Checks And The Casual Suit
They say “dress for the job you want not the job you’ve got”.
Sound advice, but surely this rule should apply to more than just matters of employment. Who says going on a date or taking your girl out to dinner needs to be done in a drab urban uniform of jeans and a shirt, or most likely T-shirt. Dress for the job you want! Dress for the life you want should be the motto.
In this vein I’ve been thinking about the idea of a casual suit, with all the clean lines and sculpting that a suit offers but offering a more harmonious and complete look than odd jacket and trousers. The resurgence of tie wearing and ivy influenced casual wear makes this an ideal time to do what our grandfathers, and the likes of Grant and the Duke of Windsor, would have seen as second nature. And for this purpose I can think of nothing better than a bold check.
Checks are undoubtedly a more casual option than plain greys and blues, or even pinstripes. Likewise, a worsted check suit is better suited to urban settings and indifferent weather than say plain cottons or linen, which can look odd in a concrete grey Cities. Even if you wear your check suit with a shirt and tie you’ll still look less buttoned-up in my view. I also think that checks are an ideal choice for business trips and conferences with their typically odd ‘business casual’ dress code, when you still want to look slick and professional but slightly more at ease.
Checks can take you out of your comfort zone, so start small with something familiar like a Prince of Wales check and move on when you feel more comfortable. Easier to dress than you imagine, I’ve always thought the key to dressing checks is to tone them down. For this reason a pale blue shirt can often work better than a white one, which can provide too stark a contrast. I’m a lover of check suits anyways and always have a Prince of Wales (Glen Check) in the wardrobe, so I’m looking for something bolder; and the bolder the check the more natural it looks away from the office.
The art of dressing well is to choose clothes that not only look good and are well cut but which suit you’re own personal style and in which you feel comfortable, physically and mentally. I’ve reached that point in my life where I feel comfortable with the idea of a casual suit.