Not all black suits are created equal, however. The quality of the material speaks as loudly as the color and can make the difference between looking genuine sharp and imitation suave. The right material will conform properly to a person’s physique and let the wrinkles fall out when hanging in your closet.
As far as shirts are concerned, use this general rule: what works for tuxedos generally works for suits. A solid white or blue dress shirt with long sleeves offers the most polished look. The more pattern and color you add, the more the focus is on your clothing, rather than your professionalism. Ties should be made of silk or a silk-like fabric. Skip the cartoon characters and go for simple and subtle if you want to enhance your look.
Getting down to the details, socks should be calf-length or above. Make sure they match not only what you are wearing, but also each other. The finest of black slim fitted suits can quickly take a turn for the worse with a set of mismatching socks. A quick glance in good light before heading out the door can save embarrassment later in the day. Check for holes as well if you'll be going through airport security and removing your shoes to avoid undue awkwardness.
Without question, shoes should be conservative, clean and well-polished. Lace-up shoes are the choice over slip-ons or flip flops. People notice shoes. Many people will look at your feet before your face. Belts need to match or closely coordinate with your shoes. Once again, quality counts. Keep jewelry to a minimum. In a time when men sport gold necklaces, bracelets and earrings, the business professional should limit himself to a conservative watch, a wedding band and maybe his college ring.
It goes beyond the clothes. Personal hygiene is part of the success equation. Freshly scrubbed wins over heavily fragranced any day of the week. Save the after-shave for after hours, but never the shave itself.
Lastly, the finishing touch for the business man is his choice of accessories: briefcase, portfolio and pen. When it comes to sealing the deal, a top of the line suit, a silk tie and a good pair of leather shoes can lose their effect when you pull out the ball point pen you picked up in the hotel meeting room the day before. As most important things, it’s both the small details and the overall picture you need to be aware of for the best outcomes.