Ryan Gosling can thank his A-list status on one wardrobe essential: the power suit. As professionals, every guy needs one. And if possible, two. The hunt for this item may seem daunting. It’s the equivalent of the little black dress for women, an item which a girl never stops looking for yet probably has twenty of in her closet.
The power suit says, “I mean Business.” You’re free to interpret the capital B any way you like.
A good suit goes a long way in making a lasting first impression. Here are some important do’s and do not’s when shopping for this item:
- Get it tailored. A power suit should fit like a glove. Make sure the shoulders, arm-length (cuffs), back, waistline, and pant cuffs fit correctly. The tailoring doesn’t have to be European-cut to make you stand out. Give it the ol’ jumping jack test when doing a final fitting. If you can do them without having the suit “sag” in any one area, than you have a winner.
- Black first, then gray, then navy blue. I tend to gravitate towards color, but when building a suit wardrobe, black is the staple. Ask yourself, “Can this suit work at a funeral, a wedding reception, and a post-apocalyptic basement rave party?” But in all seriousness, be sure the suits works with a V-neck sweater, a vest, and tee-shirts. When trying the suit on, make sure it looks good with a solid color tie (skinny or not), a simple patterned tie, and a bow tie.
- Embrace modernity! Two button suits are good. A three-piece suit is nice, but can require other details (shoes, cuff links, etc.) to pump up the contemporary vibe. Double-breasted suits are on their way back in (again, thanks to Ryan Gosling).
- Avoid overwhelming features at first. Risk-taking with too-prominent pin stripes, crazy plaid patterns (yikes), or funky buttons should be left until after you have the classic look down.
- But when you’re ready, buy a suit in a different color. Go for one in chocolate brown, forest green, maroon, etc. Beige can look nice, as well. I am not advocating for pastels or fluorescents.
- Regarding the details – the suit is only as good as its company. Be sure to have a good pair of black lace-up shoes. Loafers are fine, but sleekness counts. Pointed-toe shoes make statements. As do a good pair of silver cuff links. If you are feeling up to it (and your dress code allows it), skip the socks.
- Matchy-matchy isn’t necessary. For example, if you are wearing a gray suit, try out a yellow or tan belt and burgundy lace-ups. A navy suit pairs well with dark brown. But leave the black suit alone. Sometimes I play a game and see how much black I can pile onto myself!
When in doubt, keep it simple. Put on the following: a jet black suit, a high-starch count white button-up, a black skinny tie, and black leather lace-ups (patent leather preferred). Now tell me you don’t feel a little bit like Mr. Gosling.