A Gentleman…

Generally abides by the following best practices, and he only ventures if he knows better.  His style sends a message that is worth being mindful of, and both gents and especially dames will appreciate his taste.

First, a word about Jazz (video on right) by Dr. Andre Churchwell.

The Suit:

  • A Gentleman’s suit is always tailored, and he mindfully takes care of it.
  • The darker the suit, the more formal (generally).
  • Typically charcoal, gray, black, and especially navy are appropriate for a business setting.
  • A suit is one color or pattern – not a near match of between the jacket and pant.
  • The bottom button of a suit, jacket, or vest is always unbuttoned (here’s why).  Rest assured that it will not imply that you forgot.

The Shirt:

  • Generally, the more professional the occasion, the lighter a Gentleman’s shirt will be.
  • Button-downs are business casual or casual – they are not worn with ties.
  • Ideally, a shirt should fit a Gentleman like a suit – well.  Not too tight, but certainly not too large.
  • Collar styles are meant to compliment the wearer’s physique, visage and his tie.
  • All-white collars or cuffs are for wearing with jackets or suits only.
  • French cuffs are also for jackets or suits only.*
    • Sometimes a cuff might be “barreled” when wearing a sweater, in which case the jacket might not be present.
  • See Collar Guide

The Tie:

  • A Gentleman only wears a tie with a jacket or suit.  That being said, both should be worn often.
  • Cartoon characters and other scenery are best kept on the television.
  • There are many ways to tie a tie – tie it appropriate to the occasion, outfit, and your own personal body type.
  • A Gentleman knows how to tie a bow tie.  A long tie is not formal nor appropriate for black tie occasions.
  • A tie should compliment, or flatter, the Gentleman – not broadcast him.  Choose colors or patterns that work for both the suit and shirt.

The Braces:

  • Braces, or suspenders, are most often a superior choice to a belt when wearing a high quality suit.  They prevent burgeoning of the shirt and maintain trouser height along with the break at one’s shoe.
  • Braces should have loops for buttons inside the waist.  Clasps are never recommended as they damage the wool.

The Belt:

  • A belt should always match the shoes.
  • The metal of the belt should ideally coordinate with any other shoe buckles, suit buttons, cuff links, etc.
  • Do not wear a canvas belt with a suit.
  • If your pants have belt loops, you should probably wear a belt.

The Shoes:

  • A Gentleman always keeps his shoes shined.  A scuffed shoe says ‘irresponsible’ or ‘rushed’.
  • Black shoes are professional – not [business] casual.  Shades of brown compliment gray, navy, or khaki trousers very well.
  • Professional dress means black or cordovan/oxblood shoes.
  • Formal (white tie) and semi formal (black tie) call for patent leather shoes.
  • Boat shoes are for boats.  Do not wear them to dinner unless your table is in Bermuda.

The Socks:

  • A Gentleman’s socks match his pants – not his shoes.
    • If you are creative with them, you might also find colors which incorporate the pant color with a blend of others, such as in the case of argyle patterns.  But even here, they always complement his other colors.
  • His socks are pulled up and orderly as much of the time as possible.  Full calf length socks are ideal.
  • White socks are only for the gym.

The Accessories:

  • A Gentleman always carries a pocket square if he is wearing a jacket, especially a suit.  It needs not be ornately folded or loud.
  • A tie bar should not be distracting nor up on one’s chest.  Wear it your hand’s width above your belt so that it can do its job.
  • Cuff links are only worn with a jacket.
  • A watch is a man’s best friend.  It keeps him on time, and most everyone he meets will notice and or judge his watch.
    • Formal attire does not include a wrist watch.  Find a great pocket watch or delegate time keeping…
  • Sport sunglasses (Oakley’s in general) are never appropriate with a suit – or jacket – or dress shirt.

Back to Rules of Style

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