Dumb title aside, I’ve been wanting to talk about the garments worn on the hit USA show Suits, featuring Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams and Rick Hoffman. Now, law, especially US law is a very, very convoluted subject and there is a good reason that the United States features some of the best law schools in the world and also some of the hardest to get into. What captivated me about Suits, was how a drama about US corporate lawyers could be so enticing. It’s well-written, well-paced and the acting especially by Rick Hoffman and Gabriel Macht is fantastic. Considering I know very little about law no matter the continent it stems from, the show keeps me on the edge of my seat. However, moving away from the main characters, another major character in the show is not of flesh and blood, but rather of wool and silk– namely the suits.
The suits in the show are not just a form of clothing but also serve as a uniform, a show of status, as well as a form of development and each character wears a suit in a different style, color and with varying accessories. These are all lawyers of a fictional top-tier Manhattan law firm and thus are expected to present themselves in a way that reflects the status of the firm they represent. In this article I will pinpoint the sartorial style of the three main “heroes” Harvey Specter (played by Gabriel Macht), Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) and Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman).
Harvey Specter, is a name partner of the New York top tier law firm, Pearson, Specter, Litt (formerly Pearson Hardman and Pearson Darby) and thus one of the most important people in the show and not afraid to show it. Although everyone in the show is seen wearing a suit 90% of the time, each character is immediately identifiable based on the style they choose to wear. Harvey Specter is probably the prime example of this. He struts a powerful, aggressive and masculine wardrobe, his signature style characterised by strong, structured shoulders and a wide peak lapel.
Rarely, will you see another character on the show sporting a peaked lapel on their suits, as this is the paramount Harvey Specter style. With such a subtle yet profound detail, Harvey Specter is able to assert dominance over his colleagues and his rivals. A peak lapel contrasts the normal notch lapel on most suits in that it doesn’t meet the lapel but rather continues, forming a point or peak. The peak broadens the shoulders even more, widening the chest, as well as slimming the waist and shorter men, through this, can create the illusion that they are taller than in actuality. Tip: Wear with caution, as some might see this style as inappropriate for office use, unless you have significant authority. Traditionally the peak lapel has been considered more formal evening-wear, hence it’s use in tuxedos and in an office environment may be viewed as cocky and arrogant.
Harvey Specter is a well built man, yet his tailoring, unlike others, makes no effort to highlight his physique. The dominant theme is entirely to make him seem more intimidating. Compared to Mike Ross or Louis Litt, his suits aren’t slim or overly tapered, and his pants feature a no break hem, dropping just above where his shoes would begin. I personally feel that his tailoring choices add a sense of maturity and confidence to his character. His suit acts as a form of armour, both physically and emotionally, shielding him from others, yet striking with confidence and assurance in the way that it is fitted. He knows who he is and what he’s capable of and thus sees no need to prove himself among his peers.
Despite the peak lapels and broad shoulders, Harvey Specters style is actually a juxtaposition between passive and aggressive and this can be seen in the way he accessorises his suits from shirts, ties to cuffs. His suit colours range from light grey all the way to black pinstripe, skipping bolder styles such as checks, plaids or windowpanes. You will never see him in anything but a spread collar, which only highlights his physique even more, as it is the appropriate collar for men who are tall or have larger necks. Personally, it is the most appealing collar type and the only one I’d recommend for any business setting, allowing for the use of more tie fabric in creating bolder knots, which aids in projecting confidence. If you’re going for the Harvey Specter look, you need to learn how to do a perfect windsor knot and get that dimple perfect. Most of the time, Mr. Specter sticks to solid color shirts, predominantly sky blue and white, although he’ll surprise once in a while with a bengal striped shirt. The solid color shirts allow for a wide array of tie options, as virtually anything goes, yet he often goes with simple charcoal, dark blue, emerald or even black ties, relying instead on texture to highlight individuality. His shirts are a mixture of french cuff (implementing cufflinks) and normal barrel cuff, though the french cuff is more elegant. To compliment his ensemble, a simple white, folded square makes itself comfortable in his breast pocket. You rarely really see his shoes, but he seems to wear black oxford brogues most of the time. Harvey is a man of details and while his wardrobe airs a hint of restraint he never compromises in quality. If I had to choose one word to describe him it would have to be consistency.
With regards to brand, his suits are a mixture of Tom Ford and Garrison Bespoke of Toronto, who supply most of the suits on the show and also happen to be the tailors responsible for the suits of NBCs hit show Hannibal (Hannibal Lecter will be the theme of a future blog post as well). Tom Ford in particular is known for using very strong structured shoulders and a peaked lapel. But before you get all excited and want to head down to Tom Ford or Garrison Bespoke, know that a suit at these locations starts at about $3000, with bespoke suits going all the way up to $50,000. His outfits will definitely be worth a few thousands dollars, as he also is seen wearing brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Hugo Boss, and Armani Collezioni. Cheaper alternatives to imitate the Harvey Specter style can be found at stores such as Suit Supply, whose Washington fit is the perfect example to do so. All of their suits feature high quality fabrics, great fits and prices. They are easily the most recommendable online supplier of suits.
With that said, I hope this gave you an insight into who Harvey Specter is and if you’re a suit fanatic, how to replicate his style. Here’s a quick summary for those want the straight up shopping list of examples:
- Suit: Washington fit suit from www.suitsupply.com (charcoal, grey, navy, pinstripe)
- Shirt: White, spread collar shirt from T.M. Lewin
- Tie: Blue, micro-textured silk tie from Ermenegildo Zegna
- Shoes: Black, leather brogues Berlin by Crownhill Shoes
- Pocketsquare: any silk white one will do!
Good luck in your ambitions to look like one of New York’s most badass fictional and I hope these tips are able to bring you a little bit closer to your goal.
Love, light and style,