A blog by "America’s Best Dressed Real Man". Fashion tips, answers to your questions, and all things men’s style
Tuesday January 24th 2012



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1 Piece/9 Ways: The Versatile Donegal Tweed 3-Piece


As I’ve written in the past, there are multiple advantages to seasonal suiting. In addition to the added comfort, the extended life of your garments and the pleasure of unveiling a fresh wardrobe when the weather changes, season-specific fabrics are also more versatile and more appropriate to wear as seperates than typical “four-season” fabrics.

In my opinion there is no such thing as a “four season” fabric. It might be labeled “year-round weight”, but in reality these are typically 9-11 ounce worsteds that are only truly appropriate for less than half the year. In NYC that’s roughly April-June and September-November, basically the time between your air conditioning and heating bills.

Add a waistcoat to that seasonal suit, and you have an investment piece that can be styled for just about any ocasion. Here’s proof using a sample of the grey donegal three-piece from my upcoming collection (which is taking much longer than expected, my apologies again).

1. Three Piece – Retro Corporate

A two-piece suit gives you three options for wearing it: the pants separately, the jacket separately, and the suit together. Add a vest into the mix and three options turn to seven different combinations.

We did a similar feature last year using my brown tweed three-piece. See HERE.

Bonus Tip: Winterize your look. Heavyweight suit, thick oxford shirt, wool flannel tie.

Bonus Tip II: A club collar and collar pin were meant to be. They look very natural together.

Bonus Tip III: A deep cuff (like this 2″) looks right on a chunkier cloth, and the added weight helps the pant drape nicely.

Three-piece donegal tweed suit by MAB by Dan Trepanier (more news on the upcoming collection soon). Oxford club collar shirt by Polo Ralph Lauren (custom fit M). Wool tie by JCrew. Silver collar pin by WANT. Wingtips by Scarpe di Bianco. Watch and brown alligator band by Montblanc. 

2. Two Piece – Classic Business

The no-brainer.

Bonus Tip: A topcoat that hits at the mid-thigh is most versatile. I wear this thing on the weekends with jeans, a crewneck sweater and a beanie and it suddenly looks casual.

Donegal tweed suit by MAB by Dan Trepanier (more news on the upcoming collection soon). Topcocat by Brooks Brothers Black Fleece (size 2). Shirt by Michael Andrews Bespoke. Vintage tie.  Captoe boots by Scarpe di Bianco

3. Two Piece – Weekend Cool

This is a perfect example of the added versatility of a seasonal fabric. Because of the texture and drape of this cloth, the suit looks just as good with a t-shirt and sneakers as it does with a shirt and tie.

In contrast, a “year-round” worsted fabric almost always looks too much like a typically “business suit” to be believable with sneakers.

Donegal tweed suit by MAB by Dan Trepanier (more news on the upcoming collection soon). T-shirt by Kenneth Cole. Sneakers by Vans. Shades by Matsuda Eyewear

4. Waistcoat + Trousers – Business Casual

The great thing about a three-piece is that it takes less time and effort in the morning. For example, if you plan to wear the waistcoat and trousers together, all you need to do is pick out a shirt (just about any shirt will work with this fabric) and a pair of shoes (brown or black) and you’re good to go.

Bonus Tip: Navy, brown and grey is a classic combination and will always work – but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Playing with textures rather than colors is a great way to make an interesting outfit that won’t look out of place.

Waistcoat and trousers by MAB by Dan Trepanier (more news on the upcoming collection soon). Shirt by Michael Andrews Bespoke. Monkstraps by Scarpe di Bianco. Shades by Persol. 

5. Waistcoat + Trousers – Holiday Chic

Another example of a waistcoat + trousers look. It doesn’t have to be all business – but it will always look chic.

Donegal tweed waistcoat and trousers by MAB by Dan Trepanier (more news on the upcoming collection soon). Turtleneck by Club Monaco (M). Shoes by Scarpe di Bianco. Frames by Matsuda EyewearWatch and brown alligator band by Montblanc. 

6. Blazer – Weekend Brunch

Don’t be afraid to layer up that jacket on the weekend, the donegal tweed looks right at home with denim.

Bonus Tip: The easiest way to pile on layers is to go from lightest on the inside to heaviest on the outside.

Bonus Tip II: Not all leather lace-up shoes are “dressy”. There are some awesome soft-sole lace-ups on the market for the perfect balance between dress and casual.

Bonus Tip III: Whenever you’re wearing a layer over a tailored jacket, try to keep the jacket buttoned. This allows the layers to flow better together and keep their positioning as you move around.

Donegal tweed jacket by MAB by Dan Trepanier (more news on the upcoming collection soon). Down vest by Land’s End (size S). Crewneck fair isle sweater by Club Monaco (size M). Oxford shirt by Thom Browne (size 2). Wool tie by Woolrich. Jeans by APC (new standard size 32). Cashmere blend socks Marcoliani. Suede captoe lace-ups by Surface to Air. Watch and brown alligator band by Montblanc.

7. Blazer – Low Key Night Out

Our shoot was in the early afternoon, but I would be more likely to wear this outfit when the sun goes down. Hitting a lounge with a lady or a dive bar with the boys.

Nothing says nightlife like a pair of black jeans. Even better if you make them waxed black jeans and beat the hell out of them.

Bonus Tip: Buy quality and don’t be afraid to wear it. Well-made clothing should be built to last.

I paid a decent amount for these boots, but I’ve had them for over 5 years (I actually wore them in one of the shots from the Esquire contest years ago).

They look a little beat-up right now, but that’s the way I like them. One quick polish and they’r back to looking brand new.

If I would have bought a cheaper alternative not only would they not look as cool, but I would’ve had to replace them by now.

Donegal tweed jacket by MAB by Dan Trepanier (more news on the upcoming collection soon). Trench by Burberry. T-shirt by Alexander Wang. Waxed jeans by Nudie Jeans. Wingtips boots by Paul Smith. Shades by Persol. 

8. Waistcoat Seperate – Sharp Weekender

The waistcoat on it’s own is a great way to sharpen a casual look.

Bonus Tip: If your topcoat fits snug and you’re not wearing a jacket under it, why not throw a square in the breast pocket? Just keep it understated.

Bonus Tip II: I’ve been mentioning the underestimated versatility of grey shoes. Post on this coming soon.

Donegal tweed waistcoat by MAB by Dan Trepanier (more news on the upcoming collection soon). Black cotton topcoat by Theory (M). Shirt by Steven Allan (M). Jeans by APC (new standard size 32). Wingtips by Florsheim. Shades by Persol. Black alligator belt and silver buckle by Ralph Lauren Purple Label. Cashmere pocket square by Armstrong and Wilson. Striped socks by Happy Socks.  

9. Pants Separate – Hitting the Night Club

And of course, don’t forget you have a great pair of versatile trousers to wear just about anywhere. In this case, perhaps a night on the town.

Taken from our post on What to Wear to a Night Club. See HERE.  

Donegal tweed trousers (part of three-piece suit) by MAB by Dan Trepanier (more news on the upcoming collection soon). Leather jacket and alligator belt by Ralph Lauren Purple Label (M). Band collar shirt by Club Monaco (sample). Frames by Matsuda Eyewear. Lace-ups by Barker Black.

Thanks, as always, for reading. Plenty more to come.

Yours in style,



Photography by Alex Crawford. - for freelance work (fashion or otherwise) contact him here

As always, you can find additional shots from this photoshoot in the SB Lookbook. 

Leave a Comment



  • Bass says:

    Hi, enjoyed this very much.
    No scolding regarding shoe upkeep from me…
    I just want to know which model of Vans you’re wearing in the “Weekend Cool” piece, and where you got them…I’m a fan.
    Keep all of this up, you have great taste.

  • Mike says:

    Hi, I posted this question on your year old entry yesterday, but I stumbled across this today, and as it is more current, I’ll re-ask it here.

    First of all, I’m enjoying the blog, which I’ve just found. I really like the pants and vest look, paired with other jackets. I don’t have a tweed suit yet (although I’m keeping an eye out for one) but wonder if you think a more traditional business type suit could be broken up in similar ways. Leaving out the vest is, indeed, a no brainer. What about substituting some other jacket though, too much, how to select. Any thoughts would be welcome. Thanks a lot, and I’ll keep reading.

  • jo dapper says:

    I did not mean to get a negative reply about shoe up keep!
    museum….absolutely not!
    shine….all the time!
    love what you do !

  • Lavish-Livez.com says:

    Hey Dan,

    Big reader here! I’m just wondering, how thick is the hem on your trousers (4th picture). Is it a 1 inch fold?


  • Dean says:

    Hi Dan,

    Happy holiday, great post.
    Possible to show how the waist coat looks like from behind? Does it always have to be a different fabric/colour at the shoulder & behind?

    Thanks in advance for the advise.


  • jo dapper says:

    nice post, please polish and take better care of your shoes,they are of good quality it takes away from the look if they look scruffy and worn down a little!

    • SB says:

      i disagree. I have my shoes polished occasionally, but I don’t mind a little patina on a well-made shoe.

      They’re not in a museum, they’re on my feet.

      Thx for reading,

  • David says:

    Hey Dan,

    Great post. I was just wondering about the 2′ cuff because I’m a short guy and had been told to avoid cuffs because they would make me look shorter. Is there any truth in it?

    Thanks David.

  • FloP says:


    I discovered your blog recently, amazing!

    I love the suit, will I saw that the sizes on your shop are not big, will it be possible to purchase it in size 50 (jacket) and 40 (trousers).



    Oh yes, Merry Christmas!!

  • Oli says:

    This and your brown donegal 3 piece post are definitely my favourites. Any reason you decided to go with grey rather than brown for the MAB collection though? Just versatility?

  • FRESH2DEATH says:


    Been following your blog for sometime, and it has evolved so much…congrats! Really impressive stuff…

    Quick question, what are the details on the quilted navy coat in pic 4?

    Stay Fresh,


  • Anonymous says:

    Best men’s style publication available. Daily read. Thank you.

  • TO says:

    Club collar x collar pin has always been one of my favorite details, loved that you incorporated that in “retro business”. You continue to prove how heavier suiting fabrics don’t necessarily need a heavy “chunkier” shoe, which some other publications preach (which of course is always a solid option). Great mix with the waistcoat+trousers x quilted jacket in “business casual” as well!

  • Matthew says:

    This is one of my favorite posts to date. It really collects a lot of your great style ideas all into a single post. Wonderful job!
    Looking at #9 it looks like the shirt fits well but still is blousing a little. I have recently been into darting the back of my shirts when I take them into the tailor. It looks like you are not doing that with this shirt. What is your thought on that? Am I wasting my time and money with darting?



  • Gerard says:

    Been looking for a tweed suit set just like this for my wedding. Where and when can I purchase?


  • Ambyr says:

    Loving the Retro Corporate and Business Casual looks. Tweed is one of my favorite menswear fabrics, and I like to incorporate a menswear twist on my styles.


  • leon says:

    Again, Loved the looks. The only problem is that here where I live, the man clothing stores don’t offer variety… nothing beyond some bad taste-ish shirts, jeans, tees and that stuff. I never saw a suit like this for sale. That’s what makes me angrier the most.

    Recently I found an awesome shoe store for a more-than-reasonable price for its products. I mean… why does it have to be so hard to find a good tailor or a store with more “edgier” products?!

    Just saying.

  • MOZART5000 says:

    Love. This. Post. For look 6, I feel like the vest clashes with the pockets of the blazer. Thoughts?

  • niraj says:

    great post Dan, definitely loving the opportunities the waist coast presents. Is this something we can hope to purchase soon from the TSB shop?

  • Zain says:

    Great post, some sly reusing of some of your best looks over the years – proves good stuff is built to last. That’s the worst bit about reading this blog and being a student; you know that buying expensive is buying long term but you just don’t have the cash to do it and need to replace everything after a while – ah well, the time will come.

    Happy Holidays!

  • mt says:

    where is the quilted jacket from?

  • cam says:

    also, on my last custom 3-piece, i did the back of my waistcoat out of the same fabric vs. a silk back and also 86ed the adjustable strap. i must say its awesome!

    • SB says:

      Sounds cool, although I like the contrast of the back lining and I can’t do without the adjustable strap – need that for after those big meals.


  • cam says:

    hey dan, you must super busy. great post btw. quick question: where do you feel the ‘V’ should hit on the waistcoat? i’m thinking somewhere between the sternum and top of the rib cage? your thoughts?

    • SB says:

      hey cam. good question. I typically like to show about 3 inches of vest when the jacket is buttoned over it. My jacket button stance is about 17.5″ and vest around 14″, i think.

      Thx for reading and happy holidays.