The Formal Suit Rule: Socks or No Socks?

Dressing up for a wedding or any formal event can be challenging for most guys. After all, there is an art to wearing a suit that has us trying to balance seasonal trends with standard menswear style rules that are steeped in tradition. Before you suit up for your next formal event (hello, summer weddings), read through ten of our favorite menswear style rules, and find out what the trends are to ensure you’ll impress even the most sartorially aware guest at your next formal function.

Fit is key

The fit of your suit is everything. It doesn’t matter how much you spent to get dressed up in your suit doesn’t fit you properly, it simply won’t look good. Trend watchers have been embracing the trim-fitting suiting aesthetic for years. But still, one of the biggest mistakes men make when they buy a new suit is they buy it too large. Pay attention to the fit of your suit before heading to the cashier: make sure your knuckles are even with the bottom of your jacket, and your jacket sleeves fall where the base of your thumb meets your wrist. Most importantly pay attention to the fit of the shoulders, making sure that the shoulder pads end with your shoulders. Unsure if your off-the-rack suit is the right fit? Take it to a tailor and double check.


Showing off some cuff

The correct shirt sleeve length and jacket sleeve length is a hotly debated style topic and is a personal decision to the dresser. The challenge? You want to show a bit of the shirt cuff peeking out from your suit jacket, but not too much. The trend these days is to ensure that half an inch of your shirt cuff is peaking below the jacket sleeves.

The right tie length, and the tie for right now

One of the simplest menswear style rules is often the most ignored. If you are wearing a tie with your suit, the bottom of your tie should reach the belt buckle or the waistband of your trousers. No exceptions. Next? Nothing against that trusted navy neckwear hanging in your closet, but tie trends dictate that you should be wearing a knit tie this summer, or a skinny tie with fine vertical-stripes, a dark floral print or a uniform-inspired badge.

Upsize your bow tie

If you are keeping up with menswear trends and aim for your suited-up look to be fresh, replace your tie with a bow tie and you’re already winning. This season the trend is to go big or go home with a bow tie that measures 2.5 inches or 3 inches in height instead of the standard 1.5 inches. The bigger, butterfly bow tie looks sophisticated, adds a bit of personality and is the size most commonly spotted on designer runways and the red carpet.

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