Suit separates – Guide

Although the modern suit has kept its shape for over 120 years or so, the way we wear and style the suit and with what is always changing. An input we often get from customers is ‘How can I wear and style my suits in separates, depending on formal or casual occasions and style?’

There are several factors to take into a count when styling a suit in separate jacket and trouser. Choosing a custom-tailored suit allows you to take such things into consideration, along with other personal needs and preferences.

Breaking the suit into separates is something we often recommend for customers who are looking for maximal use and versatility in their suit. Being able to use the trouser and the jacket separately with lots other pieces in the wardrobe is of course key. In order to succeed with ‘breaking up’ the suit, there are a few key factors we usually speak of and that we will highlight in this article.

Choosing the suit fabric

We always talk to our clients about the importance of choosing the right suit fabric to match your purpose. This is especially true when choosing a suit fabric that is going to be worn in separates. When choosing the fabric we talk about three things.

  • Formality (casual vs formal)
  • Texture of the suit fabric
  • Finish of the suit fabric

The level of formality you prefer in your suit determines the next two points, texture and finish. When it comes to formality in a suit to be worn as separates, there are a few things you should have in mind when choosing the right fabric. This is so it can be worn in both formal and more casual occasions.

  • Avoid choosing wool fabric with lots of lustre
  • Opt for a fabric with matte finish and lots of texture in the weave
  • Go for a brushed surface rather than a slate one

There are plenty of suit fabrics that works really well both as a formal or semi formal suit as well as breaking up into odd trouser and jacket worn with other garments in your wardrobe. A few of our favorite suit fabrics to wear and style in separates are these.

Hopsack suit fabrics

Suit fabrics suitable to break up into separate jacket and trouser

  • Flannel suit fabrics
  • Fresco suit fabrics
  • Hopsack suit fabrics
  • Cotton suit fabrics

A flannel suit can be worn almost all year round (in Sweden – sep through april), and has a beautiful matte, brushed surface that makes it perfect to wear also in separates. In fact, the flannel trouser in mid grey or charcoal grey is amongst our top three most sold trousers. A flannel jacket is also a perfect addition to a smart casual wardrobe, to style with a pair of selvedge denims or a cotton trouser.

The Fresco fabric is a so called ‘high twist wool’ fabric, known for its light, airy and wrinkle resistant characteristics. It’s usually worn during spring and summer in warmer countries, but can also be worn year round in a slightly heavier fabric, like our Fresco suits. It has a slightly more elegant look to it than the flannel, but also has a matte, structured surface perfect to wear as separate trouser and jacket.

A hopsack weave or fabric is perhaps the most formal one of our highlighted fabrics above, still with lots of structure and still as formal so it can be used in a wedding suit or any other formal occasion. Hopsack is also known to be the ‘classic’ choice when making a proper club jacket like our C01 & C02 jackets.

The cotton suit is increasingly popular because of its versatile approach to the wardrobe and styling. Cottons fabrics comes in many different weights and finish in term of surface. For optimal use as separates, we would recommend a slightly heavier weight, like our heavy cotton suits. This way you avoid the problem of wearing out the trouser before the jacket when choosing lighter colors (as trousers are often prone to more usage than the jackets

Suits with fabrics that works perfect in separates

Suit color choices

Naturally, the color choice of the suit will also affect the formality of the suit. We’ve listed a few of the tips we usually tell our customers when they require our help picking out a suit that works well as separates.

  • Choose a suit color you feel comfortable wearing
  • Opt for a color that works well with existing shirts and trouser you have in your wardrobe
  • If you’re uncertain of which colors suits you best – ask for our expertise

One of the most common colors that comes to mind when choosing a suit is blue. Although a dark navy or midnight blue suit is one the absolute cornerstones of any mans wardrobe, it can prove quite challenging when trying to use the trouser separately. Strangely enough, a midnight blue suit is perfect to wear for most occasions and also perfect to break up into an odd jacket, paired with a mid grey trouser. However, the blue trouser itself is a different story. It is one of the hardest colors to match and style properly.

The other ‘obvious choice’ for many when picking out a suit may be a grey tone. Beautiful as it is, the grey suit can sometimes prove to have the opposite challenge as the blue one, being very easy to use and break up into separate trouser (an odd mid or dark grey trouser is an absolutely must have as mentioned above). But the odd jacket in grey requires a bit more thought in terms of styling and choice of fabric.

So you might wonder ‘Which suit color should I choose when opting for a suit that is easily used in separates?’

We recommend looking towards earthy suit tones, such as beige, brown and taupe. These suit colors have a great way of enhancing the structure and beautiful matte finish of the fabric. Olive green suit fabrics can also have the same affect and is increasingly popular in cotton suit fabrics. If you want to browse through our range of suits and look at fabrics and colors you can check out all our suits here.

Beige brushed flannel fabric by Loro Piana

Design your suit to work well in separates

Making sure you design your suit for the range of occasions you will wear it in is crucial. A custom tailored suit, produced uniquely for you will allow you to choose and affect this. There are a few design aspects that are important if you want to wear your suit also as separate jacket and trouser

  • The construction and lining of your suit
  • Choosing the lapel and side pockets of the suit jacket
  • Choosing the waistband and hem of the trouser

The construction of your suit (meaning how it is built and produced with canvas mid layers) will affect both the formality of the suit as well as the overall feeling and comfort. For a more in depth article on this subject – see here. If you want a more casual suit and if you wear lots of casual tailoring and garments, choosing an unconstructed construction could be a good move. It creates a very relaxed and light feel. But if you tend to have a more formal or semi formal style, choosing a full canvas construction will improve both the overall drape (making it more steady) and the longevity of your suit jacket.

When it comes to choosing lining, it pretty much follows the kind of construction you choose. Choosing an ‘unlined’ jacket will create a more light and casual feel, whilst fully lined (which is standard to all of our suits) will create more stable, classic feel.

Suit jacket design

When breaking up the suit jacket and wearing it with separate trouser, shirt and/or knitwear for example, the design of the jacket becomes important. The buttoning and lapel style of your suit jacket along with the side pockets is definitely choices to consider in order to get the most versatile usage. A single breasted suit jacket is the most common choice when you want most usage of the jacket, although the double breasted suit jacket is considered more formal, it can in fact also be used as a separate jacket, given that you choose a good fabric, construction and overall design for that purpose. We recommend choosing round patch pockets or clean jet pockets for a suit jacket that will serve you also as a separate jacket. Patch pockets will of course create a much more relaxed and casual suit when wearing it in total, but also make it easier to pair with other fabrics and garments such as chinos, denim or relaxed tailored trousers.

Suit trouser design

When it comes to the design of your suit trouser, there’s really not many ways you can go wrong. The design options to consider are pleats, waistband and the hem. Most of our customers opt for a slightly higher waist rise (as seen on all of our products and models). This means that rouser pleats on the front is usually a very good option (both for formal and casual trousers) as it creates a tailored look along with some extra comfort around the seat area. Choosing a waistband with side adjusters is usually our recommendation when you order a suit as it creates a very clean and neat tailored look and because of the measurements being adapted perfectly for you, choosing belt loops is often more of a ‘nice accessory’ and a choice made when buying separate trousers such as chinos for example.

The hem of the trouser can be made with a 4cm or 5cm turnup, or you can choose to go with a clean hem without a turnup. The turnup is usually recommended for a more tailored look and looks very good together with the design choice of having pleats and side adjusters, rather than belt loops. This is very individual choice however, as lots of people also prefer the clean finish together with pleats, especially if you hav a bit wider cut of the trouser.

Single breasted, unconstructed Fresco jacket with jet pockets and 2,5 button lapel style