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The Starter Guide to Suit Accessorizing

Putting together a sharp, formal outfit takes more than just throwing on a dress shirt, suit jacket, and matching trousers. It's easy to overlook, but having the right accessories can take your style to the next level. Without them, your suit will look bland and incomplete—like a meal without seasoning.

Accessories can seem complicated at first. In this post, we'll walk you through the must-have accessories and styling tips so you can wear them confidently. Let's get you looking sharp!


Neckties - Your Outfit's MVP

If one accessory deserves MVP status, it's the necktie. There's no faster way to take your style up a notch than by rocking a killer tie. But choosing one can be tricky business. When standing in front of the overwhelming tie display at the department store, ask yourself:

What color shirt will I wear this with? Matching ties to shirts might sound complicated, but here's an easy rule: wear a tie color contrasting the shirt. If rocking a crisp white dress shirt (a fine choice!), don't choose a white tie. That's fashion-foul territory, my man! Instead, go bold with a color that pops against white—like navy blue, maroon, or black. The contrast will help the tie stand out and make your entire outfit look more polished and purposeful.


About tie width, stick to standard widths between 3 to 3 1⁄2 inches. Super skinny ties can look clownish. But wearing a 5-inch fat tie with a slim suit creates awkward proportions. As Goldilocks would say, choose a tie width that's "just right."


Tie Bars—Small But Mighty Accessories

You've chosen a killer tie to compliment your dress shirt. But nothing's more annoying than having your tie flap everywhere. The solution is convenient and stylish: a tie bar. Also called a tie clip or tie tack, it's a tiny metal clasp that affixes your tie to your shirt.


At first, wearing an accessory to hold your tie in place might seem silly and unnecessary. But wait to knock the tie bar until you try it! Tie bars aren't just functional—they add polish to any dress shirt and tie pairing. Plus, they only cost $10 to $30, making tie bars an affordable way to step up your accessories game.


When finding the right tie bar, get one that matches the metal of any other jewelry you're sporting—like a watch or cufflinks. For versatility's sake, I recommend sticking to silver or gold tones. That way, you can mix and match tie bars effortlessly with different dress shirts and ties in your wardrobe.


Cufflinks for Instant Sophistication

As you're gearing up in your dress shirt, you might notice it's missing something: buttons at the cuffs. No sweat—that means it's the perfect opportunity for cufflinks! These little accessories slide through the shirt cuff holes to fasten them together, lending your outfit instant sophistication.

From understated metal pairs to ones glimmering with stones, the design options of cufflinks are endless. While elaborate, funky pairs have their place, start with something classic. Think simple silver, gold, black, or mother-of-pearl cufflinks to complement most outfits.


You'll need cufflinks to complete the look when wearing French cuff shirts sans buttons. But even shirts with regular button cuffs can benefit from these accessories. Leave the last button or two undone, then slide cufflinks into place for decorative flair.


Sunglasses—Not Just for the Beach!

Now, what are you thinking: Sunglasses with a suit? That can't be right! But just as sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful UV rays at the beach, they can shield your peepers while wearing formal attire outdoors. Sunglasses are a smart move and accessory, especially if mingling outdoors at garden parties or afternoon weddings.


Here are some surprising stats: 5% to 10% of skin cancer cases happen around the eyelids. Why? The thin skin gets damaged from the sun's UV exposure over time. But quality sunglasses lessen that risk substantially.

Check the tag to ensure the lenses offer 100% UV protection when shopping for sunglasses. Also, consider the venue where you'll wear them. Rocking retro' 80s-style shades might work for a funky art show or music festival. But classic aviator or wayfarer shapes feel most natural with tailored suits.


No need to wear shades indoors like a celebrity hiding from paparazzi! But do keep quality sunglasses on hand to accessorize sunny outdoor occasions.


Wristwatches—A Timeless (Pun Intended!) Accessory

Glancing at your smartphone screen reveals the time, sure. But carrying technology in formal settings can seem uncomfortable. Meanwhile, watches add refinement and sophistication for instant style upgrades from your wrist.


While casual plastic watches have their place, leather and metal banded timepieces look solid better when worn with spiffy suits. Silver and gold tones complement most colors. But keep in mind that wearing watches with colorful face dials can work. The trick is keeping other accessories minimal and letting the vibrant wristwatch shine as the outfit's focal point.


When the hours grow late at events, checking an elegant watch beats fumbling for your phone and awkwardly illuminating the screen. Wearing this timeless (pun again!) accessory encourages more conversations than anti-social phone scrolling ever will!


Pocket Squares—The Artful Accessory

Regarding suit accessories, pocket squares remain controversial...delightfully so! This fancy pocket puff offers the most significant chance to showcase personal style.


Should you finally try taming this wild accessory? I say go for it! After all, life gets boring without a bit of rebellion now and then. When experimenting with pocket squares, it helps to know the rules before skillfully breaking them:

●        Keep the pocket puff lightweight—not bulky or padded like winter gloves shoved in there.

●        Vibrant colors/patterns can overwhelm a suit—stick to simple colors/textures for beginners.

●        Have fun with different folds! TV fold, two-point fold, puff fold—plenty of creasing techniques to try.

●        Place in the jacket breast pocket at an angle—not redundantly parallel to the floor like with pens or eyeglasses


Tasteful rule-bending with pocket squares displays confidence and skill! But when starting, remember less is more. Allow colorful accessories to take center stage against the suit's neutral background. Soon, this troublemaking accessory won't cause any trouble—only compliments!


Socks—A Sneak Peek of Self-Expression

Dress footwear gives your feet an air of sophistication. Lucky socks get to come along for the fun secret ride! While hidden most of the time, flashes of vibrant socks make surprise peek-a-boo appearances when you walk or cross your legs.


What does stylish footwear pair best with suits? No-show loafer socks reign supreme for discreet comfort without interrupting shoe silhouettes. But brightly colored dress socks offer another chance for subtle self-expression. Some tips for having fun with socks:


●        Prioritize comfort with moisture-wicking, padded dress socks to prevent blisters.

●        Match sock color to your trouser leg or tie for a cohesive look.

●        Don't be afraid to confidently reveal more ankle/calf wearing colorful socks. But not too much—we aren't rocking the jazzy 90s NBA draft suits here!

●        Patterned socks like polka dots, argyle, and subtle stripes complement solid suits.

●        Step out of your comfort zone by trying textured socks with sheen or fluffy socks.


At the end of the day (or event), socks don't make or break an outfit. But complementary colors/patterns do contribute to a complete, curated look.


Belts Put The "Waist" In Waistcoat!

We have covered lesser-known accessories like tie bars already. But one unsung wardrobe hero anchors formal outfits the right way: the belt. Sure, belts prevent embarrassing situations like flashing plumber's crack. Beyond practical considerations, they refine silhouettes for flawless presentations.


To prevent suit pants slippage, slide belts through trouser loops until the leather tip barely shows by your waistcoat buttons. Sound complicated? Here's a cheat sheet:


●        Brown belts typically match brown/tan footwear best.

●        Black belts unite darker suits and black shoes/boots.

●        Texture adds depth. Leather, braided, woven, suede—get creative!

●        If wearing a vest, match metals. Silver buckle with silver vest button studs, for instance

●        Cinch belts snugly—not painfully tight! —allowing one finger to slide between torso and leather.


Some men skip belts, preferring suspenders or side adjusters worn inside pants. But for ease without sacrificing polish, the versatile belt remains timeless for a reason. As they say about fine bourbon or whiskey, a well-made belt only improves with age!


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