June 21, 2017 5 min read

Principles from Melbourne's leading designer and men's stylist

Nothing makes a more immediate fashion impression, than that of the suit you wear – and too often it’s a bad one.

For more than 10 years, I’ve enjoyed the privilege of suiting people from all walks of life. From the celebrity appearances on the red carpet, NBA players on game day, AFL premiers, Groomsmen, and - probably the most memorable - a young man getting ready for his first job interview.

No matter what the occasion, there are some basic questions that I always ask my personal styling customers which ensure they always look their absolute best. Stick to these and you can’t go wrong:


What are you buying the suit for?

Deciding on what suit you purchase shouldn’t start on the shop floor. It’s imperative that you understand what you need the suit for in the first place.

Are you getting married? Is the suit for work and serves as a dual purpose for an upcoming event? Is the suit to be worn in warm climates, colder weather or needs to be trans-seasonal?

Answering these questions is the first step to making the right decisions around colour, fabric, and style.


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What colour and material should you go with? 

Depending on where you are with your personal style journey, one of your first considerations should be versatility.

Just because the fashion blogger strutting around Florence on your insta feed is wearing bold, outlandish checks and colours, doesn’t mean you should do the same. 

A great place to start is with a medium blue or medium grey suit. These tones generally lend themselves to both day and night, dressing up or down. 

When it comes to choosing fabrics, choosing a wool suit will give you the most versatility. Wool can be technical so just be sure the quality sits around the Super 100 – Super 120 range. These are the most durable and cost effective.

Bonus tip: Save cotton blend options for smart casual jackets and pants.

A black suit is your third must have in the wardrobe but should be reserved for specific occasions, like cocktail parties, weddings and funerals.

If you live in Melbourne, however, black will probably work for any occasion!

Get all your basics covered with these staples before you venture further out into more playful colours and styles.

Godwin Charli | Madrid Blue 

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How should a suit fit?

Men come in all shapes and sizes but fundamentally a jacket should fit a certain way and so should the pants. If you knew nothing else, making sure the sleeve and trouser lengths are tailored correctly is a massive win.

  • Sleeves should reveal no more than 1cm of shirt cuff or finish just where your wrist meets your hand, and the trouser length should subtly kiss the top of your shoes.
  • The jacket should naturally follow the contours of your body, without any signs of stress across the shoulders, chest or waist. Any good tailor or shop assistant can help you with this. 
  • Shoulder seams should never extend beyond your actual shoulders, and avoid excessive padding at all costs.

BEWARE THE CLASSIC SUIT FIT-FAIL: Trying to find a suit that fits really tightly due to some media personality you just saw in your Facebook feed. I see celebrities, with no excuse, mis-wearing (sometimes really expensive) suits… often.

RULE: Always avoid squeezing into anything. If it looks too small, it probably is!      

You can also go the other way.

By sticking to a dated look of looser arm holes and baggier pants, you can do yourself a huge disservice. A lot of guys have no idea that they’re looking bigger and sloppier than they actually are.

Ensure you keep these things in mind and get the right tailoring advice from the in-store stylist or suiting professional.

Another key trend in Melbourne at the moment with my younger customers is exposed ankles.

The bare ankle look can make for a stylish break from tradition, especially in the summer months with a linen or cotton suit.

However, never lose sight of who you are with, or why you are there. If you’re going into a boardroom the last thing you’re going to be wearing that day is no-show socks! Unless you work in Silicon Valley, keep it for social circles.

Remember that personal style is about timing and context (and self-awareness).

Godwin Charli | MADRID SUIT GREY 

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How to match with the right shoes and shirt.

The most perfectly styled suit can be completely undermined by poor shirt / shoe compliment.

In terms of shoes, if your suit is navy or grey, always stick with brown leather.

  • Lace-ups and loafers both work as long they aren’t square-toed.
  • Also, it’s always preferable to have a leather sole shoe if you’re going for a well curated look.

When it comes to dress shirts…

  • Watch out for ‘pirate sleeves’ (cinched cuffs with baggy arms,) the ‘flying squirrel’ (excess fabric underneath armpits) and ‘muffin tops’ (billowing fabric around the waist).
  • White is the best-selling colour across the board because it works like a blank canvas. We can’t keep up with the demand for our classic white shirt and it’s a personal favourite of mine. Just make sure it is always washed and well pressed, especially the collar (Don’t lose your collar stays!). There is also nothing worse than yellow stains under the armpits! Time to throw those out and invest in a number of white classic crisp shirts to keep you looking fresh. 
  • I also recommend buying a shirt and tie at the same time as your suit so you can complement the overall look all at once. It is also a great way to get the styling advice from the shop assistant who is usually well versed in what makes a great look.
  • Another tip is if you’re wearing a pocket square, it should never match the fabric of your tie, and learn how to correctly place it in the pocket. I have had that many people ask how to wear the square correctly that I have made a tutorial video on this topic alone.

Godwin Charli | MADRID SUIT BLUE

(Use one-time promo codeGCSUIT01 for 10% further discount on any marked price incl. sale items)


Wrapping your package

At the end of the day a good suit isn’t a cheap suit, but it doesn’t have to break the bank either. You can get great quality and in-season suits in Melbourne from between $500 - $900 that make a sharp first impression.

Born and raised in Melbourne, and I pride myself on always being available to help my customers with the best style advice and fitting expertise.

Feel free to contact me at godwin@godwincharli.com for any question you might have or to book a session with me personally in one of our stores.