Common mistakes men make when wearing a suit


Avoid these mistakes when you are wearing a suit

Timeless and versatile. The suit is one of the sole evergreens of menswear. It is the foundation of all gentlemen’s wardrobes. It can drastically change any man’s appearance. But just as grand the right suit can make you look – the sad fact is – that just as awkward the wrong suit can make you look. The truth is that a single mistake will totally ruin your overall look.

A good percentage of us men can’t seem to get it quite right. If you are one of them, you are not alone. You might be making a few mistakes and not even realize it. There is no lack of style tips, on the internet, in fashion magazines, and unfortunately very often from less sophisticated and refined friends and colleagues or older relatives. The latter well-meaning of course, but that’s not what you need.

One very common misconception is that it is about the money you pay for the suit. But nothing could be more wrong. It’s the way you wear it that matters most.

So, before you start digging in to all the latest innovations and options in tailoring – why not check out these advice – and start getting compliments on your suit and looks.

Check out Sir Vincent’s buttoning guide*.


Don’t allow your trousers to be too long.

Nothing will ruin your look more – there’s just no recovery from this one. Don’t let your trousers puddle over your laces. Your trousers (whatever the style) should only touch the tops of your shoes, and there should be no bunching of fabric. Pants with no break (horizontal crease in the fabric) mean they’re so short they fall right above the shoe and flash some sock. Nah please… Aim for a medium break — not too rumpled or baggy, but not too short around the ankles. There is a fine line between too long and too short and a little to no break is perfect.


The mankle

I’ve touched on this before but I think it’s time to give it some context. Mankles – the cut where you show off your ankles with trousers cut or rolled up just above the ankle. If you really fancy this look, make sure you go all the way, i.e. no socks and boat shoes. OK, monkstraps will do too.


Get the right length on you jacket sleeves.

Jacket sleeves are just as important as the trousers. Too long sleeves look clowny and sloppy whereas too short sleeves make you look like a dork or as if you just escaped from some institution. Your shirt sleeve should present itself with 1-1,5 cm at the end of your jacket. It is most common that the jacket is way too roomy, even outside North America. Either way – too long or too short – you need to sort this out.

And while you are at it – make sure your jacket is cut right around the upper arm and your torso.


Don’t choose a jacket that is too long.

Let the jacket end where your fingertips end. It’s not complicated at all.


Never wear a backpack with a suit.

It doesn’t matter if you are the account IT architect and unbearable for the global company you work for – a backpack worn with a suit will make you look like a school boy. Apart from ruining your look it will crease your suit. There is no escape in it. There is no running away from it. Get a sling bag or a leather attaché case.


Clean and shine your shoes.

The old saying that the first thing people look at on a man is his shoes is very true. Your shoe situation can tell everything about you, absolutely everything, like if you are working in an office or if you are 23 and really handsome or if you are a little bold and tired or if you are practical and comfortable, a rebel or conservative. But the most important thing of all – and this is an absolute rule – do not wear dirty shoes. Just don’t. A dapper man keeps his shoes clean and free from scratches. Visit the cobbler once in a while. No matter if you are wearing loafers, a smart oxford shoe or something else. Clean and polished. And keep at least two pairs of shoes in the same colour so you can let one pair rest for a day from sweat and stretching and use shoe trees when storing them. Trainers? By Jah, no.

Check out Sir Vincent’s colour guide for shoes*.



Unless you are the class clown or a hipster, match your sock colour to your trousers, not your shoes. For example, if you are wearing a navy suit with black shoes, go for navy socks. A light suit requires darker socks, but not as dark as the shoes. However mismatching socks can always be worn deliberately, but as always, to break the rule, you need to master it first. But never expose your hairy skin while crossing the legs.

Hungry for more style tips? Check this out*.


A gentleman's advice

It sometimes strikes me

how very easy it is to ruin the impression of a true gentleman. One slip and it’s over. Well that’s kind of drastic and not always truth. But the truth is that some mistakes are worse than others. Not offering your date protection under your umbrella when it’s raining and other boorish, rough and bad-mannered behaviour is of course worse than the “wrong” pattern on your pocket square. But coarse manners and dress do go together simply because unrefined manners reflect in your attire.

Here are a few common issues. In no relative order of importance or other priority…


1. Your shoe situation.

Please don’t forget your shoes. Shoes are extremely important. There is an old saying that the shoes are the first thing you see on a man. Keep your shoes clean – free of dirt and free of scratches. Shine your shoes often, it doesn’t only make them look better, it also helps moisturizing the leather and waterproofing it. It lengthens the lifespan of the shoes. And don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row. They need to “rest” from moist.

2. Non fitting clothes

Too small or too baggy, there is no excuse. It your body type makes it hard to find well fitting off the shelf clothes just wear tailor made.

3. Too many colours

Unless your profession is a birthday clown, please try to limit the number of colours. Colours should complement and adjacent to each other but remember that less is more. Pay attention not only to colours but also to colour tones and different shades. Not all brown are the same for example and please also keep in mind that sometimes it is good not to have the exact same colour and shade if you have a brown jacket, other colour on the pants and brown shoes for example.

4. Wearing the wrong colours

Please match it to your skin tone as well. Help keeping focus on yourself and not the crazy tie or colour on your shirt.

5. Branding

Especially oversized. It was you who paid for the garment or accessory, right? Then it shouldn’t look like you are getting paid for wearing it. Huge logos or brand names makes you look like a walking advertisement.

6. Dirty hands or nails

There is an old invention called gloves. They protect your hands from weather and cold. If you work outdoors or with heavy dirty stuff, wear gloves. Use lotion. Trim your fingernails and keep them free of dirt and cracked cuticles.

7. Wrinkled clothing

Hang them up when you are not using them, don’t use them for more than a day at a time and keep them pressed.

8. Not matching belt

Juist make it match the shoes. Not only colour, which is most important of course, but also the finish should match. Shiny goes with shiny and casual shoes goes with a thicker belt.

9. Comb over

Robin Hood was stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Don’t try to pull that off with the hair on your head. Who are you trying to fool? Short and neat just looks so much better. And younger.

10. Length of socks

Don’t show any part of your hairy legs! The socks should cover that. For casual occasions, other rules apply.

11. Neck hair

Sort it out. Manage your hair on the back of your neck. Cut or shave it yourself if you don’t get a haircut that often.

12. Mixing different styles

Not many would wear shorts with a tail-coat. But surprisingly many are happily mixing aqua sport sunglasses with a suit or cargo pants with a business shirt. Mismatching styles are just… no good.

13. Too heavy or excess cologne

You will have to mind the strength on the cologne and manage the amount accordingly. If a woman can smell you from across the room, what reason would she have to come any closer?

14. T-shirt tucked in

Gentlemen! It’s the 21st century of the Anno Domini era, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. Please do not tuck your T-shirt in, keep it casual. If it is too long, it’s probably also too big for you. A polo shirt is acceptable to tuck in.

15. Dress shirts

The opposite applies to dress shirts that are cut long and meant to be tucked in. There are also dress shirts that are cut shorter and meant to be worn outside as well. If you tuck it in – and you usually will – make sure it stays in your pants.

16. Jewellery

OK. Are you a hip-hop superstar? No? Are you a rock star? No? Then three rings, a bunch of necklaces and bracelets do look incredibly tacky on you. A watch, a wedding ring and maybe if you a young a necklace is great. But please try to limit yourself to that.

17. Sweat pants

Are you going to the gym? Great, have a nice time. But if not and you are wearing sweatpants, you are not wearing them to look your best. You are wearing them because you are lazy.

18. Facial hair

Just keep it groomed. The first thing people see is your face so keep neat if you want to look sharp. No hair on the neck please and please either clean shave or trim your beard.

19. Monobrow

Speaking of facial hair, it’s just as important to keep your eyebrows trimmed. Sort that unibrow out and take care of the nose hair and the hair in your ears. Just do it. Often.

20. Hair products

Like most things, don’t overdo it. When it comes to hair products use less than you think. It never looks good with too much. Like Bob Marley put it: “Too much of anything is no good for nothing”. By the way his dreads were natural, no wax there, gentlemen.


Style mistakes

Style mistakes

Gentlemen! There are numerous small style mistakes that men make daily. Unnecessary mistakes that makes you look less educated, less sophisticated, cultivated and refined or even like – sorry to say – a total clown.

Here are a few of them:


Too small suit

Even if it’s nice that more men recently care about their style and make a determined effort to find a tailored fit, one should keep in mind that the recent skinny or super slim suits are not for all. We all have different body types and the simple truth is that not everyone can pull them off. But do not despair, dear fashion loving man, that is why we have tailoring. Everyone can look super smart in a tailored suit.


I’d rather not have to mention this, but I feel compelled to kindly inform everyone about these two blunders; Please don’t forget to remove the brand label from the jacket sleeve and please, please, don’t forget to take out the thread on the back of the vent and in the pockets. Embarrassing but this happens. I am shaking my head. In fact, we are all shaking our heads.

Too big shirts

Most men wear shirts that are too big. Get a slim-cut shirt or get it tailored for the love of Jah. If it is billowing out at the sides when tucked into the pants, it is too big. And then we have the gym rats wearing too tight shirts, but that is another story. The collar should fit one finger between your neck and the collar.

Sport socks

Some Scandinavians and North Americans can actually still – believe it or not – be seen wearing athletic white socks with a suit. Athletic socks are worn to enhance a man’s performance when performing sport that make you sweat. Not with a suit. Do not wear sport cotton tube socks, athletic socks – white or black – with a suit.

Shiny suits

A shiny suit fabric? Criminal.

Socks and sandals

Seriously. Have you ever seen anyone pull this off? Case closed.

Tie length

A simple touch that many oversee. The tie should end at your belt buckle. Too short or too long, it can make you look like an incompetent imbecile. Nowadays the ties are slimmer so get a new one and leave the wider ones in the closet. Or why not in the bin? But don’t use the extremely slim ties at formal occasions or at the office.

Pocket squares

Your pocket square is not supposed to exactly match your tie, but it is a good idea to let them complement each other. A precise match can easily make the whole outfit look cheap.

T-shirts under

If you for whatever reason wear a T-shirt under your dress shirt, remember never to let it poke through above the collar. Wear something that is not showing like a V-neck or none at all.

Cell phone clipped to your belt

Keep your cell phone in your pocket. Clipping it to your belt is as attractive as using a Bluetooth headset as a fashion accessory.

Pants with pleats or cuffs

This is not so common nowadays.


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