Accessorising your Suit: Mastering the Detail


Right chaps, we’ll be the first to admit that we put a lot of emphasis on nailing the cut of your suit. To our minds, an impeccably tailored suit can sculpt you into something close to sartorial perfection. But here’s the kicker: a killer suit isn’t enough to make heads turn. Pairing a stylish suit with the right accessories injects personality and panache into your look, taking it from ‘meh’ to ‘mesmerising’ in a moment.

Getting it right doesn’t always come naturally, though, and there are some hard and fast rules that even we rebels like to play by. To help you on your way, we’ve laid out the groundwork and dissected the dos and don’ts in a mini handbook of how to accessorise your suit, from top to toe.

Glasses (sun, not prescription):  For gents living in the UAE, sunglasses aren’t merely an accessory – they’re a survival tool. For a can’t-fail beginner combination, stick with time-tested styles that suit your face shape impeccably, such as Aviators and Wayfarers. Once you’ve mastered this, you can employ new tricks, such as matching the lenses to suit colour for next-level coordination.


Ties: The quintessential menswear accessory, and possibly one of the trickiest elements to get right. Width, pattern, length, fabric – it’s a fashion sudoku. Remember, wide ties for broad lapels, skinny ties for slim-fit suits. A tie should always hover gracefully above your waistband, too. And, when it comes to colours and patterns, keep it contrasting but complimentary. Choose colours next to each other on the colour wheel (like purple and blue) for an analogous approach, or colours directly opposite each other (like blue and orange) for a bolder statement.

Tie bars: The ‘80s called, saying they want their tie bars back; but, sorry, we’re keeping them. A tie bar is a nifty accessory that stops your tie from swinging in a strong wind or swimming in your spaghetti vongole. Here, the clip should match the width of your shirt and sit snuggly between the third and fourth buttons of your shirt. Pro tip: don’t forget the metal finish. Coordinate this with your watch or cufflinks for extra style points.

Pocket watches: Feeling dapper? A pocket watch is your ticket to vintage charm. Stick to sophisticated metallics like silver, muted golds and brushed bronze, and avoid anything that screams “bling”. It just looks cheap. Think about how the finish complements your skin tone and suit colour too. Warmer-toned suits call for warmer metals, while classic monochromes can take a wider range of colours.


Pocket squares:  To pocket square or not to pocket square? Three-piece suit. Absolutely. Two-piece? Only if you’re after some added oomph, and even then only with a formal jacket. Experiment with colours, folds and patterns to add visual interest and depth to your look. Simple square folds work well in work settings, while weddings call for the more flamboyant puff or triangle fold. Patterns work best on plain suits and vice versa. Oh, and remember – never, ever match your pocket square directly with your tie.

Lapel pins: Boutonnieres, floral pins, stick pins, brooches – the lapel is your canvas, so paint it with personality. Keep it on the left, parallel to your lapel, and let your imagination run wild. A boutonniere (small flower) is usually reserved for weddings, while cotton floral lapels work well at formal events like the races. Meanwhile, metal lapel pins and brooches can be used in more casual settings to bring out your quirkiness. Think animal, sports and travel-themed motifs. These little details are guaranteed to pack a punch.

Cufflinks: The tiny but mighty accessory is guaranteed to add a touch of refinement to your ensemble. Choose classic metals (silver and gold) for formal affairs, and consider the tone of your outfit when picking a colour. For example, silver cufflinks work well with cooler tones like grey or navy, while gold complements warmer hues, like brown or olive. Novelty cufflinks have a place, too, but reserve these for more casual settings. Just make sure they play nice with your other metallic accessories for that oh-so-cohesive look.


Internal linings: Why stop at the surface? Ditch the traditional matchy-matchy approach and opt for a rebellious contrast lining that adds a pop of personality to your ensemble. Whether it’s a daring plash of deep red or a playful pattern peeking from beneath your business suit, let your lining be a wink to the person you are outside the office or event.

Belts: Ah, the great belt debate. Belts with suits, sometimes. Leather, always. A well-tailored pair of trousers will rarely have belt loops, but side adjusting buckles instead. If you do choose trousers with belt loops, a belt is non-negotiable. But please, no faded brass buckles. The belt should compliment the suit, not draw your eye away from it. Choose a high-grade leather and opt for a darker hue for darker suits. Keep it simple, keep it classy and, for the love of style, match it with your shoes.

Socks: The unsung heroes of suiting up. Proper suit etiquette calls for mid-calf or longer socks so that your leg remains covered when the bottom of your trousers inevitably rises. Matching your socks to your trousers brings cohesion (side note: never match your socks to your shoes), but don’t shy away from contrast to spice things up. Patterned socks are fine, but don’t let them clash with your suit’s motif. Instead, tie them to another detail in your outfit, like your tie, for a harmonious symphony of style that’ll have heads turning.

So, whether you’re a seasoned style aficionado or a sartorial novice, remember this: the devil is in the details. Now go forth, gents, and accessorise with confidence, knowing that every pocket square fold, pin choice and sock choice adds a unique flair to your style.

For more help on nailing your accessories, pop into your favourite Ascots & Chapels store for a free consultation. See you soon, chaps!

Author: Gary Sweeney