Style Basics

What are some alternatives to the standard suit in menswear?

By on January 5th, 2018

Are you burnt out on wearing a suit or tuxedo? Hopefully, not forever! But if you are looking for something a little different for the moment, here are some alternatives to the standard suit that you can consider.

A sportcoat 

This is a more casual alternative to the 2-piece men’s suit that can trace its origins back to sporting events like hunting and other activities in the English countryside. Therefore, there’s usually a center vent on the back for mobility. Today, this is partly why a center vent can be deemed “too casual” for fancy events, and side vents preferred.

Also, sportcoats tend to have a fun pattern and can be a little more textured than a suit.

fall style tips

A blazer

This jacket will usually be darker, and in one color, when compared to the sportcoat. Therefore, it’s better for dressier occasions. Pair a navy blazer with grey pants and a white dress shirt and tie for the office. Or, grab some dark denim jeans and go open collar for date night.

But a blazer is still “like a suit” because it’s a constructed jacket. So a third option…

Wear a nice cardigan

One of my favorite looks to substitute in when you don’t want to wear a full suit is to find a nice merino wool (or cashmere) cardigan. Layer over either a dress shirt and tie or a T-shirt for more casual/hip occasions. A lightweight cardigan in jet black or charcoal can still provide a very dressy look.

Or, just a nice sweater in either a crew neck or V-neck cut. Wearing a button-up dress shirt with a necktie underneath can be a great look. While it won’t compare to the level of dressiness with any suit, it can still look very sleek when you wear black.

The Nehru jacket

Modeled on the Indian achkan or sherwani, a garment worn by Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India from 1947 to 1964, the Nehru jacket has a beautiful minimalist aesthetic. Here’s an article I wrote for more information on this unique jacket.

a nehru jacket for a wedding

Wrap up

I hope this helps! Wearing a suit is really the gold standard when it comes to standard men’s attire, but hopefully the above options are useful when you’re looking to try something different. And although it may seem like fewer men are wearing suits today, there are still lots of us! Plus, wearing one is your opportunity to stand apart.

By the way, here are some handy style tips for the cooler months that are a little more casual.