Harvey Specter: Style Icon Series

Harvey Specter

Suits is smooth, slick, modern and sexy – so pretty much everything that being a real life corporate lawyer isn’t. A show about legal eagles in a top law firm in THE city in the world, making millions, taking on white-collar thugs and living glamourous, cool and satisfying lives – sure, Suits could have come across as being smug; but the sexiness of the show and it’s characters, with Harvey Specter leading the way, in combination with a healthy dose of self-effacing humour makes Suits so attractive. It makes us want to work at Pearson Specter (previously Pearson Hardman…with a short stint as Pearson Darby and then as Pearson Darby Specter).

It’s hard not to want to channel a little bit of Harvey Specter with his immaculate grooming, extensive knowledge of all things basketball and baseball and never ending stream of witty one liners, but it’s not just the sharp repartee that has us hooked on Suits, the wardrobe is top draw – as the show’s title suggests.

When it comes to fashion, Harvey Specter leads by example every day, gliding into the office with a flawless tie dimple beneath an expertly tied Windsor knot. “Equal parts swagger and smarts,” he’s persuasive, cocky, charming and boy does he know how to rock a 3-piece suit. He might be “the best goddam closer in NYC,” but he’s definitely one of the openers on our Style Icon list.

Harvey Specter is one of our Style Icons because he recognises that “People respond to how we’re dressed, so like it or not this is what you have to do [dress well].” Cheers to that Harvey [as we clink our imaginary single malt whiskey]!

So, WWHD (What Would Harvey Do)? Let’s take a look inside his war chest, or should we say wardrobe:     

“That’s the difference between you and me, you wanna lose small, I wanna win big…”

Harvey Specter

Take risks; you don’t have to play it safe all the time. Wear a mix of plain, striped and patterned shirts that don’t always match your tie exactly – it’s too matchy matchy and it says you’re trying too hard. Also, don’t let so called style mavens tell you a cutaway collar only suits men with thin faces – that isn’t true. The truth is a cutaway collar will suit most men. It’s all about proportions in your outfit. i.e. making sure the overall look is balanced.

Harvey  Specter always wears shirts with a cutaway collar so he can show off his trademark Windsor knot. Cutaway collars lift the formality of a suit when worn with a tie and is a contemporary and sartorially elegant look that conveys confidence in the wearer. A cutaway collar will draw attention to your face and after all, when you talk, you want people to listen.

Harvey wears a mix of Canali, Brioni, Hugo Boss and Tom Ford – all made from Italian fabrics, just like the Philippe Perzi Vienna signature collection. Details like collar stays make Harvey’s collar always sit perfectly and if you compare Harvey’s collar to the likes of Louis Litt, you’ll notice that you never see the outline of Harvey’s tie underneath his collar – a sign of quality. French cuffs also allow Harvey to accessorise his outfit with cufflinks, although he also wears 2-button cuffs. Philippe Perzi Vienna shirts can give you the Harvey Specter look. We even named one of our shirts after our boy wonder. 

“I wasn’t objecting to his question. I was objecting to his tie”

Harvey Specter

As Harvey so candidly explained to his charge, Mike Ross, “Get your skinny tie out of my face.Whilst that might say it all, we’d like to think that it’s not simply down to the width of tie, it’s about proportions. The rule of thumb is, if the lapels on your jacket are slim, you can wear a skinny tie. Conversely, if the lapels on the jacket are wider, then you should wear a wider tie. Easy!

Your choice of tie however, also says a lot about you. Harvey’s underling, Mike Ross wears slimmer lapels on his suit jackets and slim ties with small four-in-hand knots.  This is in stark contrast to Harvey’s wide (3-3.5in) ties with large Windsor knots complete with a perfect dimple.  Harvey’s look evokes strength and power whereas Mike’s look conveys that he hasn’t quite made it yet. The old adage – dress for the job you want, rather than the job you’ve got is perhaps good advice to follow.

It goes without saying however, that different industries have different dress codes. So, if you’re in fashion for example, there’s no reason not to go for the skinny tie. If you’re in the corporate world however, best to take your queues from Harvey and go for a wider tie.

Harvey usually sports a dimple in his tie – this shows he has put effort into his outfit and is concerned with details. In fact, it is on the one occasion when Harvey’s tie dimple is slightly off-centre that Donna (his Executive Assistant) notices something is wrong!

Check out Philippe Perzi Vienna’s range of ties for inspiration.

A vested interest – Harvey Specter’s Holy Trinity

Harvey Specter Vest

A vest as part of a 3-piece suit completes the holy trinity of sartorial elegance. Whilst the other guys might be sporting the standard 2-piece suit (and there’s nothing wrong with that), wearing a vest is a statement that says you’ve arrived, you appreciate fine tailoring, you’ve made a conscious effort to make a good impression. In short, you’re winning. And who wouldn’t want to eschew that kind of confidence? “Get it through your head, first impressions last. You start behind the 8 ball, you’ll never get in front.” (Harvey Specter)

When wearing a 3-piece suit, think of your shirt, tie and pocket square as accessories. The suit is the main event so the rest of your outfit should not be too “busy.”

You want pasta, go to Little Italy. You want tailoring, go to Tom

Harvey Specter Black & White

And by that, we mean Tom Ford. Harvey alternates between10 suits on the show, all of them custom made by Mr. Tom Ford. Harvey’s suit is a classic cut – wide enough in the shoulders and fitted at the waist to convey strength, power and play homage to the male V-Shape. Your trousers should be slightly tapered – but never tight – to make your legs look longer. The beauty is in the classic simplicity of the suit.

The trend of late towards short suit jackets is not something Tom Ford favours: “When a man’s butt is showing below the bottom of his jacket, I think it makes him look like a female flight attendant from the back—not my idea of sexy.” (No offence to any flight attendants out there)

Harvey’s suits successfully combine traditional elegance and contemporary style; think Carey Grant meets Steve McQueen. Harvey’s suits feature wide peak lapels, flapped pockets with a ticket pocket, double vents and boutonniere. He oozes confidence and portrays this through his classic tailoring, not playing up to trends.

“Get your tux on, we got a situation”

Harvey Specter Black Tie

Every man should own a tux – you never know when you’re going to need it and it pays to have a tux that truly fits your physique. Once you’ve past the age of school formals or proms, get a decent one custom made – assuming you don’t put on or lose a lot of weight over time! In Vienna, every gent has a tuxedo as there are so many balls held throughout the year. Harvey looks the epitome of sophistication in a tuxedo, eschewing classic style and elegance but doesn’t fail to impress with his attention to detail. When Harvey appears in Atlantic City and at the black-tie party celebrating the proposed merger of Pearson Hardman with a London law firm, his bowtie isn’t the classic shape but rather a diamond tip, which has ends that are pointed rather than squared off. It is somewhat asymmetrical when tied, which adds some nice visual interest. It’s the little details that set Harvey apart in the fashion stakes.

Life is this… Harvey Specter likes THIS

Harvey Specter

Harvey has high expectations – and why wouldn’t he. Rise above the mediocre and average we say. Lift your game and make an effort – wear pocket squares even if nobody else is. Power accessories like cufflinks and watches go a long way to adding details and individuality to what might be otherwise seen as a kind of ‘uniform’ in the corporate world. An expensive and classy watch should be seen as an investment. It’s an elegant way of showing your respect for quality, design and of course is a social cue as to your success. After all, you can’t drive your Porsche into the boardroom, but you can wear a luxury timepiece. Harvey wears the ultimate in luxury watches: Patek Philippe is renowned for being the most prestigious watch brand in the world You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.”

“I refuse to answer that on the grounds that I don’t want to”

Harvey Specter

What else makes Harvey Specter so cool? Well, the truth is he’s more than just a paragon of power-suit style…we’ll give you some more classic Harvey moves from the Harvey Specter play book in another blog…

Harvey Specter is truly worthy of style icon status; he’s not just a pretty face, he’s a clothes horse and the best goddam closer in NYC; Is there anything more intimidating than a man who is as brilliant as he is well dressed? We think not.