Buying a new suit can be an exciting, yet daunting, enterprise. Whatever your budget, of course you want to look fantastic. The good news is, this is completely possible, if you know what to look for. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Sleeve length. The cuffs of your jacket should fall to your wrist. Shorter or longer will likely just look silly. Also, when choosing shirts, make sure that their cuffs are longer than your jacket’s – shirt sleeves should generally come to the start of the palm of your hand. The idea is that when wearing your jacket, you’ll reveal a quarter- to a half- inch of shirt sleeve every time.
2. Trouser length. Trousers should start at your waist and end at the top of your shoe in the front. The bottom of your trousers can be ever-so-slightly longer in the back, but they should always stay safely above the heel of your shoe. After all, you want to walk in them, not on them.
3. Dress for your body type. If you sometimes have trouble admitting you’re a little short, or stout, or could be knocked over with a feather, suit-shopping day is the day to get real. Choosing a suit cut because it’s trendy or the most common is a very bad idea. Remember, the better a suit fits, the more you’ll impress those people you need to impress – not to mention the more comfortable you’ll be, yourself. So take a minute, put that jacket on, and take a hard look at yourself in the mirror. Do the jacket’s shoulders perfectly cover yours? If not, take it off and try on another one. If the shoulders fit, does the material sit flat across your chest, with neither straining nor bulges? If so, you might be on to something. Now, check that you can stick one finger between your neck and the collar.
Once those basics have been figured out, look at the jacket length. Short jackets are all the rage right now, but like most trends, alas, this look doesn’t work for every body type. If you’re not slim and trim, or if you just want to look timeless, rather than on-trend, go for a jacket that covers your backside.
Hopefully all this has helped you find your jacket. But wait – we’re not done yet! Now try on the trousers. Remember what we said about length in tip #2. Trousers also shouldn’t have too much material in the legs, especially if you’re short or a bit rotund, as this will make you look even more so, and will give just about anyone a sloppy appearance. Trousers should sit as smoothly as possible, but of course still be comfortable. Move around in them a bit to make sure they’re not too tight between the legs.
If you’re an especially bold fellow, and want to celebrate the renaissance of the three-piece suit, remember that a vest should fit snugly, while still not looking strained, and should fall to your belt.
4. Tailors are your friends. As these sizing issues may make clear, the very best kind of suit to buy is a bespoke one. But if you’re a gentleman on a budget, fear not! As long as it basically fits and isn’t too small (tailors aren’t known for adding material), you can take a store-bought suit to a tailor for adjustments. This helpful article gives excellent advice on how to tell when a suit simply can’t be salvaged, or when a tailor can make adjustments to it.
With these tips in mind, go forth, good gentleman reader, and find the suit that will make you catch eyes and hearts everywhere!
And, of course, never forget about your Pocket Square, a Glamorous Pochette! 😉