How To Buy A Suit

Every man should own a suit. There are always going to be occasions in life that you need one, so if you don’t already own a suit, get one. But buying a suit is a little intimidating. It’s expensive. It’s something that most people don’t know a lot about. I’m here to make buying a suit easy.

Whether it’s your first suit, or you’ve decided to update your wardrobe, this guide will show you what to look for.

 

Fit:

The first, and most important thing when buying a suit is the fit. If it doesn’t fit right, it’s not even worth wearing. The sizing of a jacket comes in a number and a letter. The number is your chest circumference and the letters S, R, and L stand for Short, Regular, and Long. This is how long the jacket is. Unless you’re taller than say, 6’3″, you’re probably a S or a R. The trick to know your length is you should be able to cup your fingers around the bottom of the jacket.

Most things can be fixed by a tailor, but the shoulders can’t be. So, the number one thing when trying on suits is to make sure the shoulders fit. The shoulder of the suit should end where your real shoulder ends. Always try a size smaller than you think you are.

Suit sleeves should be tailored to show about 1/2″ of shirt sleeve when your arms are at your side (as long as your shirts sleeves are the right length).

Have your tailor bring in the sides of your suit. You want your suit to taper from your shoulders to your waist, creating an inverted triangle.

As for your suit pants, see my post on how your pants should fit. All of the same information applies to suit pants.

Single vs Double Breasted:

Go for a single breasted suit. They work in every situation. Once you have many staple suits in your wardrobe, get the double-breasted suit.

Color:

Your first suit should be solid grey or navy. These are the two most versatile colors. If your first suit is navy, your second suit should be grey, and vice versa.

navy and grey suits

Material:

You should really only get a 100% wool suit. They will stay looking great the longest. Cheaper suits tend to be a poly/wool blend and will lose their structure over time.

Lapel:

You can choose a notch lapel or a peak lapel. A notch lapel is the most common, but a peak lapel can add some personality to a suit. It’s up to you. You also want to look at the width of the lapel. A nice slim lapel is what you want. One around 2″ at it’s widest looks great. Tip: You should wear ties that are about the same width as your lapel to keep things in proportion.

notch vs peak lapel

Buttons:

Most suits come in two buttons or three buttons. Go for the two button suit. It’s a reliable option that will always be in style. They also have a lower button stance, meaning you’re going to see more of your shirt below. This will give the appearance of being taller (and who doesn’t want to look taller?)

Two or Three Piece:

If you can get one, go for a three-piece suit. There are so many more looks you can get out of a three-piece suit than a two piece. Tip: Three piece suits are usually the same price or only slightly more expensive than their two piece counterparts making them the best deal in the store. If you have a three-piece suit, you can wear the jacket by its self as a blazer, the jacket and pants as a two piece suit, the jacket, pants, and vest as a three-piece suit, just the pants and vest, or just the vest. So many options!

Vents:

Vents are the slits in the back of a jacket and come in three options. The first, and most common, is the center vent. It’s a single slit in the center of the back. The more European version is a double vent, which has a slit on either side of the back. The last is a jacket without vents. These are very uncommon and are usually only seen on tuxedos. These are a very slimming but don’t lay as well when seated.

 

Up Your Fashion Game instantly by getting yourself into a suit that fits! If you have any questions about how your suit should fit or have something else to say, comment below!

 

For additional information on suits, check out:

http://www.gq.com/how-to/fashion/200608/how-to-buy-a-suit-slideshow

and

http://www.gq.com/style/style-manual/201204/suits-guide-tailoring-fit

 

“Beware of the sales guy. He’ll tell you whatever you want to hear—that everything looks great on you, that the store’s tailor can fix any suit. And you can almost be guaranteed his sense of style will be different from yours. For all these reasons, you need to know as much as possible about how a suit should fit and what kind of suit you’re looking for before you walk through the door. Remember, you’re the boss, not him.” – GQ

 

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