My mantra when it comes to suits is the following: when you buy a suit you’re not just buying a suit. It’s something I’ve said before and will likely say again. However, when you break your suit into separates, some pieces are definitely easier to style than others. Using the jacket as a blazer, for example, is a no-brainer. A waistcoat alone can also be fairly simple. However, the hardest piece of a suit to style as a separate is often the pants. Here’s one way I took the pants from my plaid three piece suit and used them in a much different context.
Suit pants can be difficult to style as separates for a few reasons. First, the fabric may be a higher quality than some of the other items you might want to pair them with, which can look extremely wrong. Second, sometimes we’re simply too busy to think creatively and outside of the two- or three-piece suit box. And finally, if your suit is patterned—especially if it’s a bold pattern like a big plaid—it may seem unnatural to try and mix it up with anything other than the matching jacket or waistcoat.
As always, being open to new ideas and having a willingness to experiment is the first step. More specifically and practically, if you’re dealing with plaid pants an easy way to wear them alone is to pair them with a solid blazer in a neutral color. Navy and grey work great together. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding in some subtle patterns like a thin horizontally striped shirt. From a distance it appears solid, though up close it’s much more interesting.
I’ve mentioned before that I find the style of Italian men extremely inspiring. And I have to admit that that was on my mind to some degree when I put this look together since I was headed to Venice for the weekend. More on that shortly, but it’s the attention to detail without calling attention to the details that is so wonderful.
A pocket square folded just so. An unexpected mix of patterns. Or a unique piece integrated so seamlessly into an outfit that you can’t imagine it without it. All pulled off with a carefree nonchalance. This is what inspires me about Italian style.