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Design & Style

Tan France’s 6 Tips for Dressing Down a Suit

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 9, 2020 • 3 min read

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Tan France Teaches Style for Everyone

For men’s fashion, a well-tailored suit is one of the most essential items in your capsule wardrobe. Even if you don’t have a corporate job, a suit is always in fashion and can come in handy for many occasions. One of the main benefits of having a suit lies in its flexibility to be dressed up into more formal attire or dressed down for a dressy casual look.

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Tan France Teaches Style for EveryoneTan France Teaches Style for Everyone

Queer Eye cohost Tan France breaks down the principles of great style, from building a capsule wardrobe to looking pulled together every day.

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A Brief Introduction to Tan France

While some were first introduced to fashion expert Tan France on the Primetime Emmy-nominated Netflix show Queer Eye in 2018, the prolific stylist has been in the fashion and styling business for over 20 years. Before the fashion guru appeared in the hit makeover show reboot along with the rest of “The Fab Five,” co-stars Bobby Berk, Antoni Porowski, Karamo Brown, and Jonathan Van Ness (JVN), he had helped thousands of people find their personal style and find a look that makes them feel like the very best version of themselves. Since the breakout success of Queer Eye, Tan has become one of the most visible, sought-after personal stylists in the world—making history as the first openly gay South Asian man on television. In 2019, he published his memoir, Naturally Tan, which became an instant New York Times bestseller. In 2020, Tan co-hosted the fun and fast-paced 2020 Netflix fashion design competition series, Next in Fashion, with Alexa Chung.

Tan France’s 6 Tips for Dressing Down a Suit

From job interviews to weddings, there are many formal events that call for a perfectly tailored suit. However, you don’t have to reserve your suit or tuxedo only for formal occasions; They can be dressed down and worn for casual events like post-work drinks, a casual Friday at work, or the opening of a new art gallery. Check out the following tips on dressing down your formal menswear from world-class fashion stylist Tan France:

  1. Remove your tie. One of the easiest ways to dress down a suit is to remove your tie. If you’re going out for drinks after work but are concerned that your suit is too formal for a trip to your local bar, removing your tie is the best way to create a more casual outfit. You can also unbutton the top two buttons of your button-down shirt for a business casual look.
  2. Swap out your button-down. Swapping your button-down shirt for a more casual shirt, like a V-neck or slim-fit crew neck shirt, is a great way to dress down a suit. Solid colors work best, but don’t be afraid to play with bold colors. If T-shirts don’t fit the dress code you’re aiming to achieve, you can swap the white dress shirt for a button-up polo shirt. You can also match your pocket square with your new casual style.
  3. Pair with sneakers. Pairing your suit with a pair of crisp white sneakers can turn your formal look into smart casual wear.
  4. Pair with boots. If pairing sneakers with your suit feels too casual, you can also substitute your pointy dress shoes with Chelsea boots to create a sophisticated evening look. If boots don’t fit your style, wear your suit with a pair of suede loafers.
  5. Switch the suit jacket for a leather jacket. Swapping your suit jacket for a leather jacket can instantly dress down your suit. If the weather permits, you can also wear a sweater or cardigan beneath the leather jacket, so that you still have a full look when you remove it.
  6. Pair a sport coat with jeans. Pair a suit jacket (or a sport coat) with a T-shirt and denim jeans instead of a dress shirt and dress shoes. This look is perfect for a first date or a few post-work drinks. If this look is too casual, you can also pair your sport coat with a pair of chinos.
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Want to Learn More About Unleashing Your Inner Fashionista?

Get a MasterClass Annual Membership and let Tan France be your very own style spirit guide. Queer Eye’s fashion guru spills everything he knows about building a capsule collection, finding a signature look, understanding proportions, and more (including why it’s important to wear underwear to bed)—all in a soothing British accent, no less.

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