A suit is a classic and versatile style choice that provides an air of professionalism and authority. Many suit colors and styles are available, and you may wonder whether it is necessary for your suit jacket and pants to match. Don't worry - we've done the research and have plenty of tips to help you create a stylish and professional look that makes you stand out from the crowd.
In general, your suit jacket and pants should match, especially in formal situations. However, it is completely possible to turn a mismatched jacket and pants into a modern and stylish outfit. Here are some tips to help you look your best:
- Choose contrasting and complementary colors
- Mix and match textures
- Make sure all suit pieces are similarly fitted
- Keep your outfit seasonally consistent
- Respect event dress codes
That's a lot to remember! Don't worry, we'll go over all of these tips and more in this post. We'll also show you some examples of stylish mismatched suits and address other common suit concerns. So without further ado, let's get into it.
What Is "Spezzato" In Fashion?
"Spezzato" is an Italian term that literally means "broken." In fashion, it refers to the art of pairing a mismatched suit jacket and pants to create a stylish look in contrasting colors. This is exactly what we're going to discuss in this post. Drop the term "spezzato" at cocktail parties to sound fancy and make it clear that your mismatched suit is fashionable, modern, and very stylish.
What Are Suit Separates?
Suit separates are the elements of a suit that are sold separately or are otherwise able to be worn separately. Suit separates include jackets, pants, and vests. If your pants are a different color or style than your jacket, you are wearing suit separates. As we will discuss in this post, suit separates can be combined into a variety of stylish outfits for many occasions.
How To Coordinate A Suit Jacket With Pants
How can you update a classic formal look to express your own personal style and sense of fun? Mix it up! Pairing mismatched suit separates can expand your wardrobe. Instead of just three suits in your closet, you now have numerous combination possibilities.
Mixing and matching jackets and pants is an art. Keep these key tips in mind to achieve a successful look that appears purposeful and stylish.
Choose Contrasting And Complementary Colors
Pair colors that contrast and complement one another. Contrasting colors indicate that your mismatched suit is a choice and not a mistake. Choosing colors that complement each other shows that you are fashionable and know how to dress stylishly.
If you are not comfortable pairing colors, consider using neutral shades, grays, and blues. These colors are classic pairings that are hard to get wrong. Here are some basic pairing examples to get you started:
Navy And Neutral
Navy And Gray
You can also try pairing different shades of the same color. However, avoid pairing black with brown or pairing shades that are too similar to one another. If there is not enough contrast, it may look like you just grabbed the wrong jacket out of your closet in the morning!
Here is an example of pairing contrasting shades of blue:
If you're new to color pairing, stick with a classic shirt color like white or light blue. These colors will work well in most combinations.
Here are some more examples of stylish color pairings:
Gray and black or navy
Brown and navy
Black and gray
In this monochromatic pairing, you can use a pop of color or pattern like this woman's stripes to brighten up the outfit.
Ready for more advanced pairing? The next step is to mix solids and patterns. Make sure you're comfortable pairing solid colors first. A great way to start is to choose pieces that have similar colors.
Should Jacket Or Pants Be Darker?
There is an ongoing debate about whether your jacket or pants should be darker. Classic style experts suggest a darker tone on top to avoid looking bottom-heavy. However, others have argued that a dark jacket and light pants create a top-heavy look.
There are arguments for both sides of the debate. We recommend that you focus on pairing colors that are complementary and contrasting, and don't worry too much about which color goes where.
Mix And Match Textures
Another great way to pair mismatched suit separates is to play with texture. Does pairing complementary colors make you nervous? Try sticking with two shades of the same color family, but with pieces of different textures. This strategy works particularly well with blues, grays, and neutrals.
When pairing mismatched items, make sure your jacket and pants look like they are telling the same story about who you are. The textures should complement one another and suggest a similar level of formality for the outfit. It's also best to pair pieces made of similar fabric or similar fabric weight.
Make Sure All Suit Pieces Are Similarly Fitted
All true style icons wear formal jackets and pants that are perfectly tailored to their bodies. When you're pairing mismatched items, it's also important that your jacket and pants are tailored similarly to one another. A slim fit is generally best to tie the outfit together and create a streamlined look.
Keep Your Outfit Seasonally Consistent
Some classic suit pairings can be worn all year round. But most outfits are seasonally specific depending on the fabric. Heavier fabric such as wool is most appropriate for cold weather, and lighter fabric such as linen is most appropriate for warm weather. Wearing seasonally appropriate fabrics is not only stylish - it's also more comfortable for you.
When pairing suit separates, try to stick to the same fabric - or at least a similar fabric weight - for both pants and jacket. You don't want to look like your top half is in winter while your bottom half is in summer or vice versa. The easiest way to ensure a match is to make sure both outfit pieces match the season you are currently in.
Respect Event Dress Codes
Keep the event dress code in mind. Suit separates are less formal than a matching suit. For black-tie events, such as weddings, a matching suit is most appropriate. In the workplace, note what other people are wearing to gauge whether a mismatched suit would be acceptable attire.
In general, you do not need to wear a tie with suit separates. Going without a tie can also be helpful because it will simplify your look. It's important to avoid looking too formal because your mismatched separates may seem inappropriate, depending on the circumstances.
What Is The Difference Between A Suit Coat, Blazer, And Sport Coat?
A suit coat is the most formal of the three. It is generally made from fine wool, though a lighter suit may be made of cotton or linen, and it will always come with matching pants.
This Van Heusen slim-fit suit has a classic look. You could also pair the jacket or pants with a different color or pattern to make it more modern and edgy. The gray option is versatile and will pair well with many other colors.
Click here to see it on Amazon.
A blazer is dressier than a sport coat but less dressy than a suit jacket. Blazers are traditionally made of wool and have buttons, but modern blazers may also come in cotton and may not have buttons.
This blue Clavin Klein blazer can be bought alone or with matching pants. It will pair well with grays and neutrals and is a great option for the spezzato newbie.
Click here to see it on Amazon.
A sport coat is the least formal of these three options. These coats were originally used for hunting and other "sports," so they tend to be made of a sturdy fabric and may come in rustic colors and patterns.
This Polo sport coat comes in several colors and fabrics, but this blue subtly patterned coat is great for pairing. The subtle texture and pattern can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the formality of your event.
Click here to see it on Amazon.
All of these options can be worn with jeans or trousers, but the suit jacket is best paired with matching pants. See above for tips on how to pair a suit jacket with mismatched pants.
Can You Wear A Suit Jacket With Jeans?
A suit jacket can be worn with jeans, although a blazer or sport coat is preferable. As previously mentioned, suit jackets are generally reserved for formal occasions. Of course, if you're Ralph Lauren, you may not have to worry as much about fashion standards:
A blazer or sport coat paired with jeans is a classic spezzato combination. Pair high-quality denim with a casual blazer to make sure there is not too much contrast between the materials or the level of formality.
Try a navy blazer or sport coat with mid-wash jeans - the blue colors will complement one another:
A grey blazer with dark wash jeans is another stylish choice:
A tweed blazer and jeans can make a preppy look that is most appropriate for business casual events:
In fall or winter, add a cable-knit sweater or scarf to create a cozy and warm look:
Should Shoes Be Darker Than Pants?
As a general rule, your shoes should be darker than your pants. Shoes that are lighter than your pants draw attention toward your feet and away from your face - not ideal for a social situation.
Can You Wear A Suit Without A Belt?
You can wear a suit without a belt as long as the pants fit properly and don't have belt loops. You may need a belt if your pants are too loose. A good tailor can fit your pants to your body, and they can also remove belt loops from your pants if desired.
A belt makes an outfit more formal, so keep the event dress code in mind. For a black-tie event, you probably want to wear a belt. At a cocktail party, a belt is less important.
Make Bold Choices And Have Fun!
We've shared a lot of guidelines here, but also remember that fashion should be fun! The clothes you wear are part of your self-expression, so think about how you want others to see you. Take your time to experiment, be playful, and explore different colors and styles to find the matching or mismatched outfit that best suits you.
Here are some recent articles that address other common questions about formal fashion:
Should You Match Shoes And Handbag?