Seven Rules to Wearing Suede

This week’s ‘How to wear it’ article has been guest edited by Olie Arnold, Deputy Style Director, MRPORTER.COM, who brings his expertise to help you style suede seamlessly this winter. 


  1. Keep it simple

The best looks are those that somehow manage to be more than the sum of their parts. Just the core elements, worn together so well: jeans, a white tee, a suede jacket. But there is a synergy in the simple yet eye-catching combination of tan suede and indigo denim. This is the unmistakable expression of a man who knows that he’s well dressed. The take-home lesson here is not to overcomplicate things.


  1. Cut it with camo

If you’re going to do something, you may as well do it properly – and there is perhaps no better way to welcome suede into your life and your wardrobe than with a classic field jacket. But how to wear it in a contemporary fashion we hear you ask. Camouflage trousers break up the textured suede, giving this otherwise classic piece a decidedly modern feel.


  1. Try different textures

Piling impracticality on top of glamorous impracticality, a suede jacket in cream might seem like a luxury too far for some. Whereas the preceding looks have been defined by their contrasting colours and patterns, this is all about the textural interplay between the butter-soft suede jacket and the chunky Aran knit sweater. A neutral palette gives these contrasting textures plenty of room to shine.


  1. Embrace the dark side

A black velvet blazer is a popular choice for after dark because of the fabric’s ability to soak up light, which lends it a deep, blacker-than-black appearance. Suede, another richly textured fabric, has the same quality. This makes it ideal for adding another dimension to the monochrome look, which, despite its enduring popularity among the fashion cognoscenti, is always susceptible to accusations of being a little unadventurous. A bomber jacket in black suede elevates a simple sportswear-inspired look into something sharp enough to turn heads.


  1. Channel your inner cowboy

If we were searching for the roots of the fashion world’s current infatuation with all things 1970s, we could do worse than to start our investigation with Mr Hedi Slimane, the influential creative director behind Saint Laurent’s recent successes. His vision of “psych rock’s new rising” informed the label’s recent spring collection, which was heavy with western-style suede jackets – not unlike the camel suede jacket from Saint Laurent. This look demonstrates how to turn a rough ’n’ ready American icon into something suitable for the front row, with the addition of a crisp white shirt that is.


  1. Try it with tailoring

The unexpected contrast between the sharp lines of a tailored suit and the boxy, substantial silhouette of a shearling-collar suede flight jacket is a striking ensemble. This look is all about using contrast to your advantage: contrasting colours, contrasting textures, or, in this case, contrasting modes of attire.


  1. Work it with workwear

Championed by men such as the legendary street-style photographer Mr Bill Cunningham, the blue cotton-twill worker jacket has become something of a menswear staple over the past few years. About time, then, that it was given a luxury makeover. A utility jacket in kingfisher-blue suede is best toned down with muted styling, pairing it with a sober grey sweatshirt and pale blue chinos.

By Oli Arnold