5 Places Where You Should Never Wear a Suit and Tie

Justin Timberlake was wrong when he sang, “as long as I’ve got my suit and tie,” as if it were the answer to all of life’s questions. Granted, a suit and tie can be the answer to life’s momentous or daily occasions that call for a smart outfit. There are indeed, though, situations when a suit and tie is completely, unapologetically wrong or inappropriate. While there are the obvious places to never wear a suit and tie like to the beach, to a pool party, or while you work out, here are five less obvious places where you should never wear a suit and tie. Sorry, JT.

1. To the theater

theater seats

No one get’s that dressed up for the theatre anymore. | Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

This initially sounds strange, but wearing a suit and tie to the theater, particularly a Broadway show, can make you stand out like a sore thumb. Today, attending the theater is not how it used to be: Men and women used to get dressed up to go to the theater in the occasional fur and suit and tie. Today, anyone decked out at the theater is an incredibly rare sight. Though it’s acceptable to wear a suit and tie if you’re going straight to the theater from work, it’s silly to purposely dress up in one for your evening out. My, how times have changed.

2. Going shopping

couple shopping together

Are you trying to land a job? | iStock.com

Aside from it being uncomfortable, doing serious shopping wearing a suit and tie is probably one of the hardest ways to shop. Think of it this way: If you’re having to try clothing on (as you should to make sure you’re buying your correct size), taking your suit off and putting it back on is a humongous pain. So make sure to stick to this general rule: If you’re planning a day, or even a few hours of shopping time, make sure to wear functional clothing you’ll feel comfortable taking on and off in a dressing room.

3. If you work for Apple

Employees of Apple

These guys aren’t tolerating the suit thing. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Business Insider article referenced a time several years ago when an AT&T rep asked Steve Jobs to wear a suit when meeting with AT&T’s board, to which one of Job’s deputies responded, “We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits.” Apple has been revolutionary in so many ways and it includes setting the model for a laid-back corporate culture where if you wore a suit and tie to the office, most likely you would be laughed at and told to go home and come back with sweatpants and sneakers immediately. It’s not just Apple that has become a trendsetting company that provides a fun working environment for their employees – perks other than not having to wear a suit everyday include great amenities like a free gym membership to on-site gourmet lunch dishes. Some of the other companies with laid-back work atmospheres include Google, Facebook, Zappos, and LinkedIn.

4. On an airplane

Businessman receiving airplane boarding pass

This man is in for an uncomfortable flight. | iStock.com

Unless you’re going straight from the plane to a meeting or to work, then there is no reason to wear a confining suit for a long flight, which is already made incredibly uncomfortable. If you’re worried about the possibility of losing luggage when traveling someplace where you really need a suit, opt for a hanging bag (if your airline allows). You can also fold it as you would other clothes, then have it pressed when you arrive.

5. Riding a bicycle

man commuting to work on a bike

You probably aren’t wearing that suit just to get it sweaty and wrinkly. | iStock.com

Let’s just say using your bike as a mode of transportation to work when you’re required to wear a suit is never a smart idea. Not only is a suit not conducive to the flexibility you need when riding a bike, but you’re likely to snag your suit in the pedal or bike chain. Keep your cycling to when you’re off duty or to when you can wear comfortable clothing you can hike up.