Styling top tips: How to dress down a plus size suit
Suits are a great addition to have in your wardrobe, but sometimes a three-piece isn’t right for every occasion. However, dressing down a suit may be the simple solution.
When it comes to dressing down a suit, there is a range of avenues to turn down, but knowing which, can be a challenge. Menswear can be just as sharp and dapper in plus size as it is in regular sizing. Whether you’re looking for a new casual suit that you can wear to the office, or are just looking for some much-needed inspiration, our styling experts have rounded up their top tips to look slick in a dressed-down suit.
For forward-thinking and fashionable styles, check out our range of plus size menswear with Menswear+.
What does dressing down mean?
Put simply, dressing down usually consists of blending formal and casual wear. Modern suits are more versatile, so dressing down for an occasion could be as simple as wearing a 2 piece suit with a crisp white t-shirt and leather trainers; as opposed to the typical shirt, tie and dress shoe combo.
How do you dress down a suit?
Just because a suit is traditionally considered to be formalwear, doesn’t mean that it has to be reserved for formal occasions like weddings, funerals or at the office.
The first rule of dressing down a suit is to remember that your suit is not a single piece of clothing that must be worn together. Instead, consider it as two or more separate pieces that can work independently of each other while still looking dapper. This way, you can mix and match in your wardrobe and create a variety of different looks.
The best way to make a suit look laidback and dressed down is to do away with the trappings that are associated with formal wear. This means ties, bowties, pocket squares and braces. The easiest way to make a suit look more casual is by pairing it with items you would wear daily, like your favourite pair of jeans or striking knitwear.
Drayton Short Sleeve Shirt — £29
If you’re sticking with a classic shirt, there are still plenty of ways to easily dress them down for a more casual occasion. Swapping a long sleeve shirt with a relaxed short sleeve style is a great way to incorporate a more laid back look. More structured materials like denim or cotton work great, but materials that are considered to be more casual, like jersey, would work just as well to easily switch up this look. Daring patterns and bold colour choices work well in complementing your suit.
Now is the perfect time to do away with what may be considered as formal frills — like ties, pocket squares or belts — and replace them with an effortlessly cool accessory like sunglasses.
Gabicci Plain V Neck Pull Over — From £39
In the colder months, swapping your shirt for knitwear, pullovers and cardigans — or layering on top — is a great way to create texture and work interesting and bold colour combinations and patterns. If you’re wanting to keep to a more streamlined silhouette, make sure that your knitwear isn’t too oversized or thick, as this will give the impression of added bulkiness to your overall stature.
If you want to make this look even more casual, style with a pair of boots and — if you choose to layer over a shirt — unbutton the first few buttons of your shirt. Introduce bolder colours and patterns if you want to show off more of your personality.
Ventura Short Sleeve T-Shirt — £6
It doesn’t get any easier than a t-shirt — they’re versatile, comfortable and you should already have a suitable selection available in your arsenal. Solid, neutral colours like beige, ivory, black, grey and taupe are easy go-to options that can be thrown on with ease. If you’re looking to make a bolder choice, contrasting colour combinations and graphic or patterned t-shirts make for great statement pieces. Opt for a more classic look with a quintessential plain white tee if a timeless look is more your style.
Police 883 Weaving Tipped Short Sleeve Polo Shirt — £35
Delivering a modern aesthetic, a polo shirt is stylish, elegant and comfortable to wear. For a casual on-the-go look, polo shirts are easy to layer beneath a blazer — a great alternative to the classic t-shirt. With their distinctive collar, buttons and diverse choice of fabrics, polo shirts are great when worn for almost any occasion.
Style a polo shirt with tailored suit pants in a slim leg and white trainers for an understated look that will ensure that you’re seen anywhere.
Caribou Straight Leg Stretch Waist Casual Chinos — £20
For a more relaxed look, a chino and blazer combination will complement one another perfectly. Made from cotton twill, these casual bottoms are a style staple and will always ensure that comfort is key. Neutral colours like beige, browns, blacks and greys work perfectly when paired with lighter coloured t-shirts, whereas darker tones like khaki and navy chinos work best with grey and black blazers.
Your chinos should sit nicely on the hip with no bunching and should have the same rise and length in the leg.
Wrangler Regular Fit Straight Leg Black Texas Jeans — £59
If there’s one thing that makes a worthwhile investment, it’s a pair of perfectly fitting jeans. Whether you prefer straight leg or slim, a pair of jeans is perfect for almost all non-formal occasions. Swapping a bright blazer for more monochromatic or earthy tones like tweed during the winter will make this styling a year-round success. Finish the look with your choice of t-shirt or polo shirt and a smart pair of trainers or brogues.
Find your perfect match
Now you know exactly how to dress down a plus size suit, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge to the test. Shop our wide range of suits, t-shirts and trousers to find your perfect style at Slater Menswear — shop our new plus size range Menswear+, too. If you’re looking for some extra guidance, head over to our style inspiration hub for more expert fashion advice.