When Should I Wear a Suit?

When should I wear a suit is a question that guys may need to think about these days. Everyone knows – our society’s dress is quite casual – and wearing a suit is more of an exception that than a rule. That being said, there are those among us who really might not know how to answer this question. Age is not a factor for this – it’s just that we don’t wear suits that much anyone.

Indianapolis Men's Stylist choice of suitAdvice from Your Indianapolis Men’s Stylist

What has changed is that there are different kinds of suits and suit-look options beyond the tired navy blazer and khaki pants and a blue button-down shirt. When I say wear a suit in this story — it could be interpreted as a sport coat and pants — for some situations.

So why should we care about this question – and the “right” occasion to wear a suit.  Let me tell you a true story: the pastor of our church told this story recently. He was invited to a very well-known event in Washington, DC, with our vice president. Many other heavy hitters in the capital would be there as well. This individual did not wear a suit and tie; he wore dress slacks, a dress shirt and a sweater vest—which seems like a reasonable outfit. However, when met the group, he was the only one there who was not wearing a suit and tie. Momentarily he felt out of place.

Considering his experience and knowing there are going to be other times when a suit and tie might be appropriate, let’s review some possible times when a suit/tie, suit, and dress shirt, or a sport coat, dress shirt and pants are needed.

  1. Meeting with an elected official or even a famous individual
  2. Funeral (especially darker clothes)
  3. Wedding
  4. Church baptism
  5. Job interview
  6. An Awards program, especially if it’s an evening event
  7. A formal dinner party in the evening
  8. Work meeting with C-suite executives
  9. Special date
  10. Any event where you know others will be wearing suits


If you are going to an event and are clueless about what people will wear or the dress code, ask someone! Other options are to wear a suit and bring a tie that you can remove.

Indianapolis Men's Stylist choice of tan oxfordIf you are wearing a formal suit, don’t forget to wear the right shoes: you can’t go wrong with a black oxford. If it’s a less formal suit or a suit in a bright fashion color such as blue, you can wear brown oxfords or even a dressy sneaker.

Men’s Classic-Fit Navy UltraFlex Suit

For those important meetings that are not routine and a bit more formal, don’t forget your grooming. Don’t overdo wearing fragrance and watch that your soap/deodorant are not heavily scented as well.

Also, if you need a haircut – get one! Also make sure your fingernails are groomed – maybe you need a manicure and a buffing.

If you have an event coming up that baffles your or one in which you need to make a great impression, ask your Indianapolis stylist – me! I often work with men and women who need to project a better or more polished image at work or in their personal life.

Keep is sassy, Indy.

Beth Divine, MA

AICI Certified Image Consultant and Indianapolis Men’s Stylist