Plus size suit etiquette: The tips you need to follow for style success
It can be hard to keep track of fashion faux pas to avoid — and it can be even harder when trying to style a plus suit size. Trying to keep tabs on any style rules to follow, unspoken or not, can be a merciless task. Of course, suit etiquette isn’t just about how a suit fits, but it’s about how you wear it and the attention to detail. Dressing well is about presenting yourself in the best way possible, and what better way to garner instant attention than knowing exactly how to hold yourself when wearing a suit.
To help get to grips with the dos and don’ts of suit etiquette, we’ve created a guide to show you how to look perfectly stylish and comfortable while avoiding any suit styling faux pas. Whether you’re new to wearing suits and don’t know where to begin or are just looking for some plus size guidance, our styling experts have rounded up their top tips to give you all the help you need.
Do: Experiment with more colour
Whether you’re dressing smart for a work meeting or a formal occasion, shying away from colour should never be an option. If your traditional navy, grey and black hues aren’t as appealing as they once were, try adding subtle hints of colour to your suit to instantly lift an outfit. Strong pops of colour in your accessories will inject new life into your favourite two-piece, or go bold with a light blue suit jacket that makes for a great statement piece.
Do: Get a suit that fits properly
This may sound self-explanatory, but, it’s important to remember that proportions are everything when it comes to proper suit tailoring. When it comes to picking the right fit, it’s important to consider how you want the blazer to sit on the shoulders and arms, as well as across the chest. For the bigger man, make sure that your suit jacket fits well in the shoulders, with no overhang of fabric or bunching. For maximum comfort, make sure that the jacket doesn’t pull across the stomach when the button is fastened.
Regular fit suits allow for ample room to move and give a more laid back approach to suit dressing.
Do: Unbutton your jacket when you sit down
In most situations, a buttoned suit when standing cuts a cleaner silhouette. However, when seated, unbuttoning your suit jacket allows you to sit more comfortably and prevents wrinkles and unnecessary pulls. It also prevents the buttons from popping and helps to protect the shape of your jacket, as modern suits are cut in such a way that the fabric doesn’t drape properly if the bottom button is fastened.
Do: Keep the top of your shirt buttoned
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If there’s a truism that can be shared time and time again, it’s that small details make a difference. To ensure that you’re always looking smart, it’s important to keep the top of your shirt buttoned. If you can’t quite seem to close your top button, or it’s too uncomfortable to fasten, you may need to buy a new shirt, or look at getting a shirt with a bigger collar.
Do: Opt for a single-breasted jacket
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To create a streamlined silhouette, men with broad shoulders should wear a single-breasted suit with a low button fastening. Put simply, this will have a levelling effect on the body’s width. If you opt for a jacket that’s too oversized, the overhang of fabric will make you appear bigger, whereas a jacket that’s too tight will be jarringly obvious.
Don’t: Go overboard with colour
While it’s always encouraged to experiment with colour, it’s important not to go overboard. Garish and contrasting colours will make you stand out and draw attention to ill-fitting suits, creases, and any marks. Finding a colour that you like and feel comfortable in, will help you decide on the rest of your colour palette for your outfit. Try adding a brightly coloured pocket square, tie or bowtie to keep your palette classic and refined.
Don’t: Wear a suit with a horizontal pattern
While vertical stripes can add height to your overall stature and thinner pinstripes can enhance many looks, horizontal patterns give unnecessary bulkiness and size to the wearer. Horizontal patterns, particularly stripes, can make you seem wider as the lines elongate your physique. To play it safe, keep to a plain suit, but if you do wish to wear a pattern, opt for a thin stripe-design shirt.
Don’t: Wear brown dress shoes with a black suit
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While this isn’t exclusive to plus-size, wearing brown dress shoes with a black suit is a habit that all men need to stamp out. Using the colour wheel is essential for creating a winning combination, as you can easily see which colours complement each other, and which should be avoided. After all, the type of shoes that you wear is vital in achieving your desired look.
If you need a helping hand on which shoes to choose for the occasion, read our handy guide to finding the perfect pair of footwear.
Don’t: Over Accessorise
Accessories can be a great way to introduce personality to your outfit, but they shouldn’t be so stand-out that they distract from your suit. Keep in mind that ‘less is more’. A simple set of cufflinks and a tie can do just nicely for a modern look, or a pair of braces and a bowtie are quintessentially British. While it can be difficult to strike the right balance, once you’ve found your must-have accessories, your outfit will look dapper.
Plus size suit etiquette
Now you know the do’s and don’ts of plus size suit etiquette, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge to the test. Shop our wide range of big menswear to find everything you need, from casual tops to that all-important suit. If you’re looking for some extra guidance, head over to our style inspiration hub for more expert fashion advice.