Does Your Business Attire Feel Boring?
You are young, you have your style basics nailed but there is something missing right? Where is the YOU coming out of your outfit? This is a very easy problem to fix. That fix is suit accessories. In this article you will find 7 ways to accessorise your suit and take your style to the next level.
If you have seen the movie “Gone in 60 seconds“, Nicolas Cage goes to a Ferrari dealership and talks to the salesman.
“Roger”, he tells him.
“I saw 3 of these Ferraris parked outside the local Starbucks. There’s too many self-Indulgent wieners in this city with too much bloody money! Now, if I was driving a 1967 275 GTB four-cam…“, says Cage.
“You would not be a self-indulgent wiener, sir… You’d be a connoisseur.”, says Roger.
Do you get it now?
From Hero to Super-Hero
I had the same issue pop up in my head about a week ago while I was considering going to the cinema to watch Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp. As a Marvel fan I thought “Hey, what defines my personality when I walk in the office or a bar?“.
That was the moment I knew that it was time to step it up just enough to let my personality shine in the sea of charcoal and navy suits out there. I had an epiphany and I knew exactly what to do.
Fasten your seat belts because we are going for a ride in the world of suit accessories.
1) Tie Bars – Avengers Assemble
A tie bar is one of those little details that is not only practical but also very unique. Essentially a tie bar is an accessory that holds the tie in place on your shirt. It is subtle, sleek and noticeable. Long gone are the days where you walk in the street and your tie is all over the place.
The tie clip is usually silver, grey or gold but you should remember to always try to match suit accessories to the rest of your outfit. If you have a silver diver watch, go with a silver tie clip. It really shows you pay attention.
How can you show off your personality through your tie bar? There are hundreds of thousands of unique designs there which can bring a little bit of flair to your suit. This is exactly why I chose to go for this beautiful Iron Man themed silver tie bar by John Henric.
It is subtle enough but noticeable and a definite conversation starter. People will know that I have the confidence to pull this off and get a general feeling of my personality.
Pro Tip #1: Do not wear a tie clip with a waistcoat because they serve the same purpose. Show off your sartorial knowledge.
Pro Tip #2: Your tie bar should extend to about 3/4 of your tie’s width. Half or full width is acceptable but I feel that the 3/4 is the sweet spot. You should avoid any tie clips that are wider than your tie.
Pro Tip #3: You should place the tie clip approximately where your rib-cage starts between the 3-4th button of your shirt.
2) Socks – The Perfect Suit Accessories
If socks are to be considered clothing or accessories depends on each person. For me personally traditional socks are clothing. However, with the introduction of companies like Happy Socks and the general shift towards business casual, socks have become a playground of creativity.
We had a new employee at the office named Fredrik last month. He is rather young and if I had to guess I would say between 22-26. He was sitting at his desk dressed in business casual attire. I was going to a board meeting and while turning to say hi to him I saw his socks. Colourful and full of oranges.
I thought to myself: “Not something I would wear, but it looks great on him! He looks like an approachable friendly guy!“.
This is the impact of a different kind of socks. It is something that is generally hidden but when it makes its appearance you can see the seriousness or the playfulness of a person. Their character. Their mood.
For an even bolder approach, check out Happy Socks. They are too bold for my taste and I like to match my suit and pants colours but they sure fit some people exceptionally.
Pro Tip: If you work in a business formal environment or have a very important meeting, I would advise not using bold socks. Unless you are the boss. Then do whatever you want.
3) Pocket Squares – A Splash Of Colour
When you wear a suit and a tie, you look like….a man in a suit and a tie. Surprised?
Add however a colourful pocket square and instantly you become someone else. Fold it in a hundred different ways, depending on the occasion and you have just added flair and a touch of dapper in your outfit. Pocket squares are underrated and that works in your advantage. A good pocket square will show impeccable style and taste. It will also make you look more mature if you are a younger gentleman.
The fold makes them also very versatile. Going formal? Do the presidential fold. Going to a roof-bar? Casually tuck it in.
Pro Tip #1: Avoid matching your pocket square colour with your tie or shirt. It is supposed to compliment your outfit, not take away from it.
Pro Tip #2: You can be more adventurous and choose patterns and multiple colours. Just make sure that it has the colour or the shade of the colour of the rest of your outfit. You will thank me later.
4) Ties – A Statement
People judge you for what you wear. Like it or not, it’s a fact. Before they even get to know you they make subconscious assumptions based on what your wear. Ties are one of the best suit accessories to amplify that statement and you can use the colour palette to achieve your goals.
For business formal I would use solid colours, while for business casual there is a bit more leeway to experiment with colour and patterns. In the end it is your choice. Here is what different colours mean:
- Red: Red conveys power. It implies you mean business and shows dominance, authority, strength. No wonder many political leaders use it.
- Blue: Confidence and trust is the name of the blue game. One of the most classic ties around. Goes with anything in any setting. A safe choice and you should go with different textures such as grenadine or patterns.
- Green: Reliability, accessibility, energy is what defines green. One of my personal favourites and great for the younger gentleman.
- Orange: A true wild card this one. Creativity, enthusiasm and open-minded persons wear these ties. They are memorable and create good first impressions.
- Yellow/Gold: Rarely seen, but they will make an impression and make you look confident and that you are not afraid of challenges.
- Brown: Earth tones are great. They portrait you as a stable dependable person and the warmer tone makes you approachable. Salesmen wear a lot of brown. Can come off as a little boring, but it goes fantastic with green and grey.
- Pink: The advantages is that you will come off as a youthful energetic person but can also perceived as inexperience and immaturity. Go with Lilac instead for calmness.
Now, use all this as advice and plan for each occasion. Experiment with colours, patterns, textures. Make a tie your signature item, something that people will remember you for.
5) Briefcase – A Trusty Companion
One of the most underrated items in a man’s disposal is his briefcase. When you wear a suit you should avoid any kinds of cheap laptop bags or backpacks. It will make you look like an amateur. While it is not a direct suit accessory or something that you can be easily unique with, you can distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack with a good leather bag as the one in the picture above.
A good leather bag is expensive but it is a lifelong investment and a one time purchase. It will get better with time and accompany you in your business journeys. Feeling adventurous? Add a scarf like above. Going on a weekend trip often? Invest on a duffel bag instead.
It can be a very memorable piece that will attract some looks.
Pro Tip: Go for shorter classic handles to reduce wrinkling. Avoid using shoulder straps, it looks amateur.
6) Lapel Pins And Cuff Links
This is uncharted territory for me but I can see the value. They are both stylish suit accessories that have different styles and are appropriate for most occasions. Lapel Pins can be especially playful and creative so if you are aiming for that look, the sky is your limit. Cuff links can be a nightmare to put on but have a profound effect on how your suit looks. This is especially true with french cuffs. I would stick with the more classic styles, as it is something you will not see around too much. This means it is a unique expression on their own.
7) Cologne- Your Invisible Part
This is a big one gentlemen! Your scent is an invisible part of you and an extension of your style. The effect it has on people is amazing, especially on the way they will remember you. Have you ever wondered about that woman that always smells good? Hard to forget her no?
A great distinctive but not overly strong fragrance puts you ahead of the pack. You know why? Because most men do not wear fragrance. Here is where you can shine my friend!
People will know when you enter the room. They will remember you as the person that smells great. Also, don’t forget that a man likes to use his eyes, while a woman will use her nose and other senses. It will complete your outfit. You want to be around people that smell nice, not bad right?
Avoid very strong scents or spray too much. It can be too overwhelming. Find the right balance and remember that choosing a fragrance is important. You have to take note of the climate that you live in, your season and also how your skin responds to it.
My personal favourite is the Dolce & Gabbana “The One“. It has a beautiful, subtle distinctive smell that gets many compliments. It’s only issue is that it does not last so long compared to other colognes.
Bonus: Watches, Shoes And The Rest
I did not mention these important categories for one simple reason. I take it as a given that you are wearing a classic timepiece and classy leather shoes. There are some bold designs out there but I am more traditional. I remember a man was sitting on a garden pastry shop in Stockholm wearing a beige suit with bold dual colour oxfords and a hat. It looked great on him and I told him exactly that. Do not be afraid to give genuine compliments.
Pro Tip: While our office desk and car are not accessories, they show the state of our lives and the organisation (or lack of) that we have. If your car or desk is a mess it could potentially mean that you just not care about your image. And image is big in business. Keep them clean soldier!
After you get the first 7 points right, start experimenting and you are on your way to graduating from Misiu Academy!
Pitfalls To Avoid
As aforementioned, unless you are the boss (or an artist as Ms’s Misiu says) you should avoid going too crazy with your choices or using too many bold accessories together. You don’t want to look like a clown and Halloween is only for one day a year. Not sure what I mean? Let me demonstrate you exactly what to avoid.
So keep the basics, keep them classic and use a signature piece. It can be your tie, it can be your pocket squares, it can be your tie clip. But please, unless you are the next aspiring Captain America do not wear this in any serious situation.
No, let me rephrase, do not wear this at all. Would you hire this person or trust him with your money? Exactly.
So, find a balance and build up on it. Dress for the occasion and own the room. I believe in you.
Who would you want to be? The guy with the classic Ferrari at the local Starbucks or the guy with the classic beautiful 275 GTB? Which one will make a more lasting impression and which one screams more your personality?
Take these little things into account the next time you get out of the house. Wake up, look yourself in the mirror before you go and ask yourself:
“Would I date me today?”
You want the answer to be yes every day. So do your research, build up your confidence and become the best version of yourself, starting today. Dress for the position you want, not the position you have. You will thank me later.
What do you think is your signature item? Have I forgotten something? Please chime in the comments below and be a part of this community, I would love to discuss it with you.
Thank you for reading,