How To Wear A Three Piece Suit

How To Wear A Three Piece Suit

dragon inside suit review

A three piece suit is one of the most useful and versatile items a man can own.  In the tailored goods category, it may in fact be the most useful (yes, even more so than a blue blazer).  The added vest (that makes a two piece a three piece) allows for a few more combinations that are not possible with the more common two piece suit.  Additionally, there is the practical utility of the extra layer around the torso in that it can provide warmth, which can be ideal in cooler weather.

Although a three piece suit is typically a bit of a statement, it does not always have to be so.  It is important to realize that just because you have the vest to make a suit a three piece, does not always mean you should wear it.  Sometimes more is in fact less.  So I advise that if you have to debate whether or not it is too much to don the vest, then leave it at home.

In the series of photos below I will explain my thinking behind each combination.  As a heads up, the ensembles are organized from most formal to least formal.  Which should give you an idea where things stand.  The suit featured is Dragon Inside’s Grey Flannel Suit (which I will be reviewing shortly, but if you don’t want to wait for that, Dragon Inside has gotten better since my first review).


Dragon Inside three piece suit
The first, and perhaps most obvious set is to wear the entire suit. It is the most aggressive and formal combination, that said, wear with care. But when done, it is hard to beat.  Although both brown and black shoes could have been worn, I felt that black shoes (Meermin) were more appropriate given the formality of the rest of what I was wearing.
Dragon Inside three piece suit
With this ensemble I went for a very formal and aggressive look.  I kept it simple with the solid white pocket square (Kent Wang) and solid blue wool tie (Chipp2).  But pushed it with the striped shirt with white collar and cuffs (Alexander West).  I suppose this would be an example of ‘power suiting.’


How to wear a three piece suitHow to wear a 3 piece suit
About as simple as it gets.  This ensemble would be equally at home at the office or in a social setting, particularly at night.  I wanted to add a touch of color to things so I chose my burgundy wholecut loafers (J Fitzpatrick).
How to wHow to wear a three piece suitear a 3 piece suit
The gray wool knit tie (Paul Stuart) adds some texture but still keep things relatively formal.


How to wear a three piece suit
The pants can easily (and obviously) be worn separately from the vest and jacket.  Obviously, you could just as easily wear the suit jacket with different pants.
How to wear a three piece suit
Although the knit tie is less formal than a folded necktie and the wearing of an odd jacket also scales back the formality.  The ensemble is still a rather formal one largely due to the double breasted jacket.


Dragon Inside three piece suit
Your first thought may be, ‘wait, a suit is more formal than an odd jacket.’ Which normally I would agree with. However, the deciding factor in making this ensemble less formal than the previous one is the fact that a tie is not being worn in this one. Not wearing a tie is one of the easiest and fastest things you can do to dress down a suit.  Wearing loafers (Brooks Brothers/Peal & Co.) instead of lace ups is another.
How to wear a three piece suit
Especially when said shirt is a button down (Vineyard Vines).


How to wear a three piece suit
In keeping with the typical FYGblog fashion, I must touch on how not to wear something. Do not wear the vest without a jacket. It is an inappropriate combination and much like wearing a tie without a jacket, you run the risk of looking like a member of the waitstaff…

I have by no mean exhausted the ways to wear a three piece suit.  You could always wear the jacket as an odd jacket or the vest as an odd vest, to name two ways.  But I think by now you get the idea.  If you have any questions or comments sound off below.



Note: FYGblog received no form of compensation in the production of this post from any of the brands noted.  However, the suit was received at no charge for purposes of the upcoming second review on Dragon Inside.



    • I’d say the rule could be ignored in less formal circumstances. I’ve never been mixed up while removing my jacket.

  1. Patrick,
    If you are warm at your desk I suppose that is one thing, take off your jacket and leave the vest on. But to walk around town without a jacket and with a vest, I would not do; remove the vest.

    A tie is not essential, by scarf do you mean an ascot? I think an ascot would be fine. A scarf would work well as an accessory.

  2. Just curious about a few things:

    1) What is your height?
    2) You seem muscular around your chest/torso. Correct?

    What I found is that when you wore the three piece suit, you looked a bit more bulky around the middle than when you wore a two piece suit. Is there a way to make yourself look less bulky?

    I ask this because my build is similar to yours, although shorter (5’9″).

    • Venu,
      I am 5’10”. I would say I am moderately so, my chest measures 41″ and stomach 33″ so I have an 8″ drop. By its nature a 3 piece will add a little bit of bulk and aside from tightening the strap in the back and having the vest tailored to be snug I have not founda ny other solutions to try to slim the appearance of it.

  3. The suits you are wearing are too thick for Pakistani summers. I think you should get a charcoal grey suit in fine material. Black oxfords ( single sole) are always the most formal.

  4. I have a regular two piece suit that I would like to get a vest for (it’s for my brothers wedding), I wanted to know if I should get with or without lapels, and also is it a problem if the vest is not the exact shade?
    Thank you very much.

    • Yehuda,
      Up to you on the lapel front. I often like lapels on my vests. Unless you can get fabric from the same dyelot as the original fabric I’d advise against trying to match the fabric. Even if it is a little bit off it wont look right. Might be better off having an odd vest made, one of a different fabric and color.

  5. I just purchased a three piece suit and was told never to button the jacket. Ive asked around and looked it up and some say never to button it and some say its fine??

    • Sal, an easy way to remember the buttons on a suit depends on how many it has. Top button always, middle button (on 3 button jacket) sometimes, last button never. The same rule applies to a vest, although it may have more buttons than the jacket.

      • No, Sal is talking about should you button the suit jacket at ALL if you already have a waistcoat? Is it fine to leave the suit jacket completely unbuttoned, exposing the waistcoat underneath.

  6. Do you have to button your jacket when wearing a 3-piece suit? I think sometimes it looks better if you leave the jacket unbuttoned.