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The Stars of the Hit TV Series Suits Talk About Suiting (and Dressing) Up

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In the USA Network series Suits, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) is a superstar litigator at a piping hot New York law firm with a sleek and precise wardrobe to match. Looking for a new recruit, the cunning attorney ends up hiring Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams). Ross is an out-of-the-box genius and college-dropout whose prior gig was taking LSAT (or law school entrance exams) for students. The charismatic dude even passed the New York bar exam on a dare. 

As Mark Twain said, "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." And in the world of Suits, these super sharp power duds seem to define each stylish character. "The suits are like suits of armor," explains Adams. "It's crazy. I get to work in my shorts and flip flops. But when you put that suit on, your posture changes. You stand straighter. You present something different."

So it was fitting that just last month, USA Network and the spiffy men's retailer MrPorter.com, joined forces to present a live sunset fashion show al fresco at the High Line in New York City. Curated by MrPorter.com, Suits was the inspiration for the razor sharp chic looks. Fresh into their second season, I asked the actors about their take on their character as well as their own personal style. 

Q: How would you describe your own sense of style?

Gabriel Macht: I'm more of a t-shirt or linen button-down shirt and pants and Birkenstocks kind of  guy. I am not put together like Harvey Specter. I'm so very different from my character.

Q: What's the most memorable piece of clothing you had when you were a kid? 

Gabriel Macht; I had three best friends. We hung out all the time. We were together every single day. We had all our classes together. And we all got white satin jackets and called ourselves the Awesome Foursome. I was the only one who got the phrase printed on the back of my jacket. That was my prized possession. was probably nine at the time. 

Gabriel Macht

Q: Can you recall your first suit?

Gabriel Macht: "When I was 8 years old, I was nominated for Best Actor for a Youth in Film award. I did a movie called Why Would I Lie, with Treat Williams. So I got a tux. I think we rented it. I didn't end up winning, but Benji ate at my table. 

Patrick J. Adams

Q: Now that you're in your second season, how is Mike Ross changing?  

Patrick J. Adams: 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. 

Q: When you were young, what's the first suit you remember wearing? 

Patrick J. Adams: My step dad had a tailor in the northern part of Toronto. And for  my prom, I was so fancy, I got t a suit tailored. I wanted a three-piece suit. I thought it would be cool to wear all black -- black shirt, black tie, I figured it would be the coolest thing I've ever done. That was my first suit. I put the suit on two years later and it was so big on me and absurd and didn't fit.  I still have it. I won't throw it out. It's too fun. It reminds me where I come from. Actually, I have an evolution of suits in my closet. It starts with that one and goes up to the suits that I get to have now. 

Gina Torres

Q: How much say do you have when it comes to dressing your character, Jessica Pearson? 

Gina Torres: It's rather collaborative. But I have to say, our costume designer, Jolie Andreatta, has a fantastic eye. Her taste level and aesthetic are really superb. You can't mess with that. Also, the girls have to keep up with the boys. The boys look fantastic. Gabriel {Macht} is always beautifully suited. I think of my character, Jessica Pearson (Harvey Specter's boss), on the top of the pyramid. And therefore, I'd like to believe that she taught Harvey how to dress. He can't look better than me. 

Q: What's the first really fancy outfit that had an early impact on you? 

Gina Torres: I grew up watching old musicals and seeing Ginger Rogers wearing a beautiful fitted bodice that had ostrich feathers. I love how it moved when she danced. Theatrical pieces like that stayed with me. I wanted to grow up to wear those kinds of things.

Q: Is there one outfit that you've worn on the show that is was the defining dress for Jessica? 
Gina Torres: I think I have it and then we shoot the next episode and there's another fabulous dress. 

Meghan Markle

Q: How does Rachel Zane's style define her character? 

Meghan Markle:  The clothing selections for Rachel are very specific. Jolie Andreatta, our costume designer, has made great choices to make sure that we know that Rachel comes from a lot of money. She wears polished, beautifully tailored pieces. But it's still accessible in certain ways. I love getting emails or tweets from women who say, I feel inspired to dress up for work today and wear a great pencil skirt. 

Q: What's the first fancy dress you remember wearing?

Meghan Markle: Probably prom. I remember driving to Santa Barbara to get [a similar] dress that Miss USA had worn. It was pale blue, bedazzled, long, flowy and far too extravagant for prom. I remember it being very fitted and then sort of flaring out at the bottom. I said to my parents, 'Can I get this dress, it's like $200!' I loved it. 

Sarah Rafferty

Q: How much does Donna Paulsen's wardrobe help influence her? 

Sarah Rafferty: A ton. I enjoy it because I come from the theater and costumes are so much a part of your character.  In dress rehearsal, the day that you first get to put on a costume really helps you. What's so fun about the clothes that Donna [Paulsen] wears is that she's very feminine. She gets to wear dresses. She's not competing with the boys. She's very secure in who she is, she doesn't feel that she has to be in that mans world. She's in her own world She's totally confident and put together. Wearing the dress makes you throw your shoulders back and remember that. 

Q: What's the first fancy dress that you remember wearing? 

Sarah Rafferty: When i was little, Laura Ashley was the big thing. I remember wearing this 1980s frou-frou wide-wale corduroy floral thing. I got to wear it to some dance. It was probably Amish looking. I felt so pretty. I think it was navy blue with white, red, orange and green little flowers and tied in the back. I'm going to rock it later tonight. 

Rick Hoffman

Q: What was the first suit you remember wearing? 

Rick Hoffman: I was around nine It was uncomfortable. I probably cried and screamed to take it off. I think it was for a relative's Sweet 16 and it was awful.I  remember wanting to rip it off my body.

Q: How do Louis Litt's clothes help define him? 

Rick Hoffman: The suit is more like a shield. He wears his suits very tightly wound, very close almost to protect himself because he's so insecure. Louis is such a vulnerable person that it's his suit that makes him feel protected. 

For more information, visit the Mr Porter and Suits microsite www.mrporter.com/suits

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Photo courtesy of USA Networks