Suiting has seen a bit of a royal resurgence in recent months, with Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle both—frequently—donning this business casual staple. But how do you wear one so that it feels modern and not like you’re headed into a stuffy office? And is there a way to revitalize the one you already own? The proof is in the royal pictures, where you’ll instantly see: Whether you’re disembarking from a flight or attending a basketball game, a suit may actually be one of the most versatile ensembles in your closet. Here, the five rules for wearing one, according to two of our style icons.
The 5 Rules of Wearing a Suit, According to Kate Middleton & Meghan Markle
1. Go Head-to-Toe Monochromatic
Whether you’re stepping off a plane (in Middleton’s case, she had just touched down at Logan Airport) or going out for drinks, a monochromatic suit is the easiest—and chicest—one-and-done outfit these days. Still, the trick to getting it right is to match everything, i.e. the bag, shoes, the belt. It can be tonal (for example, Middleton’s shoes and belt appear to be black, not amethyst, which is the color of the suit), but you don’t want anything pulling your eye away from the boldness of one consistent color choice.
2. Experiment with an Oversize Blazer
Yes, height helps when you play around with the length and proportions of a traditional suit (Markle is 5’6”), but as long as the fit is right—meaning the jacket doesn’t pull or bunch at your waist or hips—it can look sleek and fresh regardless of how tall you are. Also, detais—like pocket placement or the length of the pant—matter, so dial a tailor who can make adjustments if you’re unsure.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Mix and Match
Vintage Chanel blazer, meet skinny jeans—proof that you don’t need to own a full-fledged suit to accomplish a similar effect. In fact, here’s what makes this look sing: A more embellished and texturized blazer draws the eye up, while the black denim (again, with a perfectly tailored fit) complements without competing.
4. Think Beyond What’s Traditional
For example, Markle’s single button that’s off to one side offers an eye-catching twist on what’s typically seen in suiting (like a single- or double-breasted design). You can also play around with an asymmetrical fit or a belted style (which Markle has also experimented with). The bottom line: Suiting itself is traditional, but when it comes to choosing one, don’t be afraid to color outside the lines.
5. When in Doubt, a White Tee (or Tank) Always Works
It’s a great way to dress the look down, but a white tee or tank—like the one you already have in your closet—is also an easy way to break up head-to-toe color for a vibe that’s a bit more dressed down but still appears sophisticated and smart. Just be sure to tuck it in and make sure it’s as pressed and polished feeling as the suit itself.