Men’s casual suit guide

Casual suits are a perfect way to mix a relaxed feel with fine tailoring. When updating your wardrobe the key aspect is finding the right cloth to match the purpose of your new garment. More specifically, when talking about casual suits for men, an important question and factor to keep in mind is how you can create a suit that will allow you to maximize its use. Since everything we produce is custom made we can help you browse through our wide range of suppliers and fabrics to find the perfect option.

What to consider when buying a suit

There are some ‘rules’ or guidelines when deciding on what suit to get, and as mentioned you always need to think about how you are going to use it. When booking a consultation with us, either in our showroom or online, we always like to start with a few basic questions to get an idea of what you are looking for. Some examples of these questions are,

“Is this your first suit?”
“Are you looking for something that you can wear all year round?”
“What is your current wardrobe status?”
“What do you feel that you are missing in your wardrobe today?”

This will determine what level of formality to aim for and to guide us through different fabrics and design options.

Casual suits for men - can it be done?

There are a lot of characteristics that define the level of formality of a suit. It is important to know that certain cloths (lustrous worsteds) are very traditional and more suitable for formal wear.

Fabrics that are very lustrous (or commonly mentioned as shiny), will create a very traditional suit that is perfect for formal events such as weddings, but also very formal work environments like law firms or finance businesses. Those are the kinds of suits that we never would recommend that you break up and wear separately. And the opposite goes for fabrics with more texture and less luster, they are more suitable for casual or semi formal occasions and can easily be worn as separates.

With that said, if the goal is to have a casual suit that works well both as a full suit but also in separates, the choice of fabric is of the essence. Less luster and more texture equals better suitability for casual wear.

Taupe flannel suit worn as separates

What makes a suit casual?

It’s not only the fabric that determines the level of formality, the structure is equally important. There are a lot of different fabrics to choose from but we want to start by mentioning 2 different examples that are very common when looking for a suit. Both are season neutral fabrics made from wool;

High twist wool commonly known as Traveller or Fresco depending on what mill it comes from. This cloth not very lustrous or textured which means that from a distance it can be perceived as a plain weave. A suit in high twist wool is easy to dress up or down and even wear in separates. We consider high twist wool a semi-formal suit which means that could also be made very formal, or very casual, depending on what design options you choose (lapels, pockets, jacket construction, etc – more on that below).

As the hopsack fabric has more structure we consider it more casual compared to the high twist wool, and definitely the opposite to the lustrous worsteds mentioned earlier. However, we mentioned that we can do a more casual version of the high twist wool suit by choosing different design options, that will, of course also apply to the hopsack weave. But even with equal design options as a high twist wool suit, the hopsack will still be the most casual choice due to the structure.

Hopsack weave

Seasonal fabrics - by nature richer in structure

The ultimate summer fabric – Linen

Linen is by nature a casual fabric since you can clearly see the structure but also due to the beauty of its natural tendency to crease. Linen is a fabric that creates a perfect casual suit, and at the same time, always gives you the option of using the jacket or trousers together with other garments as well.

Master of the winter – Flannel

Flannel is undoubtably the favorite fabric for colder months. The texture made from blending several different tones is visually appealing and combined with a soft brushed touch, there is no doubt why this is perfect in every sense. And as well as for the linen suit, the flannel suit is perfect to mix and match. Also keep in mind that the drape is by nature softer hence more elegant.

How to wear a wear a formal suit casually?

There are a couple of things to consider when it comes to a formal suit and number one is that you should never break it up, it should always be worn with the jacket and trousers combined. Due to this some people might find it hard to give it a casual approach but there are of course some tricks and tips you can use if you wish to dress down and wear it as a more casual suit.

· Wear it with a tone on tone knitwear

Skip the shirt and tie. The casual approach evolves within the styling so depending on the season, a knitwear or a t-shirt underneath will do the job.

· Choose less conservative footwear

We love oxfords and penny loafers, however, if the idea is to dress down a suit, you might want to re-think the choice of shoes to wear. If you want a refined look, Belgian loafers with rubber soles are perfect, if you are a marketing director, a pair of sneakers might feel more adequate. Find what shoes works best with your personality and that makes you feel comfortable while wearing.

· Less is more

Skip the accessories. Ties are a great accessory when dressing up, but if the intention is to dress down the suit, leave the tie for another occasion. As well, we believe less is more so you might as well skip the dapper handkerchief.

Taupe flannel suit with a brown roll neck

Create a casual suit with the right design options

If you want to have a more relaxed approach and make your suit look more casual, we would recommend the following design options for the jacket:

· Shoulders: Unconstructed. Avoid shoulder pads to create a softer approach and a more natural feel.

· Lapels: Go with a classic, Notch lapels. The peak lapels are a bit more festive, hence might feel a bit more dressed up (unless your choice is double breasted suit, than always go with the peak lapels)

· Pockets: Jet or patch? Flap pockets are most commonly used when it comes to traditional suits. When you think of a sports jacket, you think of patch pockets. However, if you have a patterned fabric or a double-breasted jacket, a jet pocket will help you have a cleaner look.

As for the trousers we would keep in mind that belt loops are more casual than side adjusters. Adding a belt will create a more casual touch to the trouser. The second thing you can do to give your trousers a more casual approach is to choose cuffs instead of a straight finish. The cuffs will create a more relaxed feeling.

Does the color of a suit affects the formality?

Yes, it does affect the formality. The colors also help you define for what seasons the garment is most suitable to use.  Dark colors, especially dark blues or dark greys, are easier to wear all year round, however, they can be used both for formal and casual occasions. Lighter shades of blue or grey, and other colors such as green, brown, or beige, often results in having a more seasonal look. They are, due to the color, more expressive and for that same reason, they will be better suitable for a more informal or casual look.

To round things up

After making all the right choices regarding fabric and design options, here are the most important do’s and dont’s for your casual suit look:

· Mix and match as much as the fabric allows it.

· Skip ties and pocket squares.

· Wear the right shoes.

· Knitwear over shirt, and if wearing a shirt, choose a tone on tone and match the color of your suit but also the texture of the fabric of the suit.

Last but not least, find inspiration and make sure whatever you wear, you feel comfortable with!