Men's suits - I had the privilege to chat with Kim Johnson Gross, co-founder of Chic Simple Ltd and former fashion director of Esquire and Fashion Editor of Town & Country. Kim has also written monthly columns in InStyle magazine, and appeared on numerous television and talk shows as a leading consumer authority. During our conversation I thought I would present to her questions I have received from readers on the subject of men's suits and this is the result of our conversation.
Do you know where the "top 2 buttoned buttoned, lowest button undone" style originated and why?
Edward the VII was too large for his vest so he unbuttoned the bottom button and since he was king, all followed in his footsteps. This is one of the first known references to this trend.
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However, it is also a designer thing and personal preference.
If you are shorter, unbuttoning the top button versus the bottom will give the illusion of being taller.
What is the case for a 4 button suit? Is the 4 button suit in style any longer?
Four button suits are not seen much these days and certainly aren’t a suit one would buy their first or second suit. It is more of a fashion suit, not a classic style. Also keep in mind that four button suits really look best on those that are tall and slim.
Does a man have to be a certain age to wear a double breasted suit?
No. But unless it is really your style, stay away from the double breasted suit. Again, not an appropriate first or second suit.
Are suit vests a thing of the past?
Suit vests are for dandies, but also seen in English, western, and evening looks. Not really seeing suit vests otherwise.
Are suits with no vents in the back a dated look?
Vents are definitely more European and shapelier. They are also a symbol of better tailoring.
Are pleats on trousers a bad idea?
First thing is that flat fronted trousers are always more flattering no matter what your size and age. Pleats bring attention to that area of the body.
A general note regarding suits:
Invest in a good suit—this is where your wardrobe dollars are best spent. Choose neutral colors like navy or gray. Browns and olives can be tricky and black suits had their moment, but are still great for evening or formal occasions. Also, suits should be comfortable, drape well, and move with you. And always keep in mind that richness in fabrics and good tailoring never go out of style.