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Men’s Style Tips #2: The Suit, by Joe Ottaway

Blog • 18 March 2016


This week our good friend Joe Ottaway, professional stylist to some of the world’s most dapper gents, runs us through his top five style tips about the suit.

Whether you need a suit for work, an upcoming interview, or in preparation for wedding season, these five quick style tips can help you choose the right suit and keep it looking great.

1. Should I choose a patterned suit or plain?

Plain coloured suits are the simplest choice but don’t overlook a pattern.

When considering a patterned suit there is one simple rule Joe suggests and that is, keep it subtle.

A pinstripe suit can make the wearer look taller and slimmer, but avoid bold ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ pinstripes.

Stick to a fine line or ‘soft chalk’ for pinstripes or any other pattern.


With patterned navy trousers, keep the socks a plain, block colour. Our Routemaster Red socks are the perfect final detail to bring the look together.

2. The Buttons

Buttons have much more of an impact on how your suit looks than you might think.

Suits usually come either double or single breasted.  Double breasted is when buttons appear on both sides of the blazer and overlap when buttoning up, as shown in the image below.

If you’re opting for a traditional double-breasted suit then Joe stresses, make sure it is slim fitting.  Too loose or too baggy and your body shape will look bulky.


The other option is the single-breasted suit, which is seen below.  This offers a narrower fit, which can make the wearer look taller, as well as accentuate the shoulders.

Another general rule is to keep the bottom button undone.  Rather than just purely a traditional thing, doing this actually gives the suit more shape and flexibility when you wear it.


One of our favourite looks is this simple well-fitting navy coloured suit.  You can see the impact of keeping the bottom button open when sitting down slightly.

Here we’ve completed the look with a pair of dapper Pink Friday Simply Sartorial socks of course.

3. Taking care of your suit

Once you’ve chosen the style of suit that you like, you want it to last for as long as possible.  A good quality suit is an investment that can last a lifetime if cared for properly.

So how can you look after you suit, to get the most out of it?

Joe has a few top tips here. Firstly dry clean your suit as infrequently as possible, to preserve the integrity of the material.  Over-cleaning will wear your suit and colours faster.

Similarly, it’s a simple one, but try not to overwear one suit.  Have a few that you can rotate around.


Finally, another great tip is to always buy extra pairs of trousers when you’re purchasing your suit.  Trousers always experience more wear, so it means you can extend the lifetime of your overall suit by three or four times.

One of our range of socks was designed by Joe Ottaway, which are perfect to wear with a navy blue suit.  Try our Ottaway Burnt Orange.

To see the rest of Joe’s range click here: Ottaway Range.

4. Should I wear a tie?

In recent years there has been a shift away from wearing a tie.

However, it is a nice addition on occasion and Joe has a couple of tips.

Firstly, keep it plain rather than patterned.  If the tie is the same colour range as your suit, wear a different shade. For example, if wearing a blue suit, try a darker blue tie.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer a different colour of tie make sure it compliments your suit colour.

London Sock Company Tie Houndstooth Silk David Gandy

We recommend a sophisticated Soft Two-Tone Navy Tie from our David Gandy style collection.  We can’t guarantee you will look like Gandy, but it will look impeccably sharp.

5. Which shoes to wear with my suit?

The final piece to the puzzle is finding the perfect shoes for your suit.  Shoe style can be as individual as your sock style choices, however, Joe has some simple tips to point you in the right direction.

Firstly, try and choose the right style of shoe for the occasion.  For example, some styles can appear more casual than others.  Generally, the more formal the occasion, it’s safest to keep to a simpler or plainer design.

As with most things, it’s better to invest in quality leather shoes where you can.  They will be more comfortable, they last longer, and your feet will thank you for it.

When wearing a Navy or Grey suit, you can experiment with different shoe colours, for example browns, brogues or suede.  You can also try matching a pair of brown shoes to your belt for example, to add a nice detail.

Lastly, it seems really obvious, but if you’re wearing a black suit, stick to black shoes.


One of our most popular formal sock styles, perfect for a black tie event, is our Spot of Style Classic Black.

These offer a fine white spot detail in a black sock; both traditional and dapper when paired with well polished black shoes.

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