Choosing a suit is a daunting task. you’ve got fabric, color, fit and so on to worry about. But what if we wanted to be a little more stylish and add another level of complexity? Welcome to the world of three-piece suits.
A three-piece suit is essentially a suit with a waistcoat. The three pieces are (obviously) the suit jacket, the pants and the respective waistcoat.
Since most suits are made of only two pieces, a three piece suit will give you that unique edge you will need in a formal situation. While most guys are still wearing their two-piece suits, by adding an extra layer into yours, you will make a strong fashion statement.
But you can’t do this every time. If it’s really hot outside, wearing a waistcoat is not a really great idea. You’ll most likely want to remove even the suit jacket in order to keep yourself cool.
Who used to wear a three-piece suit?
The three-piece suit was worn by many celebrities, including Clark Gable and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Here’s Clark in one of his suits (look carefully and you’ll spot the vest):
The benefits of wearing a waistcoat
The waistcoat isn’t there just to look good – it has some other advantages too. First off, it has a trimming effect!
If you’re wearing a light-colored (or a white) shirt, a darker waistcoat will distract the attention from your belly and up to your neck and face.
Second, it helps keep the tie in place. If you’re not wearing a tie clip, chances are your tie will bounce around as you make different movements. A waistcoat removes the need for a tie clip and makes sure the tie stays in its place. The side effect of that is that there’s a smaller chance that the tie knot will deviate to either left or right.
Confession: I’ve actually taken a GREAT picture in a two-piece suit, only to realize that my tie knot was off to the right. The windy conditions as well as the lack of a waistcoat made that unfortunate accident happen.
Never wear loafers with a three-piece suit. Such types of suits require a higher level of formality so always go for lace-up shoes.
Also, never wear a waistcoat from another suit. Mixing and matching suit pieces is always a bad idea.
Just like when buying any other suit, make sure you stick to either wool or cotton. Wool blends such as tweed or flannel are also great.
Stay away from polyester, nylon and any synthetic blends.
What suit color should I choose and how should I match it with my shirt, tie and pocket square?
Well, this is a pretty long answer. I covered suits in depth in my book which is part of the Be Stylish ™ Package but I’ll give you a few tips right here.
First off, consider your skin tone. If you have light skin complexion, go for a lighter suit. Light grey, blue, light green and beige are great suit colors.
On the other hand, if you have darker skin, think of purchasing a darker-colored suit, such as navy blue, dark brown or dark grey.
Careful, though! If you have light skin but you want to wear the suit for business situations well… in that case you DON’T want a light colored suit. Why? Because you need to also consider the seriousness of the situation. Dark and medium colors are recommended for you in such cases. Get a lighter colored suit for weddings and any other non-business-related occasions.
Take a look at this Simon Spurr 3-piece suit below. Notice how the guy has a light skin complexion and the suit is medium gray. This is what he should be wearing on a business meeting.
Any shade of gray that is lighter than the one in the picture and he’d be sending the wrong message to his business partners.
Want to go that extra mile?
If you want to look even more stylish in your three piece suit, there are a few things you can do.
Number one: get a wrist watch and have its watchband match your shoes and belt.
Number two (this is getting interesting, isn’t it?): wear a pocket square.
Number three (you’re going to love this one): wear a watch chain on your suit vest. Something like this:
This suit is from Indochino, by the way.
Number four (for an extravagant yet stylish look): attach a pocket watch to your watch chain described above. Very few people wear pocket watches but if you’re really looking to show off amazing style and class… go ahead and do it.