Bespoke Jackets & Separates Style Guide
Bespoke Jackets & Separates Style Guide
Fashion is there to be enjoyed and experimented with. The great thing is that most days, save for those where the occasion demands, your tailored garments don’t have to match up perfectly. You can still stylishly pair a tailored blazer, sports coat or smart casual jacket with a pair of chinos or trousers of a different colour. You can wear shorts and a polo and still look dapper.
At Marc Oliver, we deal in much more than just tailored suits — we hand tailor a whole range of jackets and separates according to our clients’ wishes. While we excel in making smart casual and business casual jackets to perfection, we’re also seasoned experts at beautifully cutting and tailoring shorts, Bermudas, trousers, chinos and waistcoats.
The trick for you though, is to develop a basic understanding of what garments you should pair together. Our tailors can advise you on this in greater detail when you meet, helping you to visualize how you’ll wear your items.
But since we like to open doors and clear up some of the mysteries of Savile Row tailoring, we’ll take you through a few winning combinations of suit separates in this style guide.
The world of jacket & trouser combinations is just about limitless, so we’re never going to get through everything here, but here are a few starting points:
Just in case you don’t know, there are a few key differences between a blazer and a suit jacket. It’s a less formal garment, and is often unlined and unpadded, making it light, comfortable and versatile.
A navy blazer pairs just about perfectly with a pair of neutral or grey coloured trousers, so much so that this is seen as the quintessential separates combination. It’s very safe, yet looks smart, casual and self assured all at once.
If you want to add a touch of flair and personality, change your shirt from white to light pink or blue, experiment with pocket squares in rich green, burgundies or brown, and change up your footwear and trouser length.
Blazer and jeans combinations add another dimension to your outfit, thanks to the clash of materials. In truth, it’s a look that can go very wrong or very right, depending on how you pair the two. You’ll need a good quality pair of denim jeans, preferably in a medium, mid-wash blue. Make sure that your blazer is suitably informal enough to not clash too much with your jeans. It’ll look great with a pair of brown boat shoes, loafers, suede Oxfords, or even a chelsea boot.
Just like above, this combination depends on the quality matching quality, and formality matching formality. Wear a lightweight, cotton blazer for the best effect, and play as much as you wish with the colour of your shirt. White works well, as does blue, if you don’t want to stand out too much. However, if you want to be a standout, feel free to wear a colourful patterned shirt — but do try to avoid thick stripes in this case.
Navy or brown shoes will work perfectly here, and a brown belt with a gold buckle will really help set the whole outfit off.
A classic look that can even be suitable for more highbrow events like semi-formal weddings, provided your trousers and jacket are of the right quality. It’ll go best with a simple white or blue button down shirt and a pair of black or brown shoes. It’s best to stay more muted on the accessory front here — a simple white pocket square would do.
Brown and navy colour combinations work best when they’re slim fitting, otherwise they can leave the wearer looking a little outdated and frumpish. But when done right, it’s a winning combo. Even dark blue or navy jeans can work here, along with a brown or grey Chelsea boot or brogue. For the shirt, we’d recommend sticking to white or a light to medium blue here.
In short — whatever you like. Chinos can work in just about all of the above combinations, as long as they’re well fitted and good quality. The wonderful thing about chinos is that they’re so versatile, available in a range of colours, and offer great comfort. They’ll look great with a t-shirt, a long or short sleeve button down, blazer, jumper, bomber jacket or coat. As for what footwear you should wear with a pair of chinos, they’ll look good with anything from clean white sneakers, to dress shoes, brogues (without socks) and work boots.
As is always the case with pairing separates together, the key is simply to make sure that the level of formality in each garment runs along similar lines, e.g. chinos, sneakers and a t-shirt. Or chinos, button down and brogues.
And as is also always the case, if you’re having a pair of chinos made bespoke, make sure to talk with your tailor to learn more about the options you have for wearing them.
First, what’s the difference? If you didn’t already know, the key difference between Bermudas and shorts is that Bermudas are longer. They usually reach the top of the knee or thereabouts, whereas shorts tend to reach somewhere in the mid thigh. Generally speaking, Bermudas are considered leisurewear, while shorts are seen to be a little more befitting of physical activity.
Both styles are becoming increasingly popular though, and can be paired with anything from t-shirts to denim jackets and bombers, and button down Oxford shirts to casual blazers. As for what shoes to wear, clean sneakers, boat shoes, espadrilles or loafers can all look fabulous with a pair of shorts or Bermudas.
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As one of the UK's leading shoeshine and patina artists, Steven Skippen knows better than most how shoes can make or break a great outfit. We recently caught up with to hear about his work.