.

Why did the three piece suit go out of style?

It’s not necessarily that it went out of style. According to Alan Flusser, author of “Dressing the Man“, the three piece suit started to decline due to wartime rationing. Tailors could not make the waistcoats necessary for three piece suits anymore.

Since then, they haven’t risen to much prominence. You do see the occasional one at a wedding or other formal event, but most people don’t walk into the office in one.

When can you wear a three piece suit?

The obvious answer is weddings. Grooms and groomsmen sporting three piece suits are becoming a hot trend in the wedding space. As a guest you can definitely wear one as well.

If you ever plan to head to the racetrack, a three piece suit will not look out of place.

At the office, it’s best to stick with class colors like black, matching every piece of the outfit.

How to buy dress pants

Not all pants are created equal. We think a wise man once said that, but we’re not sure which one.

We stress over our dress shirts, ties, shoes, and blazers, but do we stop to really think much about the pants we buy and how they fit us. Guys, you’ve probably had your fair share of pants that were a bit too baggy or just too tight, but you stuck it out and wore them anyway.

That’s about to change. We want to show you the proper way to buy dress pants to ensure they always fit you and your body type. You need to be concerned not just with the waist size and color, but also the length, the inseam, the way they hit your shoe.

Why do guys buy the wrong pants?

If you don’t know that to look for, it’s pretty hard to find the right pair of pants. Usually, if we’re at the store, we just want something that fits our waist size. It’s a hurdle just to find a pair you like that fits your waist and that’s where many of us stop.

But it’s time to start being picky about your slacks.

How to take measurements

Here are the main measurements you need to be concerned about:

  • Inseam (bottom side of ankle to underside of the crotch)
  • Waist
  • Rise (crotch seam to top of waist)

You’re probably familiar with waist and inseam. But rise may be a new one. Many retailers sell pants with the rise at 10 inches, but guys over 6 feet tall may need long rise pants that are around 12 inches.

Real Men Real Style has a great write up on how to take measurements for each of these items.

What to look for when buying

Now it’s time to head to the store to try on some pants. When it comes to dress pants, you will noticed that they need to be worn a bit higher on the body. That’s because the distance from the waist to the crotch is longer than for casual pants. Pull your trousers above the hips to get the optimal look.

According to A Tailored Suit, when your pants wrinkle or bunch around the thighs, they’re too tight.

If you notice billowing or the crotch area sagging, then the pants are too loose.

Next, decide between pleated and plain-front pants. Real Men Real Style has an infographic to show you the different between these two pants.

Pleated means that the pant has small folds in the fabric. Pants can come as single or double pleated.

Trouser cuffs are at the bottom of the pant leg. Some pants may or may not have them. According to A Tailored Suit, the best fit is when the cuff rests against the back of the shoe.

Next up is the fabric. The most common are woven wool or woolen blends usually in gray, navy blue, or black. They can also come in heavier fabrics that are better for winter than hotter months.

Real Men Real Style has an excellent checklist to help you purchase your new favorite pair of pants.

And if you look through this article and don’t want to go through the hassle of going to the store and trying on pants, come to Joseph Wendt Custom Clothiers and see about getting a perfectly-fitted pair of custom trousers.

Are you making these suit mistakes?

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A perfect off-the-rack suit is tough to come by. You know what I’m talking about, one that hits all the sweet spots: fits you to a T, the color and pattern are just what you want, you don’t look boxy. They’re tough to find, so often you end up making sacrifices. You really want a certain pattern, so you will allow yourself to have a blazer that is a little too long.

Stop! Stop the madness. You shouldn’t have to compromise when you’re buying a suit. If you have suits that display these common issues, it may be time to find a tailor and get the suit of your dreams.

Too Big

Guys, it’s okay to get a suit that fits well. No longer should you relegate yourself to looking bulky or boxy, especially if you are not a bulky guy. You will end up looking sloppy or heavier than you actually are.

If the sleeves are too long or too short, the suit looks unfinished and can make you come off as careless. The jacket sleeve should end 1/2 inches above the shirt sleeve.

Well-fitting suits are in, because they actually look good. Trust us on this one.

Too Small

In addition to going too big, don’t go too small either. It will look like you grew out of your suit, or that it’s about to burst at the seams. You’ve seen it before, those guys with sleeves that seem 2 inches too short. Or their pants are showing their ankles unintentionally.

You need to hit that sweet spot of not too big and not too small. Which is why we recommend seeing a tailor for a custom suit, or alterations to your current suits.

Jacket is too long

Just don’t let it happen. A blazer that is too long just throws off all of your proportions. Nobody looks flattering in a long jacket.

The Lapels are too big

Big lapels are no longer a thing, thank heavens. If you watch reruns of shows like Seinfeld, you will notice Jerry’s lapels during his monologues. They are huge!

Make sure your lapels are under 3 inches, if they even get that big.

Pants are too long

The break in your pants (the part all the way at the bottom) should tall right at the shoe. If they fall above, they are much too short, and if they start bagging up at the bottoms then they’re much too long. Get those things hemmed!

Also, ensure that your pants are not baggy to begin with. You don’t want to be sporting an awesome looking blazer, tie, and shirt, only to have the whole outfit thrown off by a big pair of pants. It just doesn’t look well put together and will make you look heavier than you actually are.

Buttoning Up

If you have a two button jacket, do you know the proper buttoning procedure? Only button the top, that’s it, easy enough to remember. But tons of guys go around buttoning both or buttoning just the bottom.

If you have three buttons, just use the middle, or the top and middle if you must.

Other reads

Are You Committing These New-Suit Blunders?
GQ

40 Common Men’s Fashion Mistakes to Avoid
Kinowear

10 Common Style Mistakes Men Make When Wearing a Suit
Mr. Cavaliere

How to clean stains out of your nicest outfits

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You’re out to eat, wearing your favorite suit with the gray pinstripes and the pattern you took forever to pick out. You feel great, enjoying yourself with friends, relaxing after work, eating delicious food and drinking good wine.

But then it happens.

Your worst nightmare comes true.

A passing customer bumps into a waiter and knocks your wine glass onto your lap.

It’s ruined, you think to yourself. There’s no coming back from a red wine stain. Why couldn’t you have just had water?

Don’t panic!

The best time to get the stain out is right as it happens. Letting it set will only further the problem.

Here are some common stains you may encounter and how to get them out of your nicest clothes.

Disclaimer: These are not foolproof and each technique is different based on the type of fabric and the severity of the stain. If you are not completely certain how to treat the stain,

Wine Stain

Treat the spot immediately with warm water, salt it, and let it stand. Rinse away the salt and dab at the stain with detergent. Rinse and launder as you normally would but avoid putting soap flakes into the washer.

Mud or Dirt

Get a bucket of lukewarm water. Soak the item and shake it around, then apply detergent to the rest of the stain and allow it to soak for 20-30 minutes. Rinse and repeat then put it in the laundry.

Sweat Stains

This is a common problem for t shirts and dress shirts. First, wash the item with hot water and detergent. If the stain isn’t too bad yet, this should clear it up. If the stain is still there, soak the item in warm water with a little salt and let it stand. You can also use bleach if the item is white.

Cooking Oil

If you plan to do some cooking in the kitchen, make sure to use an apron to protect yourself and your clothes. If you do happen to get a stain, treat it right away with lukewarm water. Take the item and soak it in warm water with detergent. Dab the stain with detergent, place it down on a paper towel, and let it sit. Repeat this process if the stain persists.

Coffee

Sipping Starbucks while driving in the car can be a dangerous game to play. If you haven’t spilled yet, it’s just a matter of time. If it does happen, soak the spot with lukewarm water as soon as you can. Then dab the stain with detergent or some vinegar diluted in water. Take the item and wash it at the warmest temperature the fabric can handle.

Need more stain cleaning tips?

Check out this article from How to Clean Stuff 

How to pack a suit for travel

You’re going on a business trip, or maybe a vacation and you just want to have something a bit formal. If you’re traveling and packing a suit, you need to know how to fold and care for it properly. You can’t just throw it in your bag like the rest of your clothes.

Lucky for you, there are tons of guides out there on how to pack a suit.

Here’s one from Brooks Brothers that shows you just how to fold everything and put it in a carry on.

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There’s also this one from Real Men Real Style on 3 ways to fold a suit jacket.

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Then there’s this full outfit packing guide from Suit Upp which shoes you how to pack everything including your shirts, sweaters, ties, belts, socks, shoes, and jacket.

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Then there’s the guide just on how to pack shirts from Garment Care.

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What Happens to Your Suit at the Dry Cleaners?

AskMen posted a fascinating article about the dos and don’ts of dry cleaning.  You can read the whole thing right here.  In short, whenever you get your suits dry cleaned, you’re ruining your clothes.

Machine wash and hang your dress shirts yourself.  If you have to use the dry cleaners, ask for hand ironing instead of machine pressing.  Don’t forget to put the kibosh on any starch, that shortens the lifespan of the shirts.

With your suits, only dry clean them once a season, or four times a year.  Any more than that, and you’re putting undue strain on the fibers of the suit.  Clean any minor spots and stains by hand in-between cleanings.  And steam your suits to get the wrinkles out.  You can do that with a clothes steamer, which you can find at any bath and kitchen store.  If you’re feeling really, really rushed, we’ve known some people who will hang their suit in the bathroom, turn the shower on at maximum heat and close the door for a couple of hours!  Don’t do that.  Just buy a steamer.

If you did get something cleaned, look out for three signs of a bad cleaner: your clothes fit differently, your clothes look shiny and your clothes have mysterious, brand new indents.  The shiny thing is the tricky part.  We’ve all probably seen that and thought, “wow, it’s so clean, it’s shining!”  No…  The fabric’s been CRUSHED.

All of this got us thinking, of course, about the suits we make.  Another wonderful benefit of a custom suit over an off-the-rack one is the sheer quality of the materials involved.  The more “fine” the product, the more we tend to treat it with kid gloves.  But in reality, that better product is hardier, made of sterner stuff and better designed.  We should all take the advice of that AskMen column seriously, but if you’ve invested in a suit of a higher-caliber, that suit just might need less cleaning and last far, far longer.  Which is why whenever we’re asked, “why custom?” we say, “It’s the difference between good and great!”

Never Know How to Match Your Suit, Tie, and Shoes? Say no more!

Matching a suit is one thing. You have to pick the right jacket and pant color, then the dress shirt, followed by the tie. Now add shoes into that mix and you could be a walking fashion faux pas at your next event.

How could that be? Well, for one thing, wearing anything but black shoes with a black suit is not a good idea. A good rule of thumb is that black shoes go with nearly every color suit from brown and black to white and gray.

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Via r/malefashionadvice

This excellent chart from the /r/malefashionadvice subreddit shows you the proper suit color and shoe pairings. A black suit is perfect for formal events, especially paired with a wholecut oxford shoe. A more casual look is a light grey suit with a black or dark brown Brogue Monkstrap with Medallion Cap Toe shoe.

Once you have the suit and shoe down, you need to worry about matching your shirt and tie to complete the whole outfit.

This article from Fashion Beans gives examples of great shirt and tie combos from white shirts to striped shirts. Take a look to get some inspiration.

Next, this blog from Art of Manliness shows you the art (or is it a science?) of matching shirt and tie patterns. Starting off easy, you should go for a solid color or semisolid when it comes to neckties. Once you get more confident you can branch out into bolder patterns. You don’t want to be matching your tie too closely with the shirt, so don’t wear a similar striped tie and shirt combo.

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Via Beckettsimonon.com

Also starting off easy, you should have a conservative-colored dress shirt. Usually white and light blue are the most common, as well as pastels.

Next come the suits. Dark colored suits, says Art of Manliness, go with most tie colors. But be careful when you try to match a dark tie with a blue tint with a dark grey or black suit. Blue ties are much better suited for navy blue, or light colored suits. Light suits go well with dark ties.  There are many other great tips and rules to help you match your next suit, so check out the article.

This is a quick primer on matching suits, shirts, ties, and shoes. It takes some practice to get used to matching these colors and patterns, but you’ll get the hang of it! So find some weddings, business meetings, or networking events to attend and make sure your suit game is on point.