The Rise of the Mix & Match Suit

I am a big fan of suits. There is something about the silhouette; the continuity of colour, texture and pattern from jacket to trousers. In a work setting a suit projects a veneer of professionalism. And class. And style.

However, there is no avoiding the fact that the suit is in many ways, and many contexts, in decline. If you wear a suit, particularly in a work context, you run the risk of not simply looking smart. You could easily look as if you’re trying too hard.

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Those whose business it is to sell suits have not been blind to this development. Witness the rise of the mix & match suit look. What I mean by this, is the combination of a jacket with a pair of trousers in a different colour and possibly material.

It is a curious thing, but the simple expedient of wearing a different colour pair of trousers with your jacket somehow makes it a slightly less formal, but not necessarily less smart or elegant.

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Curiously, among the most formal of suits, the morning suit, utilises precisely that approach of mix and match but manages not to be informal.

One additional advantage of a mix and match approach is that you can be more adventurous with colours and textures which would be too much if worn as a whole suit. So whilst I am happy to wear a lovely green checked blazer, but I wouldn’t consider a suit in that hue.

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Similarly corduroy blazer or trousers? Absolutely. Corduroy suit? No thanks.

Sometimes it is simply sufficient to wear a different shade of the same colour palette, navy blue trousers with royal blue blazer, mid grey with trousers with charcoal grey blazer, for example.

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However, it’s not as simple as wearing the trousers from one with the jacket form another. For soda reason that simply doesn’t work as well. What you ideally want to do is to have some jackets or Blazers that you combine with smart trousers to create a mix and match suit.

So the next time you are in the mood for a suit but want to tone it down a notch try a mix and match approach. See how you get on.

WSJ

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