The Suit Experts: Articles on Luxury Menswear

The Menswear of Suits, TV’s Best-Dressed Show: Mike Ross Edition

We always knew we were going to love a show called Suits; we just didn’t know we’d love it THIS much! The sordid, vainglorious, or even occasionally noble endeavours of terrifying “closer” Harvey Specter, Esq. and his protégée Mike Ross, are addictive like a soap opera, but dressed like a chic boardroom. And we are suckers for the chic boardroom look.

Today we’re going to look at the fashions of former illicit-LSAT=exam-taker-for-money (is there a word for that?) Mike. "The nicer and more tailored his suits get, the more Mike grows and his suit of armor grows. Harvey gets to wear these beautiful Tom Ford suits. And they are beautiful suits of armor. Mike is working up to that and figuring out how to hold himself. " Patrick J. Adams According to costume designer Jolie Andreatta, the single word that best describes Mike’s look is: Fresh.


The younger, more Aaron Paul of the two leads, Mike when we first meet him suffers from an Aspergerian disconnect from the world: the world of women, the world of success, the world of legitimacy, the world of status. The world of Real Jobs. His fashion choices echo and reinforce that divide. Clearly used to a life where the line between pajamas and outerwear disappears, he wears tees and hoodies and jeans and sneakers, but not just any tees and hoodies and jeans and sneakers. No indeed. His tees and hoodies and jeans and sneakers look like someone three sizes larger than him died in them some weeks ago. They hang on him like Dudley Dursley’s hand-me-downs hang on Harry Potter. They are misshapen, faded, stained, ill-fitting, unmatched, and they are uniformly washed-out, if they don’t clash alarmingly. When he finally tries to wear a suit (“tries” being the operative word here) he can’t even manage to tie the tie. He chooses a boring, and cheap-looking suit which looks as if it once was black, several owners and many, many dry-cleanings ago. He improves, but that’s because Harvey tells him it’s a requirement of the job. As he begins his new career as a legal associate, he favours conservative, boy-cut suits with narrow notched lapels. Nothing fancy, nothing flashy. His sole eccentricity in the superpowered law firm is his abiding fondness for button-down shirts. It’s as if he stumbled across a copy of The Preppy Handbook and was using that to “go native”. It’s not always successful, in that it’s not always a power look, but it is endearing in a try-hard Jimmy Olsen way. The shirts themselves can be striped, plain, or even checked. Mike is far less conservative than Harvey, although he is in a much riskier position. Still, Mike’s millennial impulse towards creativity shows in his clothes, even as they become more sophisticated.


No matter whether he’s wearing a faded poly-blend suit to his first interview or a $1600 Armani, Mike always sticks to the classic two-button, narrow notched lapel design with slanted flap pockets. It may or may not have a breast pocket, but it never, ever has a pocket square. His suits tend to have two vents, which we think is a mistake. One vent would make him look taller from the back. In later seasons he wears a lot of Zegna, which is a soft, yet still sophisticated, look. Suits are tailored slim but not snug, and he’s eclectic about his choice of fabrics and colours, sometimes choosing a shadow plaid or something even riskier. He will wear brown or beige, whereas Harvey would never wear something that polls as lower status. His suits are never as dark and his looks never as high-contrast as Harvey’s. At one point, he went so far as to wear a green suit with a pale blue/grey shirt and a tie with blue and grey stripes. It worked, but only because the tie replicated the exact colour of the shirt and was the same hue as the suit, but a darker tone. It’s risky, sophisticated, expressive, and impressive, just like latter-season Mike himself. Mike wears a belt, not suspenders, because he’s neither a lumbersexual nor a Gordon Gekko fanatic. He doesn’t come from Suspenders World. While they can give a cleaner line to a man who unbuttons his jacket, that’s not currently a part of Mike’s cultural literacy. His belts are unpretentious and adorned with quiet looking, functional buckles. Mike’s shirts in the post-button-down period have those British spread collars we so love, but unfortunately for Mike he retains a New Wave fondness for skinny ties and the four-in-hand knot does nothing to help cross the divide between wide-gapped collar and skinny tie. It’s a disconnect and it more than anything indicates Mike has a) nobody at home who knows how to wear a tie and could help him b) nobody in his background who knew it and taught it to him. It speaks of his loneliness, and it speaks of his journey across the class divide, and so is humanizing rather than merely a miss-step. His shirts are usually pale blue-grey, not white, and a lot of his overall looks are plays on shades of blue or grey, not high contrast looks. This, again, differentiates him from High Contrast High Status Harvey.


As does the millennial messenger bag he endearingly slings over his outfit, ruining the silhouette. We were SO happy when he gave that up, but at the same time, so wistful. We TOLD you we loved this show too much! Next week, we take on Harvey Specter himself!


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