Making a case for the unexpected suit
These aren't your old man’s suits.
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"I love experimenting with style, but I work in an office environment where we’re required to wear a traditional suit every day. How can I add some personality to my everyday suit and tie?" Sam via Facebook
We get it: it’s hard not to feel like your style is muted when you're wearing a standard suit and tie, especially if you’re someone who likes inviting a little colour, pattern, and texture into your off-duty look. Luckily, you can still lend your suit some personality and look entirely appropriate in an office setting. We’re all for the fun suit, which keeps the traditional elements of the classic 9-to-5 uniform, but with a modern twist. If that is still a little too daring for your workplace, we’ve highlighted some of the easiest ways to make a suit your own, without looking like you’ve tried too hard.
“Small metal accessories may seem formal, but in the modern workplace, they’re an easy way to add subtle points of interest,” says stylist Artemis Crowley. “Cufflinks come in a range of fun and personalised designs, and unique tie clips can easily be matched with most of the items in your work wardrobe.”
If you’re up for a touch of Peaky Blinders’ inspo, you could even try a Tommy Shelby-style collar bar.
Picking a tie with a colorful pattern is an easy way to accessorise an otherwise simple suit. Whether your outfit is light or dark, a bold print is sure to stand out. For extra drama, pair your patterned tie with a monochromatic suit and shirt.
Choose a bright pocket square with a colourful design – just make sure the colour scheme complements your tie without matching it. Don’t be afraid of bold patterns, bright colors, and multi-hued designs, especially if your tie is less colorful or if you’re not wearing one at all.
“If bright colours aren’t your style, just refold your pocket square into a different shape and keep it neutral in terms of colour, but eye-catching in terms of style. You don’t have to be an origami expert to learn how to fold it into a cool design,” Artemis says.
For the office and smart-casual events, you can afford to be slightly bolder with your choice of shirt. A timeless pattern such as checks, polka dots, stripes, or subtle florals will instantly add interest and flair to a standard navy or grey suit.
“Smart button-downs in unconventional, textured materials like flannel and denim can help introduce character and depth to an otherwise classic look,” Artemis says.
Everyday suits don’t come in canary yellow or bright teal (unless you’re The Mask). If the suits you wear are in neutral, darker tones, you can still add some playful colours to your outfit with socks. Bright block colours or prints won’t stand out too much, but they’ll spruce up your overall appearance and add a welcome touch of brightness to your outfit.
Avoid going overboard with colourful accessories, though. If you’ve already opted for a brightly coloured tie and pocket square, dial it down with your socks and shirt, and vice versa. These small but impactful statements should bring life back to your work look.
Words: Ella White
Illustration: Ryan Gillett
Now that the 9-to-5 suit has been demoted, you have a license to have some fun when you wear one.