I got my first “big boy” suit at age 13 and then promptly waited to get a second full suit for another 10 years. It’s because if I’m dressing up, I’m probably picking between suit separates. Before you call me crazy, I’m not about to tell you to never buy a matching suit again. Like I said, I finally picked up a few of my own and I love them (not to mention I can use them as separates).
I gravitate to separates because they afford me more opportunity to play with color and patterns while staying within a dapper style. I get to put my own little twist on it. If you know me, then you know expressing my personality through an outfit is my number one goal. It’s also what I always recommend for you to do too! Being yourself in your clothes is how your style confidence grows.
There’s no one way to master this kind of look. You know you’ve got it when you feel good. That doesn’t sound too hard, right? Just in case you’re unsure, I’ve got a few tips to breakdown how you can pull your own spring suit separates together:
The Colors - It’s spring! You can fearlessly add color to your wardrobe now. That’s most of the fun of playing with these pieces. You don’t have to worry about the bottom and top colors matching.
If you’re still hesitant when it comes to adding new shades to your outfits, start with a base color that your comfortable in. You can have it be the pants or the jacket. Then you have the opportunity to experiment with the other garment.
The key here is that you actually want to incorporate some good contrast between the pants and blazer. If they’re too similar (both light shades of blue, too close in pattern, etc.) it may end up looking like you tried to get a full suit but didn’t quite hit the mark. It’ll look like you bought it in a dimly lit store and didn’t notice until you wore it. You’re going for suit separates, so don’t be afraid to actually make them separate. I went for blue and pink here mainly because I was embracing the season, but also because the contrast was striking.
You can even add some pattern, be it subtle or loud. Pattern blazers can be a great and unique surprise! They’re also not as potentially overwhelming since you’re not wearing the pattern all over. In other words, you have freedom to go bolder. Paisley & Gray has some great ones to choose from. Since my blazer was already a bright color, I chose a pattern on the pants to add texture and dimension.
Now you’re probably thinking about what to do with the shirt. Most often, if I’m doing bold colors or patterns already, I tend to go for a crisp white shirt. It serves as a clean transition between the other pieces you chose. You’re not limited, though! Choosing the right shirt may be a bit of trial and error. You can follow a similar color story of one of your other items or throw in another element of contrast. I’ll leave this one up to you.
The Fit - Get the fit right. It’s still a suited look. I feel most confident in a suit that is tailored and looks like it was made for me. It makes a surprisingly big difference once you’ve experienced it.
Aside from finding a good tailor near you, it can also mean spending a bit more. If that’s not in your budget, try a few brands first. Go for the one that fits you the best off the rack. You can ask a friend or a store associate to help you figure that out. Your other option is tailoring blazers or pants that you already own. That will feel like a brand new suit!
Regardless of how you go about it, I find a good fitting blazer creates that A-frame look with the shoulder seams actually hitting your shoulders, the button sitting where it doesn’t feel too tight, and with the sleeves allowing your shirt to peak out. Make sure your pants are the right length too! You can usually handle that with a cuff if you’re not tailoring and they’re more of a chino structure.
For this outfit, I got the blazer tailored a few months prior, but the pants are off the rack. They’re a slim fit and I cuffed them to get the length I wanted because it’s bare ankle season!
The Accessories - Make them count. This really goes for any type of suiting, matching or not. Shoes complete a look. Moreover, a different pair can change the whole thing. Spend some time choosing the right ones for your outfit. That means figuring out if you want them to stand out or subtly support. It’s another color and style option to think about, but there’s no quicker way to ruin a killer look than with a raggedy-looking pair of shoes.
There are a few other accessories I like to think about for this type of outfit as well: belt, tie/bow tie, watch, and pocket square. Each of them can add more pops of color or pattern. You can choose a few or go with them all. If the accessories coordinate in color or pattern, then you have a nice line to draw the eye around your outfit. I usually focus on the watch and shoes. The rest depends on my mood or where I’m going.
Whether to wear a belt is a common question I get. Do you want to know the secret? Just like any other part of your style; it’s completely your choice! I wore one with this look so that there was some color consistency like I mentioned above. I tend to go with a belt when styling separates to help punctuate the contrast from top to bottom. The belt creates a hard line. However, this look wouldn’t suffer without one. Try your look both ways before you leave the house to help you decide.
Going the suit separates route can provide you more creative freedom than picking a full suit. You get to explore a number of additional options than when your main two pieces match and are sort of chosen for you. If you enjoy the selection process, or are even just starting to get into it, this is a fun style challenge for you!
I hope you get to try styling your own suit separates and that you can use the tips we talked about. Focus on color, fit, and accessories to start out and you should be able to style your own perfect suit separates outfit! To help get you going, I linked some similar products below. Let me know how this goes for you.
Catch you here next time!
Helping you develop your style confidence.