Editor’s note: Patrick Johnson is an Australian tailor and features in the 10th birthday edition of GQ magazine, which went on sale this week.

Don't walk to work in your suit, and other tips

Top 10 suit crimes

1. Eyewear
Avoid wearing sports sunglasses with a suit. It doesn’t make you look like a blues brother, it makes you look like a PE teacher at a wedding.

2. Tags
Cut the manufacturers tag off the sleeve of your suit. It’s amazing how many people leave them on. If you need to flash the label of your suit to prove its worthiness then you should get a new tailor.

3. Buttons
If you don’t want to look like you are facing up for your first court appearance then don’t button up all the buttons on you suit jacket. For a two button jacket only button the top button. On a three button jacket, button the middle button always and the top button only occasionally.

4. Walking to work
Unless you are channelling Jerry Seinfield, avoid wearing chunky white trainers with a suit. If you want to exercise then wear a track suit.

5. Shoulders
Its not 1991 and you’re not a American footballer so don’t wear shoulder pads that are overly thick with suit shoulders that are too wide. The shape of a suit’s shoulder is very important, it dictates the suit’s cut and is the tailor’s signature.

Furthermore it’s the only part of the suit that can’t be altered, so make sure the shoulder is right.

Trust your own instincts and don’t let the sales person’s flattery push you towards the wrong shoulder.

6.  Socks
With the exception of the occasional pleasing colour pop that can be achieved with the well thought out use of a simple pair of plain bright socks (ie. Red), stick to socks within the grey, navy or black family. Don’t wear bright striped socks, they won’t make you look like a dandy, they’ll make you look like a twat whose girlfriend bought his socks.

7.  Sleeves
A baggy sleeve looks sloppy and makes the whole suit look shapeless. The sleeves of your jacket should provide enough room to be comfortable, but no more. Assuming your shirts are the correct length, the suit’s sleeve should stop 1cm before the shirts cuff.

8. Pimpn’ Loafers
Pointy loafers in white/ light brown (or any colour for that matter) that turn up at the end look awful.

When the sales person tells you “these are all the rage in Italy”, that usually means, we got the stock really cheap because they stopped wearing these in Italy 5 years ago. If you are a South American drug kingpin then I apologize.

Try to find a relatively plain pair of black lace ups for a navy/ grey suit.

9. Belts with suits - don’t do it
Belts with formal suits don’t work, especially when wearing a tie. 

Instead use trousers with side adjusters. A belt breaks up the flow of the outfit, which results in your legs looking shorter. They also create unnecessary bulk. 

If you are going to wear a belt then please choose one that matches the color and material of your shoes. Also choose a belt with a small, discrete buckle.

10. Don’t fart in a wet suit.

So that’s what not to. But where do you get the good stuff to avoid getting into those

Shoes - Unfortunately Australia has a pretty poor selection of quality, elegant shoes. I like English shoes and find Crocket and Jones to be the best value for money UK shoe maker. They offer both classic and casual ranges at competitive prices. Available online at wesellshoes.com.

Ties - Drakes of London are hands down the worlds best tie maker. Available online at drakes-london.com

Belts - I know I said not to wear them but they are so ingrained into the suiting culture here that I thought I better provide an option. For the best simple belts I have seen in Australia, try Country Road or their new store Treney store.

Socks - Light weight cotton socks by companies such as Bresciani or Pantherella are perfect for our warmer climate. They are available at Henry Bucks (Australia wide) and American Tailors (Melbourne).

Suits - I’m probably a bit biased, but suit-shop.com

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • Adam Tyney says:

      06:52am | 09/10/09

      Very funny and very helpful

    • SM says:

      07:19am | 09/10/09

      What about trouser leg length Patrick??  The only thing worse than having them too short is the much more prevalent problem of having them so long that they turn into a sort of mini tent when the excess fabric rests on top of the shoes, making you look like you’re wearing ankle weights.

    • AFR says:

      07:40am | 09/10/09

      Couldn’t disagree with you more on number 9. But i guess I’m arguing with someone who wears a polka dot bow tie.

    • Tony Johnson says:

      07:52am | 09/10/09

      How else do you keep warm in a wetsuit?

    • buttons says:

      08:04am | 09/10/09

      It is great that you have written this. These suiting errors have bugged me my whole life. It is embarrassing that we live in a country where the men need to be told these things. This kind of stuff should be told by the father to son when the son is 13. Just goes to show how unrefined Australians are. Very sad!

    • RGG says:

      08:17am | 09/10/09

      Everytime I see someone with the bottom button done up I scream. Ironically I happen to be a solicitor, and yes, the worst offenders are invariably those on their first court appearance!

      Remember, with buttons the rule is:
      1. Sometimes
      2. Always
      3. Never

    • Schmavo says:

      08:17am | 09/10/09

      What’s the point of a belt if you don’t tuck your shirt in?

    • mike says:

      08:18am | 09/10/09

      i never wear a suit unless i’m going to a wedding (which i’ve been to two) and it wasn’t a traditional suit, had more of a asian cut to it.
      I will never understand business suits.  why men feel the need to wear a uniform is beyond me.  it tells me nothing about you except you have no style and image of your own.

    • hoofman says:

      08:20am | 09/10/09

      1. So how do we cope with glare when wearing a suit if we are not supposed to wear sunglasses? If it’s glary I’ll pop ‘em on, who cares how it looks. 2. What about hats? Is there a right hat to wear with different suits? Or are you a prat without a hat?

    • Stretch says:

      08:25am | 09/10/09

      Yes, but what’s the best colour in socks to wear with my sandals?

    • Rob says:

      08:32am | 09/10/09

      is there a rule on wearing a sweater with a suit? in black/grey/brown/red

      I’m not talking cable knit here, just a plain light lambswool.

      Is it becoming almost a modern version of the old 3 peice suit for trendy young guys? or is it just something my 80- year old law lecturer would wear?

      I’ve seen both and can’t decide.

    • Rob says:

      08:39am | 09/10/09

      Dear Hoofman

      The article refers to sports sunglasses, not sunglasses. If you wear sports sunglasses, people will call you Shane.

    • Matt says:

      08:40am | 09/10/09

      Nothing wrong at all with wearing a belt with a suit.

    • Phil says:

      08:42am | 09/10/09

      Sometimes, always, never. I passively judge people if that bottom button is undone.

    • Nik says:

      08:48am | 09/10/09

      So this whole thing about what looks good and what doesn’t, then you list an online store so you can buy a suit without even trying it on? Bravo.

      Insert sarcastic applause here

    • Dom says:

      08:52am | 09/10/09

      I mate of mine got me on to these great business shirts: http://www.amalfishirts.com.au
      Apparently they’re made in the same factory as Herringbone in Italy, but a fraction of the price. Small range, but they’re just a new business.

    • Patrick Johnson says:

      08:57am | 09/10/09

      Duchamp ties are a bit flashy for me. Since Duchamp’s founder Michell Jacobs sold the company in early 2008 I feel there designs lost their way a bit.

    • Captain Awesome says:

      08:58am | 09/10/09

      Interesting article, but you can keep your $30 pairs of designer socks.  I’ll just donk on my $3 Rios and be happy.  They’re socks, man.

    • ozzbubblehead says:

      09:00am | 09/10/09

      reply to Tony Johnson: 08:52am | 09/10/09

      the way normal people do, by peeing in it.

    • Tom says:

      09:03am | 09/10/09

      Nik -

      If take the time to look at the site you will see that you can not buy online, in fact you cant even by the suits off the peg, they are only tailor made by appointment. 

      Retract sarcastic applause here.

    • Suit lover says:

      09:20am | 09/10/09

      Agree with almost everything, except the the online stores. I buy clothes from the internet stores but _never_:
      1. Suits
      2. Shoes
      These two are a must to try on first unless you know your own figure and posture 110%, which is almost never.  It is exactly right: the shoulders of the suit are the key, so good like getting it right over the net.  Strangely enough you did not mention the trousers’ length.  I was taught that it must cover the shoe at the back right to the top of the heal. And always, always try the trousers on *with the shoes you intend to wear the suit with*.

    • suited says:

      09:29am | 09/10/09

      Haha - those pointy toe’d elf shoes are hilarious!!  Why do all our Metrobogans insist they are cool?

    • patrick Johnson says:

      09:32am | 09/10/09

      Response to Suit Lover RE shoes

      You are right on the Suit front - You can’t actually buy my suits online, they are only custom made. I just put the site on their for a shameless plug.

      As far as shoes go I also agree. I know my last shape and size at Crocket and Jones so I am comfortable buying them online. You can buy Crocket and Jones at American Tailors in Melbourne or Henery Bucks. What I would recommend is to go in their and try on a pair to work out what last shape and size is best for you. Then you can order them from the UK.

    • suit man says:

      09:48am | 09/10/09

      never fart in a wet suit, you take the risk of a shart.
      no one really wants that.

    • me says:

      09:51am | 09/10/09

      You forgot to mention tie length

    • Mato says:

      10:01am | 09/10/09

      Clothes do not make the man.
      You metros should stop fannying about with clothes and do something worthwhile.  Who gives a crap if someone buttons more than one button!?!  Some people are actually doing things with some meaning and don’t have the time or inclination to worry about if their belt buckle is small enough.  Geez….

    • man says:

      10:29am | 09/10/09

      Sheesh - what drab dress-sense this article recommends.  Do we all really have to dress like the teens in a “Wow!, Peter Jackson” commercial?  If fashion really never changes, why don’t we all just wear “Old Spice” like our grand-pa too?
      There’s only 3.5 “rules-of-suit” that actually matter, and this article skips them all…
      1.0).  Wear an expensive shirt.  It should be plain in colour, but slightly curious in texture.
      2.0).  If you’re going to wear cuff-links, know which frigging way to put them in!!!
      3.0)  If it’s the weekend, and you’re wearing a suit - you’re either a RealEstateSalesman or a Sleeze.  (Ofcourse, when I say “or”, I mean “and”.)
      3.5).  Try to incorperate a glimps of technology into your look.  A head-phone cord or a glowing LED changes your suit from “an outfit I wore to impress” to “an outfit I find comfortable and functional”.  (This works just like how doing up your bottom jacket button was viewed 20 years ago.  If you haven’t got some tech in your suit, then you prolly borrowed it from your uncle this morning.)

    • Grammarian says:

      10:39am | 09/10/09

      I think you need to learn the difference between “discrete” and “discreet.” You meant the latter, because if you tried to get a “discrete” belt buckle, there may not be that much discretion in your choice.

    • hoofman says:

      10:41am | 09/10/09

      Mato - You’re right, some important people are too busy to worry how their suit looks. They’re probably also probably too busy to come onto a site like this trying to sound superior by saying the subject is not worthwhile. Some of we less superior people don’t mind the occasional discussion like this, if that’s OK with you.

    • Mzungu says:

      10:58am | 09/10/09

      Time to upgrade your bandwidth plan on suit-shop.com

      You’re missing out on a lot of potential sales leads

    • Hank says:

      10:59am | 09/10/09

      I love this article, a simple and direct approach to dressing. Thank you to all who posted websites as well, being stuck in Canberra I often have to order things of the net and agree you can order everything except a suit and shoes.

    • TimT says:

      11:53am | 09/10/09

      The only way I could have been more pleased with this post is if you had commented on bow tie wearage.

    • Nedahl says:

      11:55am | 09/10/09

      Goodness! Who knew so many men would get really into this? I should do more men’s fashion on my website.

    • Margaret Gray's Husband says:

      12:00pm | 09/10/09

      “... Drakes of London are hands down the worlds best tie maker…”

      Anyone who pays more than A$50 for a handmade 100% silk tie is a fool.

      Other suit rules:

      One quality bespoke suit is better than 10 “off the rack”.

      Don’t be dictated by ‘fashion’...wear what looks good on you (leave the skinny leg look for the catwalk androgynies in Milan)

      Men who visibly love their food should NEVER wear double breasted suits.

      NEVER unstitch the outside pockets on your jacket, except for the handkerchief.

      Cufflinks on french-cuff shirts ONLY.

      The tie just touches the top of the belt…ALWAYS.

      Larger gentlemen should ALWAYS wear single-breast suits…preferably with a subtle pinstripe.

      Barrel chests always need a lower yolk.

      Wide face…narrow lapel.

      ...and finally

      Solid black suits are for funerals ONLY.

    • dan says:

      12:06pm | 09/10/09

      oh god yes, you forgot trouser leg length.  I saw a guy a couple of weeks ago who’s trouser stopped a good centimetre above his shoe. Scary stuff

    • stephen says:

      12:15pm | 09/10/09

      Armpits bro’, you forgot about the armpits. Snug as a bug. And RM Williams for a good belt. (Grammarian can buy a noose.)

    • Bain Marie says:

      12:24pm | 09/10/09

      You’re onto something Patrick. There’s nothing worse than catching the ferry to work each morning only to see guys in suits and sneakers - snuits is the new take on sneans. As for those who stand in the corner with their snuits, brief cases and oakleys, chewing gum… well, they ought to be thrown overboard.
      Mato you strike me as the kind of guy who farts in wetsuits…

    • 3 Piece Suit Guy says:

      12:30pm | 09/10/09

      I only agree with the belt comment if your trousers don’t have belt loops, otherwise wear a belt. Braces help the trousers drape better, especially with a 3 piece suit.

      Just a side issue Patrick, if you are going to give people advice on suits etc and be a journalist / blogger can you please get your their/there right.

      Going somewhere to try something on should be “there”
      When talking about Duchamp and “their” ties use their not there!


    • 3 Piece Suit Guy says:

      12:32pm | 09/10/09

      BTW the bow tie is great. Wish we saw more of them!

    • Cooko says:

      12:34pm | 09/10/09

      Couldn’t agree more about the shoes. Australia sucks for selection.

    • Henny Penny says:

      12:46pm | 09/10/09

      Oh wetsuits of the surfing variety…............. NOT wet suits! It did seem strange that one would be wearing a wet suit. *Slap yourself in the head you idiot!* LOL

    • Peter Renshaw (fan of zoolander) says:

      12:56pm | 09/10/09

      @mato you have it all wrong.

      People need to wear clothes so why not wear beautiful suits? Especially beautiful people. We need great clothes to look ridiculously good, good looking. How else would male models stand out. I mean besides showing how to dress cool and wear their hair in interesting ways? Good looking clothes, good looking people. Good clothes take people to make them. But it takes beautiful people, to make clothes look good so everyone else see just how good, good looking people really are.

      So you see @mato, you don’t have to go to Higher school to make a meaningful contribution to the world. You just have to be extremely, extremely good looking and wear beautiful suits.

    • Brad says:

      12:58pm | 09/10/09

      Anyone who spends more than $50 on a tie is a fool? What rot. Expensive suit, expensive shirt, expensive shoes, but wear a cheap tie? What sort of advice is that?

      Wanna look like a million bucks? Don’t do it on the cheap!

    • Jack Thomas says:

      01:06pm | 09/10/09

      Sounds a lot like the sneery Queer Eye guys, when you are spending so much effort in degrading someone because they do up one extra button on their suit, you know you’re a sad little tosspot. ‘

      Best you get back to Antiques Roadshow petal.

    • Shane says:

      01:14pm | 09/10/09

      For shoes I’d also recommend Allen Edmond and/or Alden from the US. They’re America’s equivelant of Churches and Alfred Sargent. Allen Edmond’s Seven range is outstanding in quality and fit!

      Ebay seller Wizard of Aaahs also has good quality super 150 wool suits at good prices, and Brooks Brother also produces good quality suits, shoes and shirts.

      In Australia, Edward Strip now produces a “fitted” dress shirts which are very nice, and Advani Custom Tailors are supposed to be excellent as well. I’ve never been able to beat value for money by shopping in the US and having it shipped. To do that though you have to know your measurements.

      For the record, I disagree about belts unless perhaps on a tux, but completely agree on the points raised about shoes and french cuff shirts, and the length of pants.

    • Zeta says:

      01:23pm | 09/10/09

      I hate wearing ties. Every morning, millions of men around the world engage in the morbid pantomime of suicide. They tie nooses around their necks and run razor blades across their faces. And the world wonders why men kill themselves at a higher rate than women.

      But seriously, this article does highlight just how boring men’s fashion really is. Take a wander through Martin Place at lunch time. It’s not hard to imagine a scene out of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, the legions of Zegna clad bankers shuffling to and from salad bars, nodding at people they don’t know, but look just like someone from accounts because they all bought the same tie $200 tie when it was on sale at David Jones. 

      It’s hard to look different and interesting, especially in Sydney. I agree most with no. 2, the point about tags. I take it a step further and remove all the tags from my clothes that identify the brand. I might look like a corporate stooge each day, but at least I have the punk satisfaction of cutting out the designer labels and throwing them away, instead of mentioning where I bought my rags to anyone who’ll listen.

      Also, those white, distressed loafers from Westfield stores are ridiculous, but the Chelsea boot is the greatest fashion accessory (and weapon) of all time.

    • Holden Caulfield says:

      01:26pm | 09/10/09

      Follow these rules if you want to fit in….if you want to be stylish on your own terms do what you want.  When i wear a suit i usually add a couple of punk rock badges to the lapels.  This will probably bring about some disapproviing clucks, but very few other people do it and it is reflective of my personality - for better or for worse in the eyes of others.

    • ChelseaLee says:

      01:55pm | 09/10/09

      Witnessing men have a b*tch fest over a topic such as this is fantastic. This page is the funniest thing I’ve read in a while. Keep the comments coming. It’s making my day.

      Patrick - I particularly agree with Point 1.

      Suits + Sports Sungalsses = Disgrace to Mankind.

    • Steve says:

      02:05pm | 09/10/09

      “Belts - I know I said not to wear them but they are so ingrained into the suiting culture here that I thought I better provide an option”

      Nothing looks worse than trousers with belt loops worn without a belt… which is why tux trousers have those side adjusters you mentioned. They’re for a dinner suit only. Every other suit has belt loops.

    • Eastie says:

      02:08pm | 09/10/09

      The white shoes that turn up at the end and sports sunnies with a suit is code for Westie.

    • Billy says:

      02:12pm | 09/10/09

      I agree with ChelseaLee.

      I’m also ashamed that some of the shit on here needs to be pointed out. Why are we men as a collective, in general, so poor at dressing ourselves and picking up on basic fashion pointers?

    • Jeff Mueller says:

      02:19pm | 09/10/09

      David Sedaris’ theory is that in the American context, a bow tie is the sign that you can no longer get an erection.

    • BB says:

      02:25pm | 09/10/09

      Before you take this tripe to heart have a look at the most successful businessmen in Australia. They virtually all ignore the rules - James Strong only wears bow ties and pinstripes, Mark Bouris never wears a tie, Gerry Harvey is into lairy colour mismatches.

      Anyone who thinks that dressing “properly” will make them highly successful is seriously deluded.  In fact dressing for success and having the right car or watch are simply marketing gimmicks that appeal to middle managers on $120k. The genuinely rich and powerful usually don’t give a s**t about what they wear or what they drive.  Clinton and Bush both wore $20 Timex watches.

      The two richest men in the world - Gates and Buffett wear Chinese-made Trang suits.

    • Tim says:

      02:25pm | 09/10/09

      *Dons Richard Attenborough Attire and Voice*
      And there he is viewers, the elusive Australian Metrosexual male. Recently thought to be extinct, a few have been brought out of hiding by a challenge to their plumage. Look at their strut, their competition for dominance. This truly is a rare experience

    • bella starkey says:

      02:26pm | 09/10/09

      i bet ‘Holden Caufield’ is 16

    • ChelseaLee says:

      02:41pm | 09/10/09

      Nice rant BB, but I don’t think the goal of this post was to push people to the top of the corporate ladder. I really do think its intention was that of a more simple nature - reminding men to cut the tags off their suits before parading in public (and other general common sense rules to avoid you looking like a twat).

    • John Doe says:

      02:52pm | 09/10/09

      I have to agree with Mato - what a pompous, shallow piece of writing this is!

      Frankly, if one of your biggest concerns in life is whether to button up 1 button or 2, or if you should buy the Emperor’s new socks in gray or black, then you need to get a life.

      Wear what looks good on you and what works for you and forget about what pompous, judgmental gits might think. Heaven forbid that you might not get that girl because you had 2 buttons done up - leave that superficial woman to the lemmings who slavishly follow GQ and boast about the cut of their bespoke suit at the Establishment whilst worrying about keeping up appearances.

    • Margaret Gray's Husband says:

      02:53pm | 09/10/09

      “...What rot. Expensive suit, expensive shirt, expensive shoes, but wear a cheap tie? What sort of advice is that?...”

      Considering your A$400 silk tie from “Drakes of London” cost A$1.50 to make in some Zhangzhou-via-Watford sweatshop, I’d suggest there are much better ways to realise value for your money.

      Most Australians don’t even know how to tie a tie properly let alone discern what constitutes quality neckwear.

      Do you get many people fondling the strip of fabric under your chin assessing textile strength and thread count?

      With 75% of your tie covered up 80% of the time, I dare say no one ponders how much you paid for it…and more likely could care less.

    • Zeta says:

      03:22pm | 09/10/09

      @ Margaret Gray’s Husband - one does not tie a tie, they tie a knot, and in a sartorial context, one knots a tie.

      It’s irrelevant anyway. The Jacobian Ruff is making a much overdue come back.

    • Charlie's Wardrobe says:

      03:34pm | 09/10/09

      I agree about the belts, sometimes.  Side tabs are not just for tux’s, the bespoke suit I am wearing today I had made with them, they are infinitely more comfortable than a belt, especially sitting at a desk all day.

      I also own red socks and Purple Pantherella Sea Island cotton socks, they are the softest socks I have laid eyes on and happy to pay the price.  Plus one for Crocket and Jones shoes and English shoes in general too,  I am wearing tan Grenson derby’s today.

      I think myself and Mr Johnson woul get along quite well actually.  By the way, I’m not a pretentious wannabe millionaire wanker, I just appreciate and enjoy nice tailored clothes.  I’m 29 by the way and don’t have to wear a suit or tie everyday, I dress well to please myself, not someone else.  I do however feel sorry for people that are forced to wear them.

      To Margaret Gray’s husband, if you are buying a $50 handmade tie, I can gaurantee you it’s not handmade.  You would do well on finding out some more information on the labour processes of making a 7 or even 11 fold tie.  They are works of art and use significantly more silk than the cheapo china ties do. 

      Everyone spends money on different hobbies, some on doing up crap cars that should be in a scrapyard, some on stamps or whatever.  Some like me spend it on fine clothes, after all you have to wear clothes all the time!  I’ll leave you all with a Mark Twain quote.

      “Clothes do make the man.  Naked people have little or no influence on society”

    • papachango says:

      03:38pm | 09/10/09

      Just curious as to what people think is a reasonable price to pay for a) a tie and b) a shirt.

      It’s true there’s nothing worse than a cheap nasty shirt and tie, but I’m loathe to spend $250 on a shirt I’ll most likely get biro ink or soy sauce on. Actually I hate ties, but in some jobs you pretty much have to wear them.

    • iansand says:

      03:38pm | 09/10/09

      I don’t wear suits any more.  I win.

    • James says:

      03:39pm | 09/10/09

      I also disagree regarding number 9.  A suit pant with belt loops and no belt looks unfinished.  I agree that the buckle should be understated and the belt preferably matching the shoes.

    • BB says:

      03:41pm | 09/10/09

      “I wear expensive suits but they look cheap on me.”

      Warren Buffett (Back when he wore Armani. He now wears Trang suits made in China)

    • SM says:

      03:53pm | 09/10/09

      Margaret Gray’s Husband blurted…

      “Most Australians don’t even know how to tie a tie properly let alone discern what constitutes quality neckwear”

      That’s probably true, but also irrelevant.  It’s the people who CAN discern quality neckwear that wearers of quality ties are interested in reaching

      Then he followed up by asking…

      “Do you get many people fondling the strip of fabric under your chin assessing textile strength and thread count?”

      No, no we don’t - it’s about the cut and the design and the colours.  It’s more of a visual thing. 

      And finally….

      “With 75% of your tie covered up 80% of the time, I dare say no one ponders how much you paid for it…and more likely could care less”.

      I’m dying to get “85%” into this reponse somewhere, but again MGH, it’s the people who can discern quality neckwear who do indeed notice and on occasion will ponder how much it cost.  Kind of like when someone who appreciates houses or cars or tennis racquets - when they see one they really like, it’s in some way a logical extension to think “I wonder how much that cost!!”

      Ask Margaret, she’ll explain further

    • John Doe says:

      04:29pm | 09/10/09

      If we are jousting with quotes, perhaps this will suffice - “a fool and his gold are soon parted” wink

      One can appreciate fine clothes without resorting to selling a kidney to finance the Emperor’s new ties/socks/suits/belts, many of which are made by 6 year old Chinese labourers for 2 bowls of rice a day (though little fingers have amazing manual dexterity for weaving those Midas touched ties).

    • Gaz says:

      04:38pm | 09/10/09

      Great article Patrick.  However, you left out the pocket square.  A simple white linen pocket square can sharpen up the look.

      Also agree with the poor selection of shoes Down Under, which is a pity.  Besides, C&J one should be adventurous and splurge a little on Gaziano & Girling and John Lobb, or may be even explore the bespoke alternative with artisans like Stefano Bemer, Roberto Ugolini or the grand maestro Hidetaka Fukaya (all three are based in Florence).

      Finally, a word on ties.  Drakes are indeed a great tie maker, but biased towards English sensibilities.  For their prices, one could also experiment with ties from Charvet and Arnys, both Parisian or perhaps Brioni or Kiton, which are Italian.  I also find the lack of six or seven-fold ties in Australia to be a sad state but if one wanted to splurge, Bulgari makes a good range.  Alternatives includes Tie Your Tie, a Florentine brand whose owner is constantly featured by The Sartorialist.

    • SD says:

      05:54pm | 09/10/09

      John Doe:

      I thought it was “a fool and his money are soon partying”.. wink

    • regina says:

      05:57pm | 09/10/09

      @Zeta 02:23pm | 09/10/09

      oh no. i have seen ties come in quite handy for catching sweet and sour sauce on the odd occasions i’ve spotted labor party stooges dining at the golden century.

      also, more importantly .. you’re a dude?

    • Josh says:

      06:10pm | 09/10/09

      My goodness, somebody quoted “sometimes, always, never”.  My man, three button suits should have disappeared from your wardrobe 5 years ago.

    • Gaz says:

      07:08pm | 09/10/09

      @ Josh and those who are fixated on “rules”. One needs to know one word: “Sprezzatura”, which is defined as “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it”.

      The application of sprezzatura to a man’s style (not fashion) is best exemplified by Gianni Agnelli.  Gianni was an Italian industrialist who owned Fiat and is widely acknowledged, to be one of the world’s most stylish men.  His sense of style stood out, even in Italy, where dressing well and being stylish is perceived to be very important, unlike Australia where well dressed means tends to have be clouded with some snarky negativity (but I think that’s the famous Australian tall poppy syndrome and humble battler manisfesting themselves).

      Gianni’s style was based on a solid foundation of classic suits (2 and 3 buttons as well as double breasted suits) combined with eye-catching but personalised tricks.  That foundation echos what some have mentioned above, a focus on classic designs and of very high quality but topped off with a personal signature.  He was known to wear his wristwatch over his cuff, leaving his button down collar buttons unbuttoned, wearing his tie askew or at the improper length and brown shoes with a navy suit.  In another word, he openly broke many rules of dress that were laid down by the English gentleman.

      These “gimmicks”, if you may, were carefully chosen to convey sprezzatura, or in simpler terms, the Italian art of making the difficult look easy.  While the outfits were chosen to convey a particular style down to the smallest of details, he accessorised as by making errors or by breaking the rule.  Hence, appearing to look as if he did not care or made any effort on his style.  Of course, he also had the swagger to pull it off.

      The only rule that matters in style is that there are always exceptions to the rule.  Beside, the French and Italians would argue that a two button suit is what comes in and out of style while the three button remains classic.  And even then, the French prefer a high three button hard roll button and button at the top two, while the Italians prefer a low three button soft roll and only button the middle.

    • Gaz says:

      07:12pm | 09/10/09

      “I wear expensive suits but they look cheap on me.”
      Warren Buffett

      I hate to say this but Warren Buffet looks cheap no matter what he wears.  He is just made a sound commercial decision and diverted his funds elsewhere.

    • Johnny says:

      08:11pm | 09/10/09

      Yes, I remember we used to get quality shoes here.

      Now we get $10 shoes with a $200 price.

      They think we are fools.

      What’s with the buttons ?  I’ve never heard this and couldn’t give a shit.
      Makes me want to beat up the first guy I see with just the top button down up.

    • Margaret Sikora says:

      08:22pm | 09/10/09

      What a delightful read this has been ,and so enlightening for hubby, he is more confused than ever.I have a tough enough time to get him to shop ,now after going through the 10 points he will be too scared to leave the house.Happy Shopping All.

    • Jeremy says:

      08:46pm | 09/10/09

      This list made me laugh so much - especially the sport sunglasses one! Aussie men are hilarious with their attempts to be stylish, especially footy players and the like. I say this as an Aussie man myself who has probably committed the odd faux pas myself!

      But yes, tie length was an obvious crime that was left off. So funny to see these middle aged guys with their tie barely making it over the horizontal top of their beer gut!

      Currently living in London and on the odd occasion I unfortunately have to fasten an extra suit button in order to avoid hypothermia when waiting for a nightbus home at 3am on Friday night when it’s -5C. But yes, top button should suffice in Australian conditions!

    • Charlie's Wardrobe says:

      09:10pm | 09/10/09

      Not necessarily Josh.  High cut 3 buttons yes but there are many suit jackets now that are a 3 button that roll to 2 ie the top button is essentially never done up because the lapels are pressed to fasten at the middle button.  I have a nice Herringbone blazer that is cut like this, but all of my suits are 2 button.

      Personally I am looking forward to the return of Double Breasted suits, in slimmer cuts like the cotton one on Patrick’s website.

    • Dale "The Boss" Hawley says:

      09:57pm | 09/10/09

      OMG the comment about the belts are SOOOOOOO right, i personally opt for trousers that fit and as i dont have a plum figure dont need my trousers held up.

      Patrick you truly are Iconic

    • James says:

      10:06pm | 09/10/09

      Some good points in the opinion piece. I do like quite a light shoulder, so no heavy padding for me. If you have a good tailor, though, he or she should be quite capable of adjusting the shoulder to suit you. It won’t be cheap, though, as it involves detaching the sleeve, trimming the shoulder and then re-attaching the sleeve at the new sleeve-head.

      To respond to some of the comments:
      - there’s nothing wrong with a three-button suit, particularly if the lapel has a nice roll at the top button.
      - I really disagree with the blunt statement that larger people should not wear a double-breasted (DB) suit. A well-cut DB suit can really suit people who are a bit larger. It’s the cheaper, older style DB’s with lower buttoning points that look bad.
      - Drake’s ties are nice, but Holliday and Brown are fantastic. Not common (particularly in Oz) but well worth the money if you find them. Their Macclesfield silk prints are fantastic.

    • Gary says:

      11:18pm | 09/10/09

      the bit about PE teacher at a wedding is gold!

      too true.


    • Julie Coker-Godson says:

      11:44am | 10/10/09

      LOL this whole article and especially some of the comments.  I love The Punch!!  One thing I always hated seeing on men was a jacket that was too loose around the back, thereby hanging straight like a coat and shoulder pads that bent over the wearer’s actual shoulders!  Seen so many of those.

    • Peter Johnston says:

      12:38pm | 10/10/09

      I’ve bought from that site Amalfi Shirts mentioned above before, and was really impressed with the quality for the price.
      Next time I need a shirt, will probably grab one from them again.

    • Boris says:

      02:57pm | 10/10/09

      Best belts I have bought in the last 10, or maybe it was fifteen years ago, were from Sportscraft. They were made in Italy and there was something special about them. I still wear one of them regularly. Then Sportscraft folded. When Sportscraft re-opened their belts were made in China. Just not the same, especially the quality of the leather. Country Road are not quality either. Sigh.

    • luke Whitington says:

      03:59pm | 10/10/09

      there are also people who put a thing that looks like a white notebook in their jacket pocket—or the other white thing that looks like something cut with serrated scissors—if you want to wear a handkerchief—take it at the folds in the centre by thumb and forefinger and shake it down so it opens out then fold the pointed end up to just under the loose ends and put it in your pocket—-dont try and make it uniform—let it flourish——yes the upturned shoe tips look like overgrown toenails forced into in leather.

    • joshgtv says:

      07:12pm | 10/10/09

      Patrick Johnson wears shorts with a suitcoat. Hardly the sort of chap whose advice one should follow. Unless of course one prefers the company of men. Who know nothing about presentation. Fashion is for women; for men there is, thankfully, only style.

    • joshgtv says:

      07:38pm | 10/10/09

      p.s. Gaz - you are the only person here - Patrick included - who has anything meaningful to say. Fifty years from now, men of style will still hark back to Agnelli. Not so sure that Josh’s thoughts will hold the same gravitas. My other benchmark, and yours too I’m sure, is Cary Grant.

    • M says:

      11:08am | 11/10/09

      You can’t not wear sunnies if you’re at an outdoor wedding in Australia, the whole crowd will spend the day squinting and giving themselves eyecancer.

      I think suits are a big cheat anyway, women have to find a different outfit every time they go to an event, a man only needs one suit and he’s set for the next 20 years. It’s such a cop out.

    • Nickk says:

      04:21pm | 11/10/09

      If we’re only meant to button up one out of the two buttons, what is the 2nd one for?

    • rosscoe says:

      06:18pm | 11/10/09

      Vanity, all is vanity.  I am not a peacock, I am a man.  My clothes cover my nakedness, shade/warm me, & keep the dirt I work in off my skin.  If I need to dress up, I will, but don’t expect me to like it.  I’d rather be comfortable than flashy.  Never trust anyone (particularly female) in a suit.  Good suits are expensive, & they need your money to afford their suit/lifestyle.  Hang on to your wallets, boys.

    • RT says:

      06:35pm | 11/10/09

      At the end of the day, it’s all personal choice… wear what makes you feel good.

      I, myself, like a good suit. But price does play a part, cause at the end of the day it is only a suit - the uniform you wear to court everyday.

      It’s funny that the guys I know who throw obscene money dressing “to look a million bucks” are usually the guys who don’t have a lot of money but need people to think they do.

      The richest guys I know through work (8 or 9 figure types) don’t wear suits at all… hell one of them doesn’t usually wear shoes in the city and he owns a freakin island.

      But whatever floats your boat - the article is a pretty good guide I thought

    • Wife of Adam West says:

      06:21am | 12/10/09

      So is it better for my husband to not wear a belt and moon everyone in the office with his plumbers crack????

    • IdolAddict says:

      08:30am | 12/10/09

      All very good advice, but your powers are needed elsewhere!  Please, lend a hand to Australian Idol.  There are two wonderfully talented young male performers who look like they are wearing wetsuits and flippers - and it’s not a good look.  Skinny jeans and long shoes on well rounded young men may be following high street fashion trends, but it really does them no favours at all.

      Also, bring Alex Perry with you to sort out Ricki-Lee.  Every week, I look and say, how could this dress suit her less than the last one!  She is a lovely girl who could look a million times better with improved wardrobe advice.

    • Deano says:

      09:34am | 12/10/09

      If you want to see an appalling display of suit wear, head to the races on any given big day. 90% of the blokes do not have a clue.

    • Ray says:

      10:17am | 12/10/09

      A blue shirt with a white collar and a matching (I don’t thinks so) yellow tie.

    • N says:

      11:01am | 12/10/09

      What about haircuts? Guys with the pointy (faux-croc / snakeskin) shoes usually also have their hair sticking out every which way in the “windblown” look that for some reason is in fashion now. C’mon, if you’re in a situation that requires the formality of a suit, then surely you could brush your hair also!

    • Gaz says:

      02:29pm | 12/10/09

      @ Joshgtv - I would not go as far to say that I am the only one making a meaningful contribution since others have made similar observations. 

      You brought up Cary Grant.  A man who looks great in a simple grey suit, white shirt and dark tie (a la North by Northwest).  A little trivia in that the grey suit is actually a Prince of Wales check.

      Cary Grant and other male style icons have one thing mastered, that many of us fail to grasp - the importance of FIT.  Fit is by far the most important aspect of ones wardrobe and it applys not just to suits.  Fit allows one to enhance your body proportions, down play flaws and focus on what matters - making oneself presentable.  Fit should be always the priority when choosing clothes, followed by style then colour.

      One thing that is common with Agnelli, Grant, Connery and Price Michael of Kent is that they wear well fitted garmets, and as an arguement for Patrick’s services, have an extensive love for bespoke clothing.

      In general, Ready To Wear is made to fit the average body shape.  This means, for a suit, the arm holes are cut too low, the waist can be too loose, the sleeves to long (and too loose), the collar to large and the pants too long. 

      The right fit attempts to flatter the male body by giving it the Atlas proportion, strong shoulders, large chest, tappered waist and tall propotions, a downward pointing triangle if you may.  All of this can be achieved for a given body shape if the right adjustments can be made. 

      For RTW, one can adjust almost all of these except perhaps the shoulders and the armholes (a whole thesis can be and has been written on the importance of having high armholes). 

      In general, men wear their suits too large - sleeves too long , suit is too long, pants too long with insufficient tapering at the waist and a loose collar (the loose collar is a pet hate of mine and even Armani screwed up the fit of the suits in The Dark Knight as all the principle actors have an insightly gap between their suit collars and shirt collars in the film).

      While Patrick’s list is both informative and entertaining, they relate to “style” rather than “fit”.  Australian men, like many other men in the world, do not have an appreciation of fit.

      To know one’s fit, one must acknowledge both the good and the bad of one’s body proportions.  Perhaps that in itself is why men tend to focus on style rather than fit - the fear of acknowledging their flaws.

    • Fantapants says:

      02:14pm | 28/10/09

      Very entertaining piece.  Loved the PE teacher comment.  Some really helpful comments below as well.  I also saw the GQ article on Patrick and loved the sound of what he is trying to achieve with Suit Shop.  Always good to see someone willing to try something new, particularly in Australia where there are plenty of people willing to chop you down to size just for standing out from the crowd.  Look forward to hearing more from you Patrick.


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