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Q&A: How can I wear my work suit when I'm not at work?

Q&A: How can I wear my work suit when I'm not at work?

"The truth is that suits look best when they're quite plain and fit really well," says Thread's style director, Shaunie Brett. "And the trouble with that is you can end up looking boring. One workaround is to switch your usual white shirt for a dark one in a colour complementary to your suit—we stylists call this 'tonal tailoring.'"

"There's something sophisticated, and even expensive, about the way this looks. It'd be perfect for an evening wedding that's not black-tie but is smarter than your average." 

Here, Shaunie shares how to do tonal tailoring well.

  1. Start with a suit. "You've probably got a favourite. Tonal tailoring is quite a modern approach, so it looks best with slim-fit suits."
  2. Wear with a shirt in a complementary colour. "If your suit's navy, go for a navy or burgundy shirt. If it's grey, choose a black, grey or navy shirt. Your shirt can even be the same colour as the suit."
  3. Add a textured tie. "Since your suit and shirt are quite smooth, you can go for a tie in a contrasting texture: look for words like waffle, knit or jacquard in the product description, or try a small, subtle repeating pattern. The key here is subtlety so your tie doesn't overpower the rest of your outfit; you shouldn't be able to make out the precise texture or pattern from two meters away."
  4. If you like, lighten it up with a pocket square. "It's nice to lighten the whole look a bit with a tie or pocket square, especially in summer. We've added a mid-blue pocket square here, but you could do a tie of the same shade instead. Just avoid anything too bright. White, for instance, is too eye-catching if everything else is dark. And if you're not a pocket-square person, skip it."
  5. Go for black socks and shoes. "These won't compete with the elegant look, and will finish this off nicely."