Getting your look right for your return to the office

Updated: Apr 10

Working from home for the last 18 months? Got used to wandering around the house in what some people euphemistically called loungewear ( for most of us that's code for shorts and a t-shirt)? Forgotten what it's like to wear a suit? Time to upgrade your business look? Let us help. Follow our 50plus4men post Covid guide to looking good in the office and cut a dash on your first day back.

The right suit.

Although I have been known to wear a three-piece suit to the office (and I certainly like a waistcoat), in the summer it's a 2 piece suit that fits the bill. Now before we go any further, if you're 50plus and you don't have a 2 piece suit it's time to get one. If you're wearing a suit to work more than once a week, you need more than one suit. When selecting a two-piece suit there are 3 things that you must take into account:- fabric, fit and cut.

Best fabrics for your business suit?

To help you choose the right fabric for your business we've selected what we think, at 50plus, are the 3 fabrics for creating your perfect business suit. When deciding what fabric your suit should be made of it’s important to consider its breathability and softness. Nobody wants to be sweating through a high-quality suit in the height of summer or sitting at their desk or in that all-important meeting irritated by itchy suit trousers. Check out the fabric guide below to decide which fabric is going to work best for you.

Wool: Endlessly versatile and the most popular of suit fabrics. Wool can work in both mid-day heat and colder evenings, and as such it's ideal for those of you looking for that all year round suit. Soft and wrinkle-free, a medium weight wool suit will remain smart throughout the day and with the removal of your tie can easily take you from a day in the office to evening drinks with mates or that someone special.

Wool qualities:

  • Breathable

  • Warm

  • Wrinkle-free

  • Soft

Cotton: For a slightly more casual vibe cotton is your best bet. Particularly good in the summer months (not quite so good in the cold) a lightweight cotton suit will give you the maximum breathability when the sun is shining. Soft and super comfortable to wear, cotton fabric is a very popular choice for those looking for a suit made using natural fabrics. Select a heavier weight cotton or a blend for work, as it helps the fabric keep its shape.

Cotton Qualities:

  • Can be worn all-year-round

  • Breathable

  • Comfortable

  • Classic style

Linen: The lightest, most breathable of the classic fabrics in our list, linen is the perfect choice for an evening out or at that summer party, but I would avoid this fabric when selecting a business suit. Linen wrinkles, it's part of the charm and what looks perfect during a relaxed evening with friends can quite simply look a mess after a couple of hours at work.

Linen Qualities:

  • Very light and breathable

  • Comfortable against the skin

  • More casual option

How should a business suit fit?

There are very few items of clothing that are less flattering for a man of 50plus than an ill-fitting suit. So if like me you've gained a few pounds over the lockdown period it might be time to think about buying a new one.

Note: If buying a new suit seems is a little more than you feel able to do at the moment, then don't forget that your local tailors may be able to make the adjustments required to meet your needs.

So you're buying a new suit or getting an old one altered. Excellent the question then becomes how should it fit?

Shoulders. Make sure that the jacket fits comfortably over your shoulders. If the jacket you're trying on is too big or small put it back and find the one that fits. Tailoring is a beautiful thing, but in terms of shoulders, alterations are normally just too much hassle.

Chest: Your flat hand should slip easily into your suit under the lapels when the top (or middle) button is done up. If you ball your hand into a fist insert that in the same way, the suit should pull at the button. I know the style at the moment is to have cut on the small side, and so some may say that you can stretch this rule a little, but for me, classic is best. Whether you're 50plus or not the classic fit always looks right, and perhaps just as importantly remains comfortable even after extended wear. This can be very important when you're facing a day of meetings.

Buttons: The top button of a two-button suit—or the middle button of a three-button suit—should not fall below your navel.

Length: Allow your arms to hang by your side. When you clench your fists your knuckles should be in line with the bottom of the jacket. Again, there are always exceptions to the rules as trends come and go, but as a start point, it's never a bad idea to make sure your jacket covers your ass (no, literally).

Sleeves: Jacket sleeves should fall where the base of your thumb meets your wrist.

Trousers: Everyone has there own idea on this, but for me, I like to see suit trousers resting on top of your shoes when you're standing up.

Colour: When you're buying a business suit I recommend you go for dark and plain. A dark navy blue is my first choice, followed closely by charcoal or black. These colours are easiest to combine with shirts and ties of different colours and patterns.

And there you have it, the 50plus4men's guide to buying a business suit. My final words are buying a suit doesn't have to cost a fortune. You can buy a nice-looking suit for under £200 at any number of outlets. So what's stopping you, it's not too late to cut a dash at the office.

Author: JamesG

Photo by emre keshavarz from Pexels

Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

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