The innumerable rules of table manners govern our behavior during meals; many know them, some respect them, few understand them. The paradigm is quite similar for dress codes; we must all the same remember that at the table as in the choice of clothes these rules have an underlying utility sometimes logical sometimes vicious! Enrich, embellish, refine or distinguish, classify, prioritize?
Some rules are common sense, others exist simply to be able to notice those who apply them.
It doesn't matter if you are rebellious or conformist, knowing the codes of elegance allows you to deviate with style!
So let's list a few:
To err is human, and presidents human. Macron, during his first day at Rothschild, had his suspenders pulled up when he had none (this is a serious mistake, we will talk about it later); he wore brown shoes with a blue suit and it was one of the first remarks made to him. Even the big guys make mistakes, don't panic, it won't prevent you from making 12 billion deals.
Let's start at the beginning, first, we put on our socks! When you wear a suit, you should never see the skin on your legs, so go for knee-highs even if you think you look like Mr. Scrooge. Gray or navy blue, you will never make mistakes.
After putting on your socks, we move on to the shirt.
And when we talk about shirt, we talk about watch. Ask for a few more inches on your left wrist so that you can easily slip your watch under your shirt. Fashion tends towards large and thick watches, surely for the sake of generosity so that your colleagues are always aware of the time. You don't fit Merkel into Monroe's dresses, the analogy is the same for Ben-10 watches and French cuffs. Or else opt for the Agnelli style: show over the shirt, chic ostentation, but hey, you have to chair Fiat so as not to pass for a redneck. French cuffs are dressier than rounded or bevelled cuffs, but not necessarily more distinguished. In reality, it all depends on the context and the sleeve opening of your jacket.
Now we put on our pants
Hemmed or unhemmed, it's a matter of taste, just be sure to respect the concordance of the volumes: wide lapels, long hems; so as not to suggest that you had your costume made by two different tailors. Usually 5cm is a good reference point.
Suit pants should never be slim/fitted; ask for a straight cut, you will avoid nonsense. In addition, by being less narrow, the opening of the trouser leg will fit the shape of your shoes much better, especially if you have large feet.
Length, length, length…. Suit pants are not ¾ or beach pants. Savile Row tailors opt for a length that allows the pants to break over the shoes; if you're not used to it, just ask for it to lightly touch the shoes; as long as it does not stop above the tvb malleolus.
One clamp, two clamps, no clamp, matter of taste and morphology. The darts increase the volume of the pants at the pelvis, which offers more comfort, especially if you are a little thick. Exterior clips: dolce vita atmosphere, interior clips: Bullingdon Club; rather Prosciutto di Parma or Roast beef?
You will often be told: match your belt with your shoes and not with your suit. Forget this advice, you don't wear a belt with a suit. So that it does not fall to your knees, two fairly common solutions exist: suspenders and tightening tabs. Pants will always fit better and be more comfortable with suspenders; you will unfortunately risk some mockery and returns of rubber bands in the back. Otherwise there are the tightening tabs, very fashionable, they allow you to hold the pants perfectly but offer less comfort than the suspenders.
After putting on your pants, you put on your jacket
And if you want to be well received at the court of Edward VII, never button the last button. The courtiers had indeed hastened to copy the paunchy whose measurements breathed trout with caviar. Anyway tailors have incorporated this custom into the shape of jackets and they are no longer built for.
Wide or narrow lapels; two, three, false three, four buttons, we can wander. But pay attention to the length of your jacket. Ready-to-wear jackets are increasingly aligned with “casual” and are therefore increasingly shorter. Elegance is also modesty, you should only see your buttocks when you take off your jacket. Unstoppable technique: To know the right length, make sure that your jacket stops at the pasterns (see google image for apprentice anatomists) when the arms are placed along the body.
Black, brown, navy blue, royal blue?
Black is the dressiest color but it all depends on the context. If you enter your hotel in a black suit, you will be more likely to be asked to open the door than to open it for you. Black is exclusively reserved for evening wear: black tie, white tie etc. Besides, if the code of the evening is the white-tie, don't take yourself for Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, it will always be a black jacket.
Don't get me wrong, black should not dress you at work but must on the other hand put your shoes on (if we want to avoid any missteps). The English say “No Brown in Town” to remind us that all leather worn in town must be black; obviously Macron is still agitated by Waterloo! They also say “fat lapels for fat guys” to come back to our setbacks. So, in town, substitute black for navy blue. The royal blue may have a sovereign title but you won't be courting anyone.
Patterns, stripes, we go quickly from Prince Charles to the clown, so, unlike Edward VII, you don't have to be greedy. Again, the Brits have their aphorisms “mixed patterns should be of different scales”: so, for example, you shouldn't wear checks of the same size on your shirt and your suit. Others argue that you don't wear the same pattern twice.
All of this is very mathematical, and since there are as many theories as there are tastes, it is better to rely on common sense. The important thing is to be aware of how much visual information your outfit shows. You have a strong, brilliant piece, no need to be kitsch by adding 3 others. If Cyrano were bald and hunchbacked, you wouldn't notice his nose.
Let's finish with this lesson, it's important to be chic, but let's remember the line that Cyrano throws at the Viscount "me, it's morally that I have my elegance".