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Do You Know How to Rock a Three Piece Suit?

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Section: Essential Men's Suit Guide - Blog

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Why do you need a three-piece suit? If you want to master the art of sophisticated fashion, the three-piece suit is your ticket to success. You’ll also join the ranks of celebrities like Jamie Foxx, Zac Efron, and Colin Farrell, who know how to rock a three-piece suit and always look good, period.

Whether you call them vests or waistcoats, that one extra garment adds character to your basic tailored suits and proves to the world you've mastered the art of dressing like a gentleman. But, when is a three-piece suit not really a three-piece ensemble?

Traditional three-piece men's suits are comprised of a single-breasted jacket, waistcoat and trousers, all made from the same material and lining.

Thus, an odd vest, which is a waistcoat made from a different fabric than the jacket and trousers, worn with a suit does not transform it into a true three-piece suit.

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Depending on the fabric, the odd vest increases or decreases an outfit's formalness. For our purposes here, we'll treat both types of outfits as three-piece suits and use the words vest and waistcoats interchangeably.

three-Piece Suit advantages

If you want to stand out from the crowd at a social occasion, reach for your three-piece suit. The odds are in your favor as you'll be among the fashion-conscious few to do so.

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Three-piece suits create a single, unbroken stretch of suit fabric from the ankles to the shoulder. The smooth drape of the cloth gives your body a handsomely balanced appearance so you look like you just stepped off the fashion runway.

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The waistcoat of a three-piece suit can be worn as dress-casual clothing excluding, of course, those vests whose design clearly requires a jacket, such as the backless vests of formal wear. Other advantages include:

  • It's a striking fashion accent and looks suave
  • It's versatile - omit it and wear the suit solo for a two-piece suit look
  • It's practical - with or without a suit jacket, you look dapper and well-dressed

Fitting the 3-Piece Suit

It's difficult to get a perfect fit in a vest. A well-made waistcoat is tailored with the assumption it could be used as the outermost garment; thus, fits need to be appropriate even at points that are usually hidden beneath the jacket.

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The exception to this are formal vests. Since tuxedo or dinner jackets are almost never removed, their waistcoats are “backless” for convenience and comfort and feature a simple strap in the back rather than a full span of cloth.

Fitting the Bottom

The vest's bottom should be long enough to cover the waistband of the pants completely. This is because if any part of the shirt (except the collar) is visible, it spoils the effect of the top-to-bottom sweep of the suit fabric.

Three-piece suit trousers are usually fitted high – around the natural waist – and should worn with suspenders. Since the waistcoat covers the top of the trousers, wearing a belt is optional since it would be hidden.

Fitting the Top

The top of the vest should be high enough to be visible when the jacket is buttoned; an inch or two is sufficient. However, the tie should peek out slightly so your chest does not look constricted.

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Lastly, the neckline should be broad so the fabric of the vest does not cover the shirt's collar points or slip beneath them.

Styling 3-Piece Suits

In our opinion, you must wear a tie with your three-piece suit. End. Of. Discussion. However, tie the knot carefully as bulky ties can create an unsightly bulge under the front of the vest. Additionally, the end of the tie should not stick out from under the bottom of the waistcoat; if the tie is too long, tuck it your trousers.

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Wearing a vested suit with a waistcoat that does not match the jacket and trousers is an elegant option, even if it does tone down the formalness of the outfit. Such suits are usually done in soft tones to avoid looking garish.

So, dark green vests pair well with brown suits or brown vests can be worn with navy jackets and so on. As long as the colours provide a contrast without being so bright as to seem overstated, a mismatched waistcoat is acceptable.

Drawbacks of Vested Suits

You must keep your vested suits buttoned for the sake of formalness; however, wearing them in hot or humid climates could be uncomfortable. Despite this small discomfort, a vested suit adds class and formalness to your wardrobe. Since they provide a distinctive elegance, three-piece suits are worthwhile investments whether they are worn frequently or not.

When you're in the market for a new custom tailored suit, you'll enjoy several advantages by working with the men of Montagio. First, we’ll help you master the art of sophisticated fashion. Depending on your budget and needs, we'll help you create a look that's all your own. Lastly, we'll show you how to rock your new outfit so you look trendy and in style.

photo credit: Kent Wang via photopin cc

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Simon Frazer

Montagio did a great job on wedding suits for me and my two groomsmen. Bally provided us with fantastic service and the result was definitely superior to an off-the-rack option... more »

Kiran Dosanjh

I have bought a total of 11 pieces custom made so far - quality and attention to detail is spectacular, material choice is broad and the input customers have in creating the exact look they want is a great experience... more »

Roy Soliman

I went back for another suit, a few shirts and some ties. Outstanding! I had so many complements on my new suit yesterday! more »


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