Nothing makes us feel quite as attractive and confident as a well fitting suit. Wearing it has a way of making us feel powerful, and tends to bring out the best in us. As a main player in everyman’s wardrobe arsenal, I recommend owning at least one suit; preferably more to include a variety of colors and fabrics. Time and time again, I hear men express concerns about buying a suit, so I’ve written this article to give you a basic guideline on how to choose the perfect suit that will look as good as if it was custom tailored to fit!
How Much Will It Cost?
Like anything else, suits have a wide price range. Often what determines the price is brand, material, style or store. An average suits costs between $200 and $400; however, I’ve found great suits for $99 on sale. Because we all like to save money, shop around for price or wait for a sale.
Where To Buy Mens Suits?
Department stores to men’s specialty shops sell suits. Where you choose to buy is often dictated by your wallet; regardless, I suggest you shop as many stores as possible, even the ones that may seem out of reach, because all stores eventually have sales. Besides price, an important factor in choosing a store is customer service. Find a store that has knowledgeable sales clerks who not only show you suits, but can properly measure you. There are Big and Tall stores for men of extra size. If you’re unable to find one of these stores in your area, shop online. Online shopping is an option for everyone; however, in order to buy the right size, I recommend you be professionally measured first.
Do I Have To Be Measured For A Suit?
Yes, the proper measurement insures the proper fit, and is key to finding that perfect suit. Determined by your size, the measurements will include an even number, which is your chest measurement, and a length designated by either short, regular or long. An example is 40 Regular. Although it sounds simple, a proper fitting includes various combined measurements in order to arrive at your proper size. You can attempt this on your own, but I highly recommend a professional fitting.
Which Suit Fabric Is Best?
There’s really no set answer to this question, but there are some preferred fabrics. Often, comfort and the fabric’s ability to resist wrinkling are priorities in choosing the best material for your needs. The time of year you’ll wear the suit can also be a determining factor. Naturally, in warmer months you’ll want a suit that is light weight and breathable. Colder months will call for a thicker fabric in order to be seasonal and keep you warm. Wool, a popular and durable, long lasting material is used for both summer and winter suits because of its versatility. Wool-polyester blends are another great choice because they wrinkle less and are easy to maintain; resulting in fewer trips to the dry cleaners. There are quite a few fabrics to choose from. Talk with the sales clerk and tell him your needs – I’m sure he’ll have helpful suggestions.
Which Suit Style?
Most likely you’ll be interested in buying either a three button or two button suit. The three button suit is classic and can be worn by everyone. Two button suits are typically worn well by thinner men. Another choice, the double breasted suit is always in style. Besides being very sophisticated, being a fitter cut, this style tends to look great on a slender man. Try the different styles on and choose after seeing what looks best on your body type.
Lapels vary, also. The notched lapel is most common, and is seen on single breasted suits – business and pleasure – in addition to most blazers and sport jackets. Double breasted suits usually have a peaked lapel, which is pointed and more formal looking. Single breasted suits can be found with peaked lapels, but typically have a notched lapel.
What About Pants?
Although some suits have pleated pants, a flat front pant is the best choice. A flat front is more slimming and gives a streamline appearance. Also, expect to have the pants hemmed. Often, the store where you purchase the suit can do this service. If not, I suggest a tailor, so the hemming is done correctly.
Which Suit Color?
Today’s popular suit colors are blue and grey; most often being navy and charcoal, although various shades of either color are acceptable. A black suit is considered more formal, and is usually worn for formal events and funerals. Although a good idea to own a black suit, if you’re going to own just one, choose blue or grey. Either color is acceptable for business or pleasure. Pinstripes are in style – preferably simple and subtle.
A Few More Tips:
- When shopping for a suit, wear the shoes you’ll be wearing with the suit, if possible. If you don’t own them yet, wear a shoe with the same size heal you’ll later buy. This is important for determining the length of the pants.
- Wear a button down dress shirt to ensure proper fit and comfort of the jacket.
Relax and enjoy the experience – you’re not alone in this venture. There are plenty of skilled and trustworthy professionals to assist you in buying the suit of your dreams!
Aaron Marino is the founder, owner, and senior style consultant at Atlanta’s alpha m. Image Consulting. He also runs alpha m. Dot Net, which features accessories for men, and I Am Alpha M. , which is a lifestyle and personal development zone for men. He authored the book, “The Guy’s Guide to Image, Style, and Impeccable Grooming” and appeared on VH1’s Glam God and also Man Made Style. He frequently makes public appearances, giving his expert opinions an advice, and his highly sought after videos appear on YouTube.