Suit Sitting for Dummies - How to sit in a Suit

Chairs can be your best friends or your worst enemies in the professional world. Suit sitting is a lot like sitting down in regular trousers, shorts, or, for that matter, nothing whatsoever:

  1. Finding a place to sit down.

    A. Make sure the surface in question is clean, dry (but not too dry), and safe. If it feels like everyone in the room is holding their breaths, don't sit. It’s a trap!

    B. Chairs are ideal, and a suede chair is best. In a pinch a couch, or even a marble bench or fountain, will do (fair warning: the pigeon is the nemesis of the amateur sitter).
  2. Place legs against the surface, and let gravity just pull you down (unless you are on the moon, but lets take this sitting business one small step at a time). Until you have step two down pat you should practice in the privacy of your own home, and avoid public transportation. You know how to get to Carnegie Hall, don’t you? Practice.
  3. Maybe your legs cross, maybe use an armrest or foot stool. Whatever you do, do not just sit there like a deaf-dumb mute. Endless variations exist, so improvise, gentlemen. Rock and roll (caution: rock in moderation).

 

Once you have mastered the art of free-form suit sitting, you may tweak your suit sitting technique. Chances are, if you are wearing a suit, be it for your interview, date, or deal, you are under close scrutiny. Everything is a test.

The tragedy of the suit is that they are really made for standing, but almost every occasion you will wear a suit for requires sitting. In fact, sitting is pivotal for success in the modern world. But do not let chairs trip you up--you did not get all dressed up for nothing. 

  1. Which button goes where?

    A. If you are wearing a single breasted suit, and you probably are, you always button up when standing, and open when seated. This is simply how the fabric is cut. Deviance from the open-close rule invariably leads to jutting lapels--laugh now, but you will be cast from your office like a leper.

    B. If you are wearing a double breasted jacket--you have got four buttons below your chest rather than two or three--always leave the suit buttoned up. Really the whole point of a double breasted jacket is that it looks elegant while you are seated, sipping tea, perhaps smoking, and dictating your
    memoir while you adjust your ascott.
  2. Check yo’ socks.

    Make sure you are wearing appropriate socks, because they will show. Sitting in a suit is like a duel, so showing skin is like opening your rib-cage to a forward lunge.
  3. Choose your battles.

Your suit hates you for sitting, but we all have needs. Suit sitting wears the pants seat, suit seams, and the creases. Since you should wash your suit as little as possible, for the good of the integrity of the fabric as well as your wallet, sitting poses a very real threat to your washing schedule. Especially if you
take the bus to work, or your date--hey, no judgement here--man-up and grab a pole for stability.   As bad as suits are for sitting, they are worse for falling and offer almost no protection for the wearer (even if your suit was advertised as bulletproof).
You learned to walk before you can run, and you will have to learn suit sitting before you will be promoted. Think of your socks, buttons, and seams before you sit in your suit and you will fly with the corporate eagles in no time. Follow a few simple rules, and you will make it past the chair every time. The rest is up to you.

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