Pocket watches still have a place in modern formal attire and can add a touch of sophistication to even the simplest of suits.
This post will walk you through how to wear a pocket watch with a 3-piece suit, followed by how to wear one with a 2-piece suit.
A 2-piece suit is one without a vest (a.k.a. waistcoat), and the best way to wear a pocket watch with such attire slightly differs from that of a 3-piece suit.
So, let’s get to it.
How To Wear A Pocket Watch With A 3-Piece Suit
3-Piece suits are some of the most traditional, formal outfits on the market. Similarly, pocket watches are formal classics. So, can you wear a pocket watch with a 3-piece suit?
Wearing a pocket watch with a 3-piece suit adds a sense of subtle sophistication to your formal ensemble. Go for a single Albert pocket watch chain and ensure your chain is either silver or gold in color. It’s also best to go for a T-bar to ensure it looks subtle.
Although that’s the gist, there’s much more to it. Here are four tips to ensure you pull off wearing a pocket watch with a 3-piece suit every time.
1. Go For A Single Albert Pocket Watch Chain (Fob)
At first, it may seem surprising that there are so many pocket watch chain styles out there.
However, it’s important to remember that pocket watches have been around for hundreds of years. Style has evolved a lot in that time.
Because of its age, it’s important to know how to wear your fob in modern times to avoid appearing anachronistic.
The single Albert is the best chain to wear with a 3-piece suit in this day and age.
The Albert chain is named after Prince Albert, the consort to Queen Victoria – Queen of the United Kingdom throughout most of the 1800s.
This, alongside its simplicity in both appearance and wearability, has made it a prominent pocket watch chain for pocket watch enthusiasts and novices alike.
In modern times, it’s best to avoid overly flamboyant outfits in formal situations, and wearing a pocket watch the wrong way could appear as such.
However, the single Albert chain will allow you to embrace the understated nature of the pocket watch and avoid looking affectatious in doing so.
The single Albert chain is a simplistic, singular chain that features the watch at one end and a T-bar, or other vest-connecting means, at the other.
Here’s an example of one on Amazon:
2. Position Your Fob Correctly
Another important factor to consider when wearing a pocket watch with a 3-piece suit is the positioning of your chain, as well as that of the pocket watch itself.
Getting the positioning wrong can feel uncomfortable or look awkward, so getting it right is essential.
Find the button closest to leveling with your vest pockets, and go up one. This button is the optimal position to place the attachment end of your fob.
Getting the fob positioning just right is crucial to maintaining the simplistic aesthetic of the outfit.
Excessive detailing can look extravagant, so it’s best to avoid it as much as possible. Ensuring you position your fob correctly will help you avoid appearing this way.
This advice is under the assumption that you’ve used the previous tip and gone with a single Albert chain.
For different chain styles, such as a double Albert chain, the recommendations will vary.
However, it’s highly advisable that you avoid such fob styles with a 3-piece suit and go with the aforementioned single Albert chain.
3. T-Bars Work Best
At one end of a single Albert chain, there is, of course, your pocket watch.
However, the other end can vary. While it’ll usually be the attachment to your waistcoat, there are several different attachment methods.
The ideal attachment for wearing a pocket watch with a 3-piece suit in modern times is the T-bar.
T-bar attachments are simple and effective and ensure your pocket watch doesn’t go ‘over-the-top’ in terms of formalwear.
Simply put, a T-bar is a “T”-shaped metal bar at one end of your pocket watch fob.
Its purpose is to attach to your vest with ease and, more importantly, without being seen.
To wear a T-bar attachment, simply unbutton the button to which you wish to attach your chain.
Next, put the T-bar through the buttonhole and twist it 90 degrees, so it sits perpendicular to the hole.
Then, simply button your waistcoat to complete the look.
4. Silver Or Gold Chains Are Optimal
When it comes to formal wear, deviating from the norm is rarely recommended. This remains the case with pocket watches and 3-piece suits.
Wearing a pocket watch is slightly unusual in modern times, even with a 3-piece suit, so exploring too far from what’s normal with a pocket watch is not advised.
Therefore, your best bet is to stick with a gold or silver-colored chain to accompany your pocket watch. These are traditional fob colors, and for good reason.
They are incredibly versatile colors – particularly silver – and are renowned and widely recognized as the standard (and optimal) watch and chain colors.
Because of this, when wearing a 3-piece suit with a pocket watch, it’s good practice to ensure that you stick to a silver or gold fob.
The color of the pocket watch itself isn’t as important, as the majority of the time, it’ll be hidden away in your vest pocket.
And, if it is visible when you take it out to check the time, a slightly unusual pocket watch is a great focal point for conversation.
How To Wear A Pocket Watch With A 2-Piece Suit (No Vest)
Now that you know how to wear a 3-piece suit, you’re probably wondering how you can do it without a waistcoat. So, can you wear a pocket watch with a 2-piece suit?
It’s entirely possible to wear a pocket watch without a vest. Consider which pocket you’ll put the pocket watch in, stick to a single Albert fob, and opt for a bolt ring or belt slide – depending on which pocket you decide to put your pocket watch in.
Though that’s just the start – there’s more to explore. Here are three tips to help you wear a pocket watch with a 2-piece suit flawlessly.
1. Think About Which Pocket You’ll Use
First and foremost, you must consider the pocket you’ll use. Typically, pocket watches are put in your waistcoat pocket and attached to your waistcoat.
Because a 2-piece suit doesn’t feature a vest, it’s important to know which pocket to use and where to attach the other end.
When wearing a 2-piece suit, there are two pocket watch pocket options: your suit jacket’s front pocket or one of your pants pockets.
These are the only two acceptable options, and you should avoid experimentation on a formal occasion, particularly with such a classic accessory.
When attaching your pocket watch to your suit jacket, place the watch in the jacket’s front pocket, and pass the chain through the lapel pinhole.
It’s important to pass the fob through the back of the lapel pinhole, as doing so will ensure optimal formality and simplicity for the outfit.
If, on the other hand, you decide to put your pocket watch in one of your pants pockets, there are two options.
Either attach the fastener end of your pocket watch chain to one of your belt loops or use a decorative watch fob that replaces the chain altogether.
When using the belt loop method, ensure you attach the chain to a belt loop at the front of your pants rather than the back; else, it’ll look awkward.
Alternatively, if you opt for a decorative watch fob, let it hang out of your pocket.
2. Stick To A Single Albert Chain Or Decorative Watch Fob
When wearing a pocket watch with a 2-piece suit, the style of chain or watch fob you go for can have a significant impact on the overall look of the outfit.
Like the 3-piece suit, it’s best to go for a single Albert chain with this outfit. The single Albert chain exudes a certain simplicity that is valued in modern formal attire.
That being said, there’s room for some experimentation due to the lack of a vest that slightly dresses down the outfit.
This experimentation should be in the way of a decorative, chain-replacing watch fob that is worn when you opt to place your pocket watch in your pants pocket.
That is to say, wearing the single Albert chain is only a necessity when you put your pocket watch in your suit jacket’s front pocket.
And that when you wear your pocket watch in your pants pockets, you can go for either a single Albert chain or a decorative fob.
3. Go For A Bolt Ring Or Belt Slide
Contrary to the best 3-piece suit pocket watch styles, the optimal attachments for a pocket watch with a 2-piece suit are a bolt ring or belt slide.
Belt slides are – as the name suggests – a style of fob end that slides onto your belt loops.
These only work when you keep the pocket watch in your pants pocket.
It simply doesn’t look good, nor is it practical, to use a belt slide when your pocket watch is in your suit jacket’s front pocket.
The alternative to this is a bolt ring. Bolt rings are ideal for wearing with a 2-piece suit as they’re subtle and will fit nicely through your jacket’s lapel pinhole.
Now that you know the ins and outs of wearing a pocket watch with a 2 and a 3-piece suit, you’ll be able to pull it off flawlessly every time.