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5 new ways to dress your suit up (or down)

One suit five ways image of male model in suit


Tailoring needn’t just be for the 9-5. Unleash a suit’s potential with these five tips to dress it up or down – with a little help from Paul Smith.

If your office has a casual dress code, invest in a suit that can be worn on a multitude of occasions. Jackets that are very formal, such as pinstripe or double-breasted, don’t necessarily lend themselves to being dressed down with, say, T-shirts or polos. Meanwhile, tailoring that is too casual, think bold checks or bright colours, can similarly appear awkward alongside a dress shirt or polished oxfords. Play it safe – but still stylish – with neutral tones (grey, navy or dark brown) and no patterns. This Paul Smith Damson wool jacket, with its subtle notched lapel, should let you flit between work and play easily.


O N E


One suit five ways image of male model in suit Paul Smith shirt, tie, handkerchief and bag.


T H E L O O K

Two-piece suit, button-down oxford shirt, tie and pocket square.

W H E R E

Post-work drinks.

H O W

Swap a dress shirt for an oxford, and switch in a slightly more extravagant, thin blade statement tie and pocket square. The purists might whine that the only place for an oxford is atop a pair of chinos, but this combination will add a touch of American preppiness to your outift.

You can even try something more flamboyant with your pocket square placement, such as the dunaway fold (pinch the middle of the fabric with one hand and, with the other, pull the four corners up). Alternatively, do as we do – stuff it in and yank it about until it looks the part.


T W O


PS by Paul Smith jeans $209 and shirt $269. Paul Smith handkerchief $99.95. Common Projects sneakers* $549. PS by Paul Smith jeans and shirt. Paul Smith handkerchief. Common Projects sneakers.


T H E L O O K

Suit jacket, casual shirt and jeans.

W H E R E

Saturday night down the pub.

H O W

Throwing a jacket over a shirt and jeans is a fail-safe smart-casual look. Well, almost, so long as you keep in mind the need to restrain yourself. Distressed, bleached or multi-coloured denim has the whiff of David Brent about it in this mix, so keep things simple with navy, selvedge denim and a light-cloth oxford shirt in a neutral colour and with a subtle pattern. To finish, channel the signature style of a better David (Lynch) and give your outfit a flick of 2017 Twin Peaks quirkiness by fastening your top button to wear an air tie.


T H R E E


Paul Smith shirt $319, shoes $399, tie $169.95 and handkerchief $99.95. Happy Socks socks $16.95. Paul Smith shirt, shoes, tie and handkerchief. Happy Socks socks.

T H E L O O K

Two-piece suit, colourful shirt and tie.

W H E R E

Cocktail bar.

H O W

If you want to make an impression, mix in a bold print shirt and tie. There is a fine line between looking like you’re making a statement and looking like you don’t know what you’re doing, so stick to similar or complementary colours. Here, our rustic jacket is paired with a similarly earthy toned shirt, tie, socks and pocket square. The splash of blue on the tie, meanwhile, works perfectly to offset all those reds.


F O U R


Paul Smith polo $129, handkerchief $99.95 and bag $799. Common Projects sneakers* $549. Paul Smith polo, handkerchief and bag. Common Projects sneakers.


T H E L O O K

Two-piece suit, polo shirt and sneakers.

W H E R E

Summer evenings.

H O W

This was Don Draper’s weekend staple, but give it a modern twist with sneakers and a backpack. To keep this smart, ensure everything is logo-free and neutral (leave the rugby top in the dressing room). The best part of swapping in a polo is that by mixing up the fabrics you can subvert this look to adapt to any time of the year. A knitted number is ideal for winter drinks, while a Federer-esque linen is perfect for a barbeque. This cotton-piqué material, though, adapts to any occasion.


F I V E

One suit five ways image of male model in suit Paul Smith bag. PS by Paul Smith coat. Common Projects sneakers.

T H E L O O K

Parka and leather backpack.

W H E R E

The commute.

H O W

Wet weather gear shouldn’t just keep you dry. This parka complements the suit and its clever Pertex Shield AP material will ensure you don’t sweat. Meanwhile, dark leather backpacks have become a staple of menswear in the last two years due to their flexibility – you can carry one to your business meeting, on a weekend trip or even on your back during a cycle into work. This simple monochrome example has the advantage of being able to be paired with just about any outfit. Finish up your look with high-top sneakers.

Photography by Adrian Price

Words by Adam Thorn 

Styling by Melissa Boyle 


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