Home Beauty & Style How to Style a Three-Piece Suit

How to Style a Three-Piece Suit

by Dangula Bingula

There are few outfits more elegant on a man than a classic three-piece suit. Timeless and stylish, whatever type you choose to wear, you will look smart and presentable every time. The availability of classic, quality off the peg suits is something that has made wearing them easier; no longer do you have to spend time with a tailor and pay the earth for your suit, you can simply find one in your size, and appropriate for your taste.

There are, however, some rules that you should take note of when wearing a three-piece. Whether you are attending a formal function, wearing it for work, or simply dressing up for a night out (like this), there is a right way and a wrong way to wear and accessorise your suit, so here are our tips that will help you be the one who gets it right!

The Golden Rules

Let’s be clear here: wearing a suit properly not only make you look good, you will feel good, too. The great thing about three-piece suits these days is that they have moved on a long way from the stuffy look of old. You can find some truly wonderful designs, materials and colours, and yet still keep the traditional three-piece look. If you click here you’ll see what we mean and perhaps get some inspiration for your choice.



If you’re not used to wearing a waistcoat, it’s the place to start. There is one strict rule, and it applies no matter the type of waistcoat you are wearing or whether you are dressing formal of informally. You always leave the bottom button of the waistcoat undone. This has been a tradition for centuries now, made popular by a famous king, and admittedly it does look better. Furthermore, your waistcoat should be long enough to cover the beltline of your trousers, but no longer!

Now we need to talk about the jacket. The suit jacket is a wonderful item of clothing, especially when fitting well. The fit is in fact essential; a jacket that is too big will always look too big, and one that is too small will feel uncomfortable and look tight. When shopping for suits, try them on. Have someone else with you to check out the fit and always make sure the shoulders and arms are fitted nicely, you don’t want them sloppy or loose.


Let’s talk about buttons. Do you leave the jacket unbuttoned, or do you button it up? Once again, there is a golden rule, and it is there not for fun, but for necessity! If you have a jacket with two buttons – usually a single-breasted jacket – then you must always button the jacket when standing. But, and here’s the odd bit, never the bottom button.

With three buttons on a double-breasted jacket, you can button either the top two, or the middle one, but again, never the bottom button. The reason for this is the cut of such a jacket, and that bottom button is there for symmetry only. You can unbutton when seated, as this will alleviate creases and make you much more comfortable.

Shirt and Shoes

There was a time when two rules applied to shirt and shoes. One stated that a ‘gentleman only ever wears a white shirt’ and, where shoes are concerned, many people still use the adage ‘never brown in town’!

These are different times and while there are occasions when a white shirt is a must – perhaps it has been specified on an invitation – colours are perfectly acceptable. We will say, however, that it is the opinion of many fashion commentators that only white will do for formal occasions, and it does look right.


A couple of rules for shirts with suits: always button the top button, and never let the cuffs cover your hands. If you wear a tie, make sure it is tied properly, and that it looks right with the colour of the suit you are wearing. We recommend tying a Windsor knot for the tie too as it’s the neatest and sleekest. As for shoes, black is the simplest choice, but if the suit is predominantly brown or warmer toned, matching shoes will look best.


There’s something very stylish about wearing a suit – we almost forgot, add a pocket square for the final touch – so follow these simple rules, and you will be the one who looks the part wherever you are this summer.