How to Wear a Three Piece Suit | Outfit Inspiration for Men


How to Wear a Three Piece Suit | Outfit Inspiration for Men

Indubitably, "three" has always been a powerful symbol of unity, strength, and balance. From the triumvirates that ruled ancient Rome to the three pr

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Indubitably, “three” has always been a powerful symbol of unity, strength, and balance. From the triumvirates that ruled ancient Rome to the three primary colors that form the basis of all visual art, there is an undeniable magic to the number three that has captivated humanity for millennia.

And when it comes to fashion, the power of three is just as potent. Consider the legendary trios of the Musketeers, the Bee Gees, and the Marx Brothers – each of these groups demonstrated the undeniable allure of three, showcasing how three distinct elements can come together to create something truly remarkable.

So it is no wonder the three piece suit has endured as a classic staple of men’s fashion. This season, as the trend makes its way from the runways of Pitti Uomo to the everyday man’s style arsenal, it’s time to embrace the transformative power of the three piece suit.

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But, as with all suiting, there are crucial elements that must be taken into consideration before selecting the perfect three piece suit. Each component must be meticulously crafted from fabric to cut to color to ensure the ultimate sartorial statement. By mastering these key points, one can unleash the full potential of the three piece suit and elevate their style to new heights.

According to Melbourne-based tailor Jack Liang, co-founder of Trunk Tailors, and Rhodes & Beckett in-house suit designer Christina Exie, the three piece suit is more than just a classy waistcoat. It’s time to perfect the trio — jacket, pants, and waistcoat.

Focus On the Fabric

During the summer season, it is imperative to prioritize the selection of fabrics that offer the utmost comfort, breathability, and versatility in order to combat the heat and minimize perspiration. One such fabric that fits the bill is a fresco, which is characterized by its crisp, cool, and crease-resistant nature. This fabric is designed with a high-twist yarn and is particularly well-suited for the Australian climate. In this regard, Liang recommends J&J Minnis’ Fresco II book to discerning fashion enthusiasts seeking the perfect summer attire.

As the winter season approaches, the focus shifts to textures and injecting a touch of character into the usual dull winter wardrobe. Liang suggests opting for flannel during this season while emphasizing the importance of keeping it lightweight. He draws attention to Fox Brothers’ new book Queen’s Award flannel, which weighs a mere 250 grams and was bestowed with the Queen’s Award for Industry in 2006. Liang notes that the new lightweight flannels are ideal for a three piece suit during the winter season.

Find Always The Right Fit

The three piece suit is renowned for its formal and sophisticated appeal, making it particularly suitable for special occasions and professional settings. Given its formal nature, a tailored fit is recommended in order to achieve the desired aesthetic. This entails ensuring that the shoulders of the suit align with the wearer’s shoulder edge while allowing for a flat hand to slide in effortlessly under the lapels once the jacket has been fastened. However, it is important to avoid excessively slim cuts and instead opt for a jacket that is roomy enough to allow for comfortable buttoning when the waistcoat is worn, as advised by Liang.

In addition, it is crucial to consider the fit of the pants. To achieve a contemporary finish, a half break to no break at all is recommended, with the pants cropped accordingly. Furthermore, Exie suggests incorporating a cuffed hem for an added touch of sophistication. By paying close attention to these details, one can ensure that their three piece suit exudes a timeless and refined appeal that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Embrace Colour

In contrast to the two-piece suit, which offers a vast array of colors and patterns, especially during the summer season, the three piece suit is typically confined to neutral and subdued hues. Liang highlights that given its dressier nature, the recommended starting point for a three-piece commission is typically navy, charcoal, or light grey. However, patterns are not entirely precluded from consideration. Exie suggests that those seeking a more daring aesthetic may wish to explore options such as a prince of wales check in a mid-grey tone. For a more understated pattern, the shadow checks in black are a suitable option. By carefully selecting the color and pattern of their three piece suit, one can achieve a stylish and sophisticated look that is perfectly suited to their individual tastes and preferences.

Mix ‘N’ Match Your Three Piece Suit

Should one desire to incorporate a waistcoat in a different color or pattern, it is possible to do so, provided certain precautions are taken. However, as Liang notes, it can be challenging to mix and match different components of a three piece suit. Exie, a traditionalist at heart, believes that a three piece suit should always be worn in its entirety and not separated. In the event that a more relaxed appearance is desired, it is preferable to eliminate an item rather than splitting the suit. As Exie suggests, one may wear the waistcoat and pants without a jacket, paired with a white shirt, rolled-up sleeves, and a tie.

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Another option is to substitute the waistcoat with a knit or vest as the ‘meat piece’ in the suit sandwich. Liang proposes trying a contrast color cardigan in cashmere or wool or a stylish olive army gilet with a cotton ensemble. Brunello Cucinelli’s sporty gilet is currently a popular mix-and-match piece that is perfect when worn as a vest replacement between a suit. By carefully selecting and pairing different pieces, one can create a unique and eye-catching look that suits their individual style preferences.

Three Piece Suit Waistcoat Rules

Three Piece Suit Waistcoat
Black Three Piece Suit Waistcoat

In order to achieve maximum comfort, the waistcoat of a three piece suit should be tailored with ample room. Its length should be long enough to cover the belt area of the pants.

“It is essential that there is no gap between the waistcoat and the trousers,” advises Jack. “Moreover, it is crucial to avoid showing any part of the shirt in the waist area, as it disrupts the overall harmony of the suit.”

To further enhance the fit, the waistcoat may be adjusted at the rear cinch, and it should always be fastened with all buttons, except for the last one, left undone. “Additionally, it is recommended to secure the jacket top button while leaving the second button undone,” recommends Exie.

Wear It Best

The classic three piece suit, consisting of a jacket, trousers, and matching waistcoat, is a formal attire that is the epitome of a black-tie dress. It sits above the two-piece suit and is comparable to the tuxedo in formality. “The more formal the occasion, the easier it is to find an excuse to wear it,” adds Liang.

The three piece suit is also appropriate to wear to highly social events, such as spring races and weddings, according to Exie. “Pair it with a light-toned block-colored oxford or twill shirt in soft pink, blue, or gray. For a slightly bolder look, opt for a vivid tone in a luxurious twill stripe or micro woven pattern,” adds Exie. Simply lighten the color and fabric, and you’re ready for a day party. “A cotton three piece suit is perfect for a garden party paired with a knit tie. One person who does this extremely well is Alessandro Squarzi,” says Liang.

However, the dapper suit is a little over-the-top for the workplace and difficult to pull off in the office. “Unless you’ve earned your stripes,” quips Liang.

Styling Do’s & Don’ts

  1. To achieve a contemporary, clean, and streamlined look, ditch the belt. However, if you’re attending a formal event, a belt can add a touch of elegance and formality to your outfit.
  2. Beware of bold patterns and garish colors when choosing your shirt. “Bold florals and gingham checks are a no-go,” warns Exie, the fashion expert.
  3. When it comes to choosing a tie, make sure it matches the base color of your suit or the highlight tone of your shirt. For instance, if you’re wearing a charcoal suit with a shirt that has a purple tone, a block-colored purple tie will complement your outfit perfectly, advises Exie.
  4. To ensure a well-proportioned look, opt for higher-waisted pants. “There should be no gap between your trousers and your vest, and your jacket should be able to button up comfortably without any pulling or stretching,” advises Liang.
  5. For a sophisticated and elegant look, go for a suit with a wider lapel. This will create a striking contrast between the sculpted waist and the broadness of your shoulders, says Liang.
  6. Want to add a personal touch to your outfit? Experiment with accessories such as pocket squares and timepieces, or try out unconventional items that put a twist on tradition. For example, why not try wearing a pocket watch instead of a wristwatch with your waistcoat for a touch of old-school elegance, suggests Exie.

FAQ on Three Piece Suit

Which fabric is best for a three piece suit?

The choice of fabric for a three piece suit depends on the season. For summer, it’s best to choose breathable and crease-resistant fabrics like linen. For winter, textured fabrics like flannel and tweed are a good option. Other popular choices for three piece suits include wool, cotton, and silk blends. Ultimately, the best fabric for a three piece suit will depend on the occasion, personal preference, and climate.

How should a three piece suit fit?

A three piece suit should be cut to provide enough room for the waistcoat underneath. The waistcoat should fit snugly against the body, with no gap between it and the trousers. The pants should be tailored to fit properly, with a half break or no break at all. The jacket should also be tailored to fit well, with the shoulders and chest providing a comfortable fit and the sleeves reaching to the wrist bone. The overall fit of the suit should be balanced and proportionate, with no pulling or stretching in any area.

How to wear a waistcoat with your three piece suit?

When wearing a waistcoat with your three piece suit, it should be worn close to your body with no gap between it and your trousers. The length of the waistcoat should cover the belt area of your pants. The waistcoat can be adjusted with the rear cinch to improve the fit, and it should always be buttoned up except for the last button. Additionally, the waistcoat should match the fabric of the jacket and pants and should be considered an integral part of the suit.