How to Buy the Perfect Suit
Job interview? Fancy dinner? Friend’s wedding? Whatever the occasion, buying your first one can be daunting. Why do they cost so much money? How do you know if you’ve bought the wrong one?
Don’t worry, with our help you’ll be able to buy the perfect suit to make yourself look your best.
Dress for the Occasion
When you’re buying a new suit the first and most important question to ask is: Why? Buying a suit for work is very different from buying a suit for a masked ball, for example, and will affect the material and style you settle on.
If you need it for business, consider the dress code. Some offices have a more conservative dress code than others, but a dark two-piece suit is practical and versatile – all you need to do is partner it with shirts in a variety of colours to give you plenty of looks.
If you need a suit for a job interview then a charcoal two-piece suit paired with a crisp white shirt should be your immediate and default choice. Add a slice of colour with a bright tie, but avoid anything too flashy. It’s a safe, solid choice that suits all occasions.
Things can get a bit more fun if you need a suit for pleasure though, when you should feel free to dress to impress. In summer seasons a lightweight, stone gray or dark blue two-piece suit can look good, but in winter months heavier fabrics or three-piece suits are more advisable. If the invite says black tie, a dinner suit or tuxedo is essential.
Get the Right Size
A good tailor can only do so much if you get the basics wrong, so making sure you get the right fit with your suit is absolutely key.
Let’s start with the shoulders. A suit jacket’s shoulders should sit comfortably on your own and appear neat. Pull your arms forward and around yourself. If that feels tight or uncomfortable, your suit is too small and you should opt for a different fit or a larger size. Next, lean against a wall wearing your suit jacket. If the shoulder pad hits the wall before your arm, the suit is too big and you need a smaller fit.
Next, the breast. You should be able to button all of your suit jacket buttons easily. You shouldn’t have to breathe in and once the jacket is buttoned you should be able to place a balled fist between yourself and the jacket without too much give.
Now hang your arms straight down so you can check the length of the sleeves and body. You should be able to grab the bottom hem of the jacket with your hands, while your sleeves should easily extend to the knuckle of your wrist while still leaving a half inch of shirt sleeve visible past the cuff.
The Details Matter
When it comes to a really good looking suit, the details matter more than anything else. Take the lining, for example – you need something that will match the majority of your shirts and add a complimentary splash of colour. If in doubt, remember that grey and red are a classic combination that always go well together.
Then there’s the buttons. Sleeve buttons are available in a variety of styles and you shouldn’t worry about them too much, but current trends lean towards four slightly overlapping or touching buttons on each sleeves – a style called ‘surgeon’s cuffs’ due to their popularity in World War II.
The jacket buttons themselves are an entirely different matter and should be entirely decided by your frame. Those with shorter build should always opt for a single buttoned suit to match their height, for example – while taller gentlemen should have two or three buttons. Single breasted suits (that is, suits with just one row of buttons on the front) are a much more modern style than the traditional double-breasted, but broader figures will prefer the wider fit of a double-breasted jacket. Just make sure you keep the buttons done up to stop it looking untidy!
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