When getting dressed for a job interview, wedding or another occasion that warrants a suit, you also have to think about accessories. You can complete your look with a belt, pocket square, cufflinks and a watch.
The watch you choose needs to fit in seamlessly with your full ensemble. Typically, a dress watch with a standard face and leather or narrow metal band meets these expectations.
Yet similar to your shoes and belt, a watch can look “off” if you don’t consider the right colors and materials. For a more professional look, effectively match your suit and watch with the following style tips.
Understand the Dress Code
Dress codes influence the type of suit you wear, from traditional navy wool to checkered. Ahead of the occasion, be sure to clarify the following:
- Black or White Tie: These events are the top tier of formality, requiring a tuxedo or your nicest suit. Your watch should be a background accessory – ideally, a black leather band with a simple watch face.
- Business: Wear a classic suit in navy, charcoal or gray with a traditional to slim silhouette, accented by notch lapels. Your watch should not be the statement piece here. As such, select a black or brown leather band based on your suit color or a watch with silver-toned hardware.
- Cocktail: These events offer more leeway for patterns and accessories. A cocktail occasion is ideal for your patterned or looser-fitting double-breasted suit. Your watch has potential to be perceived as a statement accessory, so consider one that complements your suit color or pattern, regardless of size.
- Business Casual: A suit is not required but you may be expected to wear a blazer or suit jacket and chinos. Match your shoes to your jacket and your watch to your shoes.
In Relation to Suit Color
After you have determined the suit you’ll wear based on dress code, think about its color in relation to your watch:
- Black Suit: Generally, avoid black and brown pairings. Select a black watch band or, for cocktail dress, a silver or gold band to pop with shimmer and contrast.
- Navy Suit: Another traditional option, navy tends to work better with cooler tones. As navy and black can easily look mismatched, pick a brown leather or silver watch band.
- Gray Suit: Regardless of how dark the hue, gray tends to be the most versatile, complemented by black, brown and silver.
- Brown and Tan: Although color can be based on season, brown and tan suits fit in more with cocktail dress. You’ll have more freedom here but in terms of band color, brown leather, gold or a muted silver can better match your suit.
- Prints and Patterns: Whether plaid, windowpane checks or floral, the pattern you choose is the focal point of your outfit. Although watch size can vary, consider looking for a color that plays second fiddle, preferably a solid black or silver band to avoid too many contrasting elements.
In addition to the points described above, keep the following in mind:
- Coordinate your accessories. Match your watch material to your belt and shoes, avoiding a black watch band when sporting brown shoes.
- Consider investing in a set of interchangeable bands for your dress watch, if you attend multiple formal occasions or have a job where business dress is required.
- Make sure the leather on the watch band displays no scuffs or fraying.
- Think about band width in relation to your wrist. If you have a slimmer wrist, avoid a thicker watch band that may look out of place.