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How to Wear Suit Separates and Pull it Off

I know what you’re thinking, you’ve spent a fair amount of money on suits over the years and separating them out is breaking all the tailoring rules that you know. Well actually, this article will do you a favour and get you the most use of your suits which you may or may not be currently wearing so often. We took inspiration from Canali suits, shown in these images, to compile this guide on how to pull off suit separates without it looking like you made a mistake.

However, before you start separating your trousers from your jackets, there’s a few things to consider. Although suits look great together, this doesn’t mean they’ll look good separated and worn with something else. You have to maintain a similar silhouette throughout your outfit. For example, a pair of white chinos with a light blue denim shirt and a navy single breasted jacket - a simple and effective day to day look.

Firstly, think of the fit of both the jacket and the trousers - are they slim or tailored? You can’t mix the two together so keep your double breasted jackets with your pleated trousers and your single breasted jacket with slim plain trousers. 

Secondly, the fabrics - don’t mix crazy textures together e.g. wool with sheen cotton, or plaid and gingham together. You’ll look like you’re trying too hard to be stylish, which is actually the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve when it comes to wearing suit separates. The most versatile garments will be your summer suits - you can easily mix cotton with linen for example. The garment colours also play a huge part - the best versatile shades are navy, beige, grey, khaki and maroon. Black tends to be too harsh to mix with anything other than white and grey.

Lastly, pay attention to the details on each piece. If the jacket has particular pocket details, elbow patches, lapel and shoulder shape etc. Also consider whether the jacket is structured or unstructured. If unstructured you can keep the rest of the outfit relatively casual - a casual t-shirt with jeans or dress it smarter with an oxford shirt and chinos.

On the contrary, when it comes to separating suit trousers it is a little trickier. You could run a risk of looking as though you could only afford half a suit (not a good look). We recommend wearing slim suit trousers with a polo shirt (either short or long sleeved) with a bomber jacket. Alternatively with a pull-over sweater, or if the trousers are on the smarter side or patterned keep your top half as simple as possible and wear a white shirt.

Finally you should think about the footwear, this can make all the difference to an entire outfit in any case especially if you are trying to change the look a little. Since wearing separates can be seen as both smart and casual dependent on the individual pieces, you can either wear a boot, a boat shoe, trainers, or a smart brogue. Think about the overall look and keep it consistent.

Rakelle Maurici

With a thirst for exploration and over 10 years of writing experience, Rakelle is a keen fashion, travel and culture storyteller. Her work, from city guides to short stories, has been featured in both global print and digital media.

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