1. 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.
Suit, $895, by Boss Black. Shirt, $225, by David Chu. Tie, $118, by Hickey. Pocket square, Best of Class by Robert Talbott.
2. Know why you’re buying a suit
Are you hunting for a suit that you’re going to wear to the office once or more a week? (If so, keep it dark and classic.) Or are you looking for a suit you’ll wear a few times a year to weddings and funerals? (Black or navy is a safe bet.) Is it a suit you’ll wear to job interviews? (If so, you want to be well dressed but not better dressed than the guy interviewing you, so nothing too pricey.) Or is it the kind you’d wear with sneakers and a T-shirt, or wear just the jacket with a pair of jeans? (Think designer, not Brooks Brothers or Hickey Freeman.)
Suit, $4,700, by Brioni. Shirt, $325, by Kilgour at Barneys New York. Tie, $130, by Ralph Lauren Purple Label. Tie bar by Dunhill. Belt by Martin Dingman.
3. Start at a department store
When you’re ready to start shopping, grab a friend who won’t hesitate to provide you with a blunt opinion, and head to a store like Barneys or Saks or Bloomingdale’s. You’ll be able to view a variety of brands instead of just one. Once you’re inside, do a lap of the suit floor by yourself. See what styles are carried—what grabs your attention. Look at prices. Ask for a salesman when you’re good and ready.
Suit, $1,445, by Moschino Uomo. Shirt, $138, by Hickey Freeman.
We firmly believe that every man should own at least one suit. One sharp suit can cover you for job interviews, weddings, funerals, and nearly any other event that requires formal attire. However, some men — particularly young men — are hesitant to go into a legitimate suit store and splurge on a new, nice-fitting suit. Tony Spear, the president and owner of Este’s Men’s Clothing in Portland, Oregon, has a few simple tips on how to buy a suit without feeling intimidated or taken advantage of.
1. Don’t Take Any Sass
A few decades ago, men’s clothing retailers could succeed despite being rude to their customers. Today, online reviews make it very difficult for jerks to do well; there’s no reason to tolerate a salesperson who seems impatient, rude, or snobby. “Any purchase should be made from someone trying to help you — not someone trying to sell you,” says Spear. “You should never feel intimidated when you’re buying something.” If you’re uncomfortable at any point during the suit-buying process, it’s your right as a consumer to get out of there.
2. Consider Your Suit-Wearing Habits
It’s OK to walk into a suit store without a clear vision. A trustworthy salesperson will ask you a series of questions to help you zero in on your ideal suit. Still, it’s a good idea to have some idea of what you want; do you want a suit for a particular occasion, or are you looking for a reliable outfit that will work for just about any formal situation? Maybe you’re looking for a workhorse suit that will stand up to hundreds of wears over three to five years. “If you’re seeing the same client two days in a row, it’s good to have two suits,” says Spear. “If you’re going to work in an office and you’re wearing the same suit three out of the five days, one suit is fine. You shouldn’t worry about your co-workers, because everyone’s on a clothing budget.”
3. Don’t Worry Too Much About Material
A pushy salesperson may try to convince you to buy some uber-fancy material that bumps the total cost up a few hundred dollars. For your first or second suit, we recommend skipping the premium fabric options and going with reliable, affordable, timeless wool. Rather than worrying about materials, you should focus your time and energy on getting the right fit. “Fit is key,” says Spear. “Everybody likes nice fabric, but you can see the look of a bad fit — you can’t see how bad the fabric is.” Once you have several suits in your closet, then you might experiment with linen, cotton, spandex, whatever. If you like the feel of the material, and it’s reasonably priced, we say go for it.
4. Navy and Charcoal Are Gold
Though black suits were popular once upon a time, you really don’t see them as often these days. Today, navy and charcoal are where it’s at. “If you’re just starting a wardrobe, get a navy suit and a charcoal gray suit,” says Spear. “Now you have three outfits. You have the navy suit, you got the charcoal suit, you got the charcoal pant to wear with that navy suit coat. That’s how you start a wardrobe. That and five to six shirts.”
5. Off-the-Rack Suits Are Just Fine
If you simply don’t have the funds to drop $1,000-plus on a tailor-made suit, then don’t. Going off the rack is a perfectly respectable way to procure a new suit. “There’s nothing wrong with $295 suits,” says Spear. “If you’re wearing it once or twice a year to holiday occasions, funerals, or weddings, it’s OK as long as it fits.” That said, you shouldn’t expect much from suits that are fused (read: glued) together. Buying a high-quality suit off the rack and having a tailor adjust it to your contours is a great compromise between buying a fused suit and 100% custom suit.
6. But Every Man Should Have One Tailored Suit
If you have the means, you’d do well to have a suit tailored. Again, it’s all about fit. When a suit fits just right, you can feel it — not just in terms of comfort, but confidence as well. “Everyone should have a custom suit at some point in their life — even if it’s just one,” says Spear. “A $1,200-$1,500 tailored suit over 10 or more years comes out to about $125 dollars a year.” That’s not an outrageous amount when you consider that you’ll look absolutely perfect while wearing your bespoke suit. Also, you shouldn’t worry about gaining or losing weight — it’s not hard for a tailor to “take in” a loose garment or “ease” a tight one.
Learning a few things about how to buy a suit should help demystify the process. You’ll find that buying a suit is not a big deal — just tell the men’s sales associate what you want, and pretty soon you’ll be looking your best.
Article originally published by TJ Carter. Last updated by Cody Gohl.
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E very man needs a good suit in his life. Even if you don’t need one for work, a good suit can act like body armour and make a man feel like he can take on the world. Confidence is often attached to feeling good in your own skin, but a well-cut second skin can often do the job too.
Below are a few insider secrets for the next time you go in search of your perfect suit. They’re typically details that your average shop assistant won’t inform you about, but are the sort of details that would catch a tailor’s keen eye.
As my old man used to say, knowledge is being aware that fire can burn; wisdom is remembering the blister. So use this cheat sheet to become an expert at spotting the things others would miss and use them well for your next purchase.
The turn back
Is a little piece of rectangular fabric the size of a stamp found under your jacket collar. It sits closest to the edge when your collar is up. Most people don’t notice it, others don’t know it’s purpose, but it’s a great little detail that often highlights a well-made suit. Although not commonly used these days, it’s a sign of quality and is there so you can slightly alter the angle of your jacket collar if you choose to.
A tubular sleeve
M ass produced suits are designed to fit as many bodies as possible, but most brands (even on the high street) have specific house cuts, so it’s about taking the time to find a brand that works well with your body shape. One thing often ignored by men is the sleeve pitch – this is the position of the sleeve in relation the rest of the jacket.
I f you put your hands down by your sides, most people’s arms fall naturally in different positions, this can be due to your bone structure, going to the gym, your posture. a number of things.
When you try on a suit always look to see if the sleeve follows the line of your arm, this will prevent any dragging/ creasing around your bicep – something you don’t often notice in the mirror, but people looking at you do.
The finest suits on the market will have tubular sleeves. Rather than being completely straight like high street suits, this type of sleeve will have a slight inward curve around the elbow and follow the natural line of the arm. Take a look at other people’s suits next time you’re out and about, see if you notice the difference.
A fused body
T he best suits available are fully canvassed; this means their innards are stitched in place. This is an expensive method that helps the suit mould to the wearer’s body over time. Less expensive suits are fused – meaning their guts are essentially held in place with glue. The latter found in almost all high street suits and can make your suit feel slightly wooden and doesn’t follow your body contours.
If you have a fused suit, the fusing line (an internal vertical line near the jacket button) sometimes becomes visible on the outside over time – unfortunately it can’t be fixed.
This can be even more agitated by getting your suit dry cleaned, so unless you’ve spilt a Big Mac down the front of your jacket, I would advise getting your suits pressed rather than dry cleaned and sponging out any small stains. Dry cleaning should only be done twice a year as it can damage the cloth and in some cases cause the fabric to become shiny.
Half lined / unlined
Partially lined suits are pretty rare in England as it’s cold here 360 days of the year. Men often associate unlined and half lined suits with being cheaper than fully lined suits. In reality it takes more skill to create an unlined jacket because the innards are visible for all to see. So don’t let a lack of lining put you off if you’re after something a bit lighter.
H owever, always opt for jackets with lined sleeves so your arms slide smoothly in and out of the jacket.
The lapel roll
Most high street suits are made by automated machines. Often this means the lapel is pressed completely flat so that there’s no air between where the lapel curls and hits the jacket near the button. Well made suits have what’s known as a soft roll. It’s something to look out for.
The lapel won’t look like it’s been pressed down flat against the chest with a steam roller, but more like it has been curved gently by hand. It’s a nice insider’s detail that gives the jacket more life than the flatness of a lot of machine-made suits.
A good suit should be breathable. It should help keep the body at an even temperature and should not trap heat.
P olyester, in general, due to being synthetic, retains heat and gets wrinkled easily. Some polyester fabrics also have a glossy shine – so always look at the fabric composition label.
Silk is beautiful but has a luxurious shine that doesn’t appeal to all men. Cashmere is king but out of most men’s price bracket, while cotton and linen are great for the summer but crease very easily. 100% wool is ideal and versatile.
T he best suits also pay attention to smallest details: for instance when ordering a pin-stripe suit, examine how the stripes align or how the checks on a Prince of Wales fabric suit match up at the seam.
Most of us who have bought off-the-rack suits can relate to this issue: You buy a beautiful suit, only to notice that the jacket sits away from your torso. Most off-the-rack suits are designed for generic body types. If like me you most certainly are not generic, you need to know where to look to find the best shape for your body type.
If you are average height and slender and want a slim fit suit with a shorter jacket, visit River Island for a cheaper version or Spencer Hart for the “Row” version. If you’re slim to average build and want a contemporary fit that is slim but not skinny fit visit Reiss, or get the real deal from Casely-Hayford.
I f you have longer body and are in search of a longer jacket – on the high street see TM Lewin or on Savile Row pop into Richard James or Boateng.
For larger guys who have a heavier build Roderick Charles is inexpensive and allows room to manoeuvre. Charlie Allen is the go-to for an upmarket equivalent – his wider sleeve muscle will allow for movement and the body shape is definitively masculine.
O ne other thing. Ultimately, the price tag is no real guide to quality — you can pay a fortune for a poorly made suit. The devil is in the detail, so keep your eyes open, as well as your options.
A colleague recently asked me for advice on buying a suit – probably navy, certainly single-breasted, possibly three-button. It’s the kind of everyday question that I get asked a lot, and probably concerns far more people than ‘Which French tailor has the best finishing?’
So here’s a guide through the posts on Permanent Style that should help answer that question. Even with the new categorisation system, I realise it’s not always easy to find the exact post you want.
General advice on both buying and wearing suits. A good place to start.
What to look for in a ready-to-wear suit, from canvas to stitching, in one of my columns for How to Spend It, the Financial Times magazine
3 – Style and colour
A much broader area this, and one that has never been covered in a single post for that reason. I recommend looking through the Reader Question and How to Wear It sections, however, as that covers most of the points.
If you’re going for ready-to-wear, you should have the suit altered, at least somewhere. This post has become a reference tool for such alterations, with 37 comments since it was first posted five years ago. Remember to glance at the comments on all posts – often the follow-up question you had will be answered there.
If you decide to go for bespoke, read this post. Given my colleague is in Hong Kong, bespoke is a very real possibility. But you need to know what you want, and be firm with it.
I hope that’s helpful. I do notice there’s no post that deals with style basics such as 2 vs 3-button however, or navy vs grey. I’ll put that on the list. And if anyone wants a lot more people, there is also of course my book.
The Secret To Buying The Perfect Suit, No Matter Your Body Type
The “less is more” philosophy has finally permeated men’s fashion. Today’s most fashion-savvy gents are showing more cuff at the sleeve and more ankle with the pant; they call it the fitted men’s suit. It’s a sleek, streamlined ensemble with two unique details: 1) a slimmer fit, especially in the shoulders; and 2) shorter hemlines (as mentioned above).
With its fast-paced appeal, the fitted suit defies traditional rules; yet, these suits are available right off the rack. That’s why, to help indoctrinate the masses on buying a suit of this kind, we’ve compiled these foundational tenets on how to purchase one based on body type.
Trends in men’s suits include sharp lines, close tailoring and shorter hems. Yes, the fitted suit offers guys an updated, sophisticated take on a look that’s traditionally left unaltered. And now that the fitted suit has emerged on the scene, guys willing to take a risk should embrace these trends and demonstrate their fashion-savvy skills.
Here’s how to do it right, no matter what your size and shape are:
1. The Bulky Man
Wear Lightweight Fabrics
A man with a fuller frame, be it from added time at the gym or the buffet, should find a fitted suit that’s slenderizing. Thankfully, given that it’s a slimmer cut, you’re automatically behind the eight ball. From the get-go, only focus on models made from lightweight fabrics; suits built from bulkier textiles will only add weight, compounding the problem. Let soft, worsted wools be your guide.
Use Dark Colors
While light colors make the body seem fuller, dark colors have the opposite effect. As these darker colors are slimming, they will do wonders to lighten the appearance of your frame, making you seem lighter on your feet. As for specific colors, choices like black and dark navy are as complementary as they are classy.
Go With Solids (Or Vertical Stripes)
For guys with extra meat on their bones, solids work best to create a sleek, slender visual. While loud patterns will definitely work against you, there are still options for finding a suit with added detailing. Since vertical stripes elongate the frame, they are both appropriate and chic. Big guys can also choose tiny, innocuous patterns for a bolder look, but only if they proceed with caution.
Take Two On The Jacket
Added cushion on the torso can mean a disproportionate look in the jacket. To ensure the best-looking fit in the coat, remember that two buttons are optimal. The two-button jacket is now the norm and designed to work for all body types. As an industry standard, it won’t draw attention to your bulky frame, like the modish impact of a one-button jacket or the slimming effect of a three-button piece.
Stay Single On The Vent
While it’s doubles on the buttons, bulky guys must keep the inverse in mind on the vent; specifically, avoid double-vented jackets. Vents, which are the slits at the back of the jacket, allow more movement. They also attract the eye, so huskier guys may not want to accentuate their backside. Instead, go for a single-vent jacket, which will give you the extra room you need minus the extra attention.
2. The Tall And Skinny Man
Add Weight With Heavier Fabrics
On a tall, skinny guy, lightweight fabrics will hang and make you look all the more frail. Opting for heavier wools that hold their form is the smart decision; suits constructed from this type of fabric will give you much-needed proportion and the appearance of additional weight. Ask the salesmen for tweed or a heavier weight worsted wool.
Stay With Lighter Colors
While the fabric should be heavy, the color should be light. Lighter colors, thanks to their visual powers, make things appear more bulky (in this case, you). What’s more, since vertical stripes elongate and dark colors slim, either will serve only make you look taller and skinnier. Choose a suit that’s a lighter color — such as gray — and that has no vertical stripes.
Own A Three-Button Jacket
Long and lanky? Then you have the dubious distinction necessary to wear a three-button jacket. Since three buttons create height and length, tall guys, with their longer torsos, can pull this look off successfully. While bulky and short guys would be advised to stick to two-button jackets, tall and skinny guys are eligible for this modish feature (only button the top two buttons, though).
Err On The Side Of The Single Vent
With no junk in the trunk, tall, skinny men have two options for the vent: 1) no vent; or 2) a single vent. Since jacket vents allow movement and create visual appeal, they give features to the jacket that skinny fellows don’t necessarily need. Sticking with a single-vent or ventless jacket produces a modest, fuller look in the rear.
Buy Pants With A Regular Rise
Tall guys have long legs, so their pants shouldn’t make them seem any taller. The best way to prevent seeming any taller than you are is to ensure the pants have a longer rise; the rise of the pants, which is the distance from the waistband to the crotch, helps establish the proportions between the body and the legs. That’s why a regular rise will bring balance and symmetry to your already long legs and torso.
3. The Short Man
Avoid Loud Patterns
For vertically challenged guys, the choice of fabrics is wide open, while the option for loud patterns is not. The print of an overly bold pattern screams for attention (this is not good for you). Wearing a loud pattern, especially in a suit, will only draw attention to your diminutive frame. Lest you want to be perceived as having a Napoleon complex, choose quieter options that are erudite and subdued.
Rely On Vertical Stripes
For short men, the next best thing to a shoe with a higher sole is a suit with vertical stripes. As stripes run top to bottom, they tend to draw the eye upward. Plus, they also lengthen your frame by elongating the look of the suit. Both of these traits make vertical stripes ideal and advantageous for shorter men; they give them the illusion of appearing taller than they really are.
Make It One Button (Two, Max)
Should you be on the shorter side, let your jacket have either one or two buttons, depending on how fast you want your look to be. One-button jackets are modish, while two buttons are today’s traditional bread-and-butter style. Whichever option you choose, keep in mind that fewer buttons neutralize the proportions of your look.
Go For Double Vents
Small guys, the double-vent jacket was created with you in mind. The dual slits (or vents) along the side emphasize the outside lines of the body; in doing so, they establish an attractive, longer silhouette that complements and lengthens your frame. A double-vent jacket is not only the appropriate look for short guys, but also the stylish option for an accomplished sense of style.
Buy Pants With A Low Rise
When it comes to the pant, look for a low rise. The rise is the vertical distance from the waist to the crotch; low-rise pants stretch out the torso, making you seem taller. They dramatize the proportions of your frame to look sleeker and longer. In fact, the lower the rise of the pants, the longer the body looks.
- Brown suits are back.
- The iconic piece of 70s tailoring has been ushered back into the folds of haute couture by style icons like Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and David Beckham.
- INSIDER spoke to some tailors about the trend and they told us that every man should have one in his wardrobe as a subtle statement piece.
- There are some conditions, though, as not all brown suits are born equal.
- You can read all of INSIDER’s men’s fashion coverage here.
Ryan Gosling, one of INSIDER’s best-dressed men of 2018, loves brown suits.
He’s not alone, either.
Gosling is among a growing number of stylish male celebrities including Bradley Cooper, David Beckham, and Tom Hiddleston who are opting for chocolatey hues on the red carpet and beyond.
Up until recently, brown suits had been in fashion exile, reserved for used car salesmen and clueless prom-goers. They were, in truth, a bit of a joke.
Why now, then, are brown suits launching a resurgence via the upper echelons of men’s fashionistas? INSIDER spoke to some tailors to find out, and they told us exactly why you need a brown suit in your wardrobe.
The revival of 70s style
Corduroy, bold prints, silk shirts, air ties, and now brown suits — 70s style is back in a big way.
Colin Hunter, CEO and cofounder of bespoke menswear brand Alton Lane, told us that hit drama series “Mad Men,” which is set in the 60s and 70s is, in large part, responsible for the revival of the brown suit.
He adds that changing attitudes towards style have liberated men in recent years, meaning they’re leaning towards bolder colours, patterns, and fabrics.
“There’s a desire to step out a bit from the norm,” Hunter says.
“You’ll see it with either more colourful shirts or we’ve seen a huge shift in lighter, richer shades of blue [suits] that you probably wouldn’t have seen 10 years ago.
“Guys are used to the navies and the charcoals, now they feel a little bit more comfortable branching out a bit.”
Meanwhile, Jack Stammers and Will Davison, London tailors and owners of Jack Davison Bespoke, say they’ve been fans of brown for some time: “We like to suggest it to our clients as a nice alternative to grey and navy.
“It’s one of the easiest colours to wear and just pushes the boundaries a little without being over the top.”
It’s all about the shade
You can’t just throw on any old shade of brown, though, the experts warn. “I always try to steer our clients either side of the bell curve,” Hunter says.
“Either go much lighter like an oatmeal or towards my favourite end, which would be like a deep espresso; a rich brown that maybe across the room is hard to tell if it’s just a dark suit.”
There is one shade you should be extremely wary of, Hunter says, and that’s the middle of the spectrum, like a milk chocolate colour: “that kind of lighter, very orangey brown.”
“There are some celebrities that have done that and honestly, they can probably get away with it because they’re celebrities but if the average guy walked into the office in a suit like that, it’d probably be the last time he wore it,” Hunter adds.
Stammers and Davison also lean towards the darker end of the spectrum, but stipulate that there is more scope to go lighter with your blazer in order to create contrasts with your bottom half.
The cut is even more important than your staple suits
A brown suit is a statement suit, not a staple like your average navy, grey, or black. As such, it’s important that your fit aligns with your style choice.
“The lighter the suit fabric, or the more you’re trying to make a statement, the more fit is important,” Hunter says.
With your everyday navy suit, you can get away with a slightly more traditional cut, but if you’re making a statement with something like a brown, a light grey, or a windowpane, then it’s important that your suit is tailored as, naturally, eyes will be drawn to your outfit.
“If a custom suit is inaccessible to you, pay the extra money to get your off-the-rack suit taken in and fit perfectly to your body as it will pay dividends,” says Hunter.
What to wear with a brown suit
If your suit is the statement, does that mean you should leave your accessories behind? No, say our experts, but you should certainly keep them toned down.
“It’s not uncommon to see a slither of a white pocket square,” Hunter says. “That’s probably what I would go with. I wouldn’t do a big colourful silk pocket square.”
Stammers and Davison say you can pull colours out of your suit and/or tie for your pocket square. They recommend a light, powder blue shirt with a navy tie, while Hunter says the darker the brown of the suit, the more optionality you have to play around with different shirt colours.
“When I’ve styled shoots, I will do a white shirt and a navy tie because what you’re really making a statement with is the suit, not the accessories, so let that be the statement,” Hunter says.
He adds that you should stay away from ties in orange, red, or purple, which will clash with your suit.
You can even wear brown to a wedding
Brown is not a traditional wedding colour, but that doesn’t mean it can’t and shouldn’t be done. Hunter says these days around 50% of his clients are asking for suits over tuxedos for their weddings, which means there’s a lot more room for variation.
Like many things in fashion, though, the right outfit is all about timing.
“I would never recommend a brown suit for a summer wedding,” Hunter says, “but a winter wedding or an autumn wedding, particularly if it’s outside and those earth tones are all around you, then a dark brown suit could definitely be a good look.”
Meanwhile, Stammers has just ordered a brown suit for an upcoming wedding himself — what more encouragement do you need?
It will make blue eyes stand out — but so will a lot of things
Back in 2017, GQ published an article where the author wrote, “orange-leaning shades of brown like terracotta and bronze” will make blue eyes stand out. Is this true? Yes, but there’s a catch, says Hunter.
“Respectfully to GQ, a bright yellow suit would also make blue eyes stand out,” Hunter points out.
“Just because it would make the eyes stand out does not mean that it would be a great choice.”
For instance, the terracotta and bronze shades that GQ advocates are going to be hard for the average guy to pull off. Just because it works for Bradley Cooper doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. Sorry.
As an alternative, Hunter suggests a light grey suit, which will also make blue eyes stand out, but is a much safer choice and will go with more shirts, shoes, and ties.
Stammers and Davison are with GQ, though: “Just look at someone with blue eyes when they have a suntan.”
“On that note, a brown tobacco-coloured linen suit looks very good for the summer.”
As if you needed another reason to wish it was July already.
CHECKLIST: HOW TO BUY YOUR FIRST SUIT
_____Step 1: Measure Yourself
_____Write down the following, to the nearest 1/4″
Neck size ____________
Shoulder width ____________
Chest circumference (widest point) ____________
Sleeve length ____________
Waist size ____________
Note: If you are buying bespoke clothing, you may want a more detailed measurement guide like A Tailored Suit’s.
_____Step 2: Identify the Kind of Suit You Want
_____Select a basic, business-dress color:
o Charcoal gray (most versatile)
o Navy blue (appropriate but a touch more unique)
o Black (harder to match and less versatile, but very formal)
o Medium gray (not appropriate for highest levels of business formality)
o Dark brown ((not appropriate for highest levels of business formality)
_____Select a business-appropriate pattern:
o Solid (most common)
o Pinstripe (thin white stripes only)
o Visible texture (herringbone, birdseye, etc. — less formal than plain solid)
_____Select a style of jacket
o Single-breasted, two button (most common and simplest)
o Single-breasted, three button (good for tall men)
o Double-breasted (elegant but less versatile)
o Three-piece (single-breasted with matching waistcoat)
_____Select a fabric
o Basic worsted or flannel wool (fineness in the 70-100 range, if listed)
o Superfine wool (100+ fineness)
o Textured weaves (tweeds, birdseye, barleycorn, etc. — more casual)
o Cotton twill (affordable but less flattering than wool)
o Linen (lightweight and prone to wrinkling; meant for summer wear)
Combined, these four things give you a very specific target for shopping. Ask a salesperson for “a plain charcoal gray suit, single-breasted with two buttons, in worsted wool” and you’ve already eliminated 90% of most stores’ inventories.
_____Step 3: Choose Your Store or Stores
_____Identify the kind of tailoring and construction you want:
o Bespoke (completely custom made — most expensive option)
o Made-to-measure (a pre-made pattern sized specifically to you)
o Ready-to-wear (pre-sized off the rack; some stores do in-house adjustments)
_____Select a type of store:
o Department stores (Sears, Macy’s, etc. — low prices, but limited selection/quality)
o Menswear chains (Men’s Wearhouse, Jos. A. Banks, etc. — wider selection and better in-house service/fitting)
o Independent boutiques (unique selections; tend to have better service and quality)
o Bespoke tailors (custom design and construction)
o Online (you send your measurements and payment; they ship you a suit — can require several back-and-forth shipments to get fit right)
_____Step 4: Go Shopping
_____Head to your target store or stores (see step 3)
_____Identify the suits that fit your selected description (see step 2)
_____Within that selection, find the suits that fit your measurements (step 1)
These are the suits you have to select from. Take your pick, and don’t be shy to ask about alterations as needed! If you can’t get exactly the suit you want, move on…there are other stores out there, and with this checklist completed, shopping is quick and easy.
Antonio Centeno is the founder of RealMenRealStyle having studied style in London, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. He is a former US Marine Officer with an MBA from UT Austin and BA from Cornell College. Want to learn how to Command Respect, Attract Opportunity & Increase Income by leveraging science of style? Click Here To Attend FREE Masterclass.
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Austin Reed, 100 Regent Street, London W1 (020-7025 7000; www.austinreed.co.uk). Canali, 126-127 New Bond Street, London W1 (020-7290 3500; www.canali.it). Gieves & Hawkes, 1 Savile Row, London W1 (020-7432 6403; www.gievesandhawkes.com). Huntsman, 11 Savile Row, London W1 (020-7734 7441; www.h-huntsman.co.uk). Ralph Lauren, 1 New Bond Street, London W1 (020-7535 4600; www.ralphlauren.co.uk). Richard Anderson, Sherbourne House, 13 Savile Row, London W1 (020-7734 0001; www.richardandersonltd.com).
Simon Crompton is a men’s style writer and consultant. He is the founder of award-winning site Permanent Style and author of Le Snob Guide to Tailoring (Hardie Grant, 2011). His new book, The Finest Menswear in the World (Vivays), will be published in October 2013.
Men are not interested in the clothing of celebrities. At the most, the endorsement of a film star, a magazine or a fashion brand is a shortcut, a sanction. A man’s number one priority is not looking stupid, and popular culture is a safety blanket.
In my experience, knowledge is what really engages a man. Tell him why his suit is better made than his friend’s. Tell him why dry cleaning is shortening the life of his shirts. Tell him why this particular leather jacket will look much better the worse it is treated – all it needs is some wax once a year.
But information can be hard to come by, or is covered in an off-putting sheen of fashion and femininity. This column, which will dissect a different item of menswear each month, is a small step towards correcting that. We begin with suits.
The easiest way to identify a well-made suit is the canvas. This is the lining that runs down the front of the jacket and gives it structure. It’s why the front feels different to the back. The canvas can be sewn in, so it can move with you and your movements, or glued.
Glue is cheaper and easier, but means the jacket will remain stiff and impersonal. Canvas adopts the shape of your body. It gives a natural roll to the front of the jacket and its lapels. You can always spot a glued or fused jacket because the lapels are flat and lifeless – over time the points will stand away from the jacket, such is their artificial stiffness. Cheap, high-street suits are fused.
Any good suit will have floating canvas in at least the top half of the jacket – from Austin Reed to Gieves & Hawkes to Canali. It is the minimum standard you should expect.
You can feel the canvas if you separate the cloth somewhere in the chest of the jacket, pinching the inside and the outside material and feeling for an extra, loose layer between the two.
Some suits have canvas all the way down the jacket, which creates greater structure but also weight, and is therefore not generally preferred by the Italian producers. Not surprisingly, the ready-made suits offered by Savile Row tailors such as Richard Anderson (pictured) and Huntsman are fully canvassed. The chests of their jackets also have a layer of horsehair and felt, but that’s not easy to identify from the outside.
The other sign of quality is hand stitching, which is most needed on the parts of the jacket that have to be flexible, such as the collar and armhole. Canali and Ralph Lauren use handwork, for example. It’s easy to spot this: just turn up the collar and look at the stitches that attach it to the back of the jacket. If they are at all irregular, it is hand sewn.
On the other hand, look out for extraneous details that mimic hand stitching. Tiny stitches up the edge of a lapel, known as pick stitching, used to be a sign of quality. Now it is often reproduced by machine to try to give the impression of a handmade suit. Not only does that kind of fakery undermine a suit’s style, but it gives you a pretty good idea of the company’s manufacturing priorities.
My other tips are fairly intuitive. I recommend avoiding an extremely lightweight cloth: it won’t last that long. The same goes for a shiny cloth: it looks cheap and will only look cheaper. And if you’re going to wear the suit regularly, invest in two pairs of trousers. It seems expensive until you realise the alternative is a second suit.
CHECKLIST: HOW TO BUY A DRESS SHIRT
Step 1: Figure Your Size
If you already know your dress shirt size, you can skip this step. If not, most dress shirts are sized with a neck/sleeve pair of numbers, which you can calculate this way:
- Measure the circumference of your neck. Take the measurement low on the neck, where the collar of a shirt sits, and add 1/4″ to the measurement for breathing room.
- Round your neck measurement up to the nearest half-inch. Off-the-rack shirts won’t be sized any more precisely than that.
Record your collar size: __________
- Measure the sleeve length with your arm held lightly at your side. Start the tape measure at nape of the neck and measure all the way down the top/outside of the arm to the end of the wrist.
- Round your sleeve measurement to the nearest inch.
Record your sleeve size: __________
The two numbers you have recorded will be your ready-to-wear shirt size. Most are listed with the neck size first, and many give a short range of sleeve lengths, so a typical tag might read something like “15 1/2 32-33,” for a neck size of fifteen and a half inches and a sleeve length of around thirty-two or thirty-three inches.
Men buying custom shirts may want to use a more detailed measurement guide that takes waist, chest, and additional measurements into account, such as the one at A Tailored Suit.
Step 2: Identify the Shirt You Want
- Select a fabric:
Oxford — a simple, sturdy weave with light bumps in its surface
Pinpoint or royal oxford — a smoother, lighter oxford (more expensive)
Poplin — a smooth surface with a light, loose weave
Herringbone — a textured weave with distinct “V” shapes
Broadcloth — a smooth, tight, high-quality weave (often expensive)
Seersucker — light, bumpy, summer-weight cloth (casual)
There are many more dress shirt fabrics available, but these are the most common. Feel free to explore other options — these are a good starting place.
- Select a collar style
Button-down — sturdy but casual; not appropriate for business formality
Point — the basic turndown shirt collar
Spread — a wider-spread point collar, with the points more than 90 degrees apart
Club — an uncommon style of rounded collar, rather than pointed
Mandarin — a stiff collar that does not turn down
Pin — a point collar held closed by a separate metal pin; only worn with ties
Tab — a point collar held closed with tabs under the collar; only worn with ties.
- Select a cuff style
Single barrel — the most typical style, with a plain, buttoning cuff
Double French — A doubled-over style sealed with cufflinks rather than a button
Double barrel — An uncommon doubled-over style with built-in buttons
Single French — Single cuff sealed with cufflinks; rare outside of formal (tuxedo) shirts
- Select a color/pattern
o Plain white — highest standard of business formality
o White with light stripes/check — typical business formality
o Light-colored solids — relaxed business wear
o Bright solids or vivid patterns — casual/social wear only
- Select a monogram if desired/offered
The combination of fabric, collar, cuff, and color/pattern should narrow your shirt choices down nicely. You’re much better-prepared for shopping if you can tell salespeople that you want “a blue-and-white striped poplin shirt with a button-down collar and normal barrel cuffs” than if you just say “I need a dress shirt.”
Step 3: Pick Your Source
- Identify the kind of tailoring and construction you want:
Bespoke (completely custom made — most expensive option)
Made-to-measure (a pre-made pattern sized specifically to you)
Ready-to-wear (pre-sized off the rack; some stores do in-house adjustments)
- Select a type of store:
Department stores (Sears, Macy’s, etc. — low prices, but limited selection/quality)
Menswear chains (Men’s Wearhouse, Jos. A. Banks, etc. — wider selection and better in-house service/fitting)
Independent boutiques (unique selections; tend to have better service and quality)
Bespoke tailors (custom design and construction)
Online (you send your measurements and payment; they ship you a shirt — can require several back-and-forth shipments to get fit right)
Step 4: Go Shopping
- Head to your target store or stores (see step 3)
- Identify the shirts that fit your selected description (see step 2)
- Within that selection, find the shirt that fit your measurements (step 1)
With the information in this checklist, you should be able your selection down to just a few shirts. Find the one that suits you best at the price you like — or move on, if you need to, and use the same information to shop elsewhere, until you find a purchase you like.
Antonio Centeno is the founder of RealMenRealStyle having studied style in London, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. He is a former US Marine Officer with an MBA from UT Austin and BA from Cornell College. Want to learn how to Command Respect, Attract Opportunity & Increase Income by leveraging science of style? Click Here To Attend FREE Masterclass.
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As with anything in beekeeping, there are several options when it comes to choosing a bee suit. The easiest way of choosing the most suitable bee suit is to try it out in your local beekeeper store. Trying it out enables you to test how comfortable it is and if it is the right size. Remember, you might wear it for more than an hour at a time so it should feel comfortable in it.
You know that your head is one of the most important areas to protect and a beekeeper hat does just that. However, the hat alone is not enough so it should always be worn with a beekeeping veil. The hat is used to protect the head while the veil is protecting the neck and the face. If you wear glasses, you should try the veil first before buying. Because of different quality among veils, some of them in combination with your glasses might hinder your sight.
The hat and veil can be a one piece or separated, but having them separated seems impractical and insecure. The veil could get separated by accident, and that could enable bees to enter, getting you in danger of being stung on the head. Another advantage of having the hat and veil as one piece is that they are easy to fasten to the bee suit so bees cannot enter the suit.
There are several options of veils to choose from, and each comes with some positive and negative aspects to it. You can choose among the three shapes of veils: round, hood, and square. –>
Hood veil – minimizes contact between the veil and the head and hair, so it offers excellent protection to your head and neck. However, if the design is off the hood can hang too low and obstruct the view in certain angles.
Round veil – provides a wide field of view and has plenty of space between the mesh and the head. Its design and breathable mesh provides excellent ventilation and help the beekeeper stay cooler on hot summer days.
Square veil – consists of a hardhat and mesh veil which are sold separately. The front mesh is quite spacious for sufficient view, and the side mesh allows good ventilation.
No matter what style you choose, we recommend selecting a suit where the veil zippers to the body of the bee suit. They are more secure than strings and elastic, plus easier to put on and take off.
It should be white because dark colors remind bees of predators encouraging them to attack even more. Bees usually avoid white clothes. Another reason to wear white is that most beekeeping activities are done during the summer. White clothes absorb less heat from the sun, helping you stay a little cooler.
Traditionally suits are made from a heavy cotton canvas, but nowadays you can also get ventilated suits. Ventilated bee suits are made from several layers of mesh which allows air to pass through. Choosing a ventilated bee suit will be a significant upgrade since they tend to get very hot. On very hot days the heat itself might prevent you from doing proper work on your hive, so good ventilation will greatly help you deal with it.
Since this bee suit is usually worn over your clothes, you should take the one larger than your body size.
They protect beekeeper’s hand while working with the bees. Opening the hive and moving frames can agitate bees and your hands are their first target. Because of that beginner beekeepers should always wear gloves, until they learn to recognize the signs of agitated bees. Because of materials used, gloves range from very thick and clumsy ones to thin and precise ones. Thicker gloves offer better protection against stings but are also more clumsy, which can result in some bees getting crushed. Thinner gloves provide lesser or no protection at all but are more precise. As you get more experience with your bees, you can choose thinner gloves and still not get many stings. –>
While harvesting honey some bees might drop to the ground, crawl inside your clothes and sting you. Beekeeper boots ensure that no bee can crawl up into your trousers and sting you. You should choose quality rubber because they are strong and will last a lot longer.
Every beekeeper knows that having a good quality bee suit helps significantly. Being a beekeeper you use your bee suit quite a lot, so being able to handle the heat while staying protected is very important. If you are not sure which bee suit you would like to get, find some beekeeping store and try out some suits. Take your favorite bee suit, and you are ready to hang out with the bees!
With advice from Suit Supply Vice President Nish de Gruiter.
A versatile four-season suit is a wardrobe staple, but it isn’t necessarily appropriate for every occasion. During the warmer months, suits made with summer-weight fabrics and breathable constructions are welcome substitutions for traditional tailoring. Though many retailers offer a few lightweight options for hot weather, respected made-to-measure and bespoke services can produce hundreds of different styles utilizing fabrics from mills around the world.
There are countless fabric colors and styles available in materials like wool, cashmere, silk, linen and cotton. Along with the type of fabric, the construction — whether the jacket is lined, half-lined or unlined — adds to the wearability of a suit in warmer climes. To make sense of it all, we talked to Suit Supply Vice President Nish de Gruiter. (His brand happens to offer the world’s lightest unlined suit.) So, before making your next purchase, refer to his simple tips on purchasing a summer-weight suit — you’ll look sharp and stay cool, no matter the situation.
Consider the location and occasion. Are you buying a suit for work, a wedding or something more casual? “If you go to a wedding, you want to make sure that your suit is half lined and that the fabric also holds its shape really well,” de Gruiter says, referring to destination-wedding linen styles. On the other hand, if you’re working in a warm climate, stay away from fully-linen fabrics. “It wrinkles quite a lot,” he notes.
If you appreciate the casual texture and breathable weave of linen, consider linen-silk blends or linen-woolen-silk blends instead. “Those things still have the feel of a linen suit and also they hold their shape really well,” de Gruiter says.
It’s all about the fabric weave and composition. For comfort in warmer climates, pay close attention to the weight and breathability of the fabric. For example, a hopsack fabric features a much looser weave than a jacquard or gabardine fabric. “That’s the reason we make a hopsack fully lined,” de Gruiter says. “It holds the shape a little bit better especially if you wear it everyday.”
While the lining of a jacket compliments the fabric, it should also reflect the occasion. “The office guy will be a bit more comfortable with a fully lined jacket so it doesn’t wrinkle that much and it holds its shape a little bit better,” he says. “But if you get travel fabrics, it doesn’t matter if you have a lining or no lining.” Versatile suits designed with those fabrics resist wrinkles and provide increased comfort (read: stretch).
Don’t forget about cotton. “One of the most overlooked fabrics in summer-weight suiting is cotton,” de Gruiter says. While it is commonly associated with wardrobe essentials like t-shirts, jeans and sweatshirts, it makes the perfect material for a warm-weather suit. It’s lightweight, it doesn’t require a lining and it doesn’t wrinkle as readily as linen.
Mind your shirt. When you invest in a lightweight suit for the warmer months, be conscious of the shirt you pair it with. De Gruiter sees many people opt for heavy twill or heavy oxford shirts, a choice that negates the positive features of the summer-weight suit. If you choose a suit based on feel and breathability, his advice is simple: “Make sure that your shirts are inline with that, too.”
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Tailor Thomas Finney narrows down just what you need to consider.
When it comes to getting your perfect, made-to-measure suit, knowledge is power. And no one knows what to consider more effectively than a tailor who makes those suits. In this case: Thomas Finney, the Brooklyn-based menswear designer with a background in custom suiting.
Finney’s own line, which he launched in 2016 after working at Thom Browne and Club Monaco, is the epitome of modern American styling. He knows how to attack a suit so it’s both classic, but infused with modern details that keep it fresh. But his biggest focus? Cuts and construction. Finney knows exactly what makes a custom suit custom—and he’s here to spread the knowledge.
We asked Finney what exactly first time custom suit shoppers should consider before investing. Here are his top 10 things to look for.
“Tailoring is not exclusive. A well-tailored suit can make anyone feel cool, confident, and sexy.”
1. When selecting a fabric, go with your gut. Its easy to be intimidated by the fabric selection process, but it’s important to listen to your intuition. When something feels right, it is right.
2. Consider natural trims. Horn, shell, and corozo buttons aren’t just more aesthetically pleasing than plastic, they’re also more environmentally friendly and resistant to damage during cleaning.
3. Select a lining that won’t make you sweat. Go for natural fibers, which will help to reduce static and heat, especially in the (ahem) trouser area.
4. Avoid glue at all costs. When it comes to structure, look for full-length canvas with a chest piece, pad stitching, and a hand-rolled lapel. Over time, glued interfacing will separate leaving your once-sharp suit looking sad.
5. Love your shoulders and ditch the pads. For a modern look, opt for a natural shoulder and sleeve head.
6. A crisp white shirt goes with everything. Seriously, everything.
7. The width of your tie should match the width of your lapel. If you’re looking to bring a little balance in your life, consider aligning these two dimensions.
8. Avoid tailoring that fits too tightly. There is a fine line between fitting properly and looking like you accidentally left the house in your little brother’s suit.
SHOP Prince of Wales wool seven-fold tie, $250, thomasfinney.com
9. The goal of a well-fitting trouser should be to lengthen your body. A narrow opening, long leg, and minimal break is an easy way to add visual height.
10. Tailoring is not exclusive. A well-tailored suit can make anyone feel cool, confident and sexy.
Looking to get a Finney suit? The made-to-measure lead time is 4-8 weeks, so anything ordered through Thanksgiving will be available before the Holidays.
Just like dress shoes, getting the right fit is paramount when buying a suit. These interactive graphics from Complex take the mystery out of buying a suit that fits, whether you’re looking for a single-breasted, double-breasted or three-piece suit.
One important tip when trying on suits is to forget about the ones where the shoulders don’t fit perfectly (the pads or edges should end at your shoulders). SuitSupply experts via Complex say that if the shoulders don’t fit, the tailoring will be more trouble than it’s worth.
Other gems of advice from these suit experts:
- When pairing ties with your suit, the width of your tie should correspond to the notch label.
- If the button is low on your suit, it can make your torso appear longer and also show off your suit and tie better.
- Don’t button the bottom button of your suit.
Hit up the link below for the interactive graphics with more suit-fitting tips, a few of which we’ve noted previously. The following graphic from the tailoring experts at Samuel Windsor is also worth a look.
WTF is a notch label…?
I think that should probably read notch lapel
Good advice, except for the guy’s pants being ridiculously short. Seriously, leaving an inch of space between the hem and shoe?? Are you trying to look like Steve Urkel? The back of the hem should finish just above the start of the sole of the shoe, no more, no less.
Agree, the other clue to length is the front pants crease about mid-shin should break as the hem rests on the front of your shoe. And the pants are skinny in style. A classic style would have been more generous in material, rather than this cigarette leg cut.
Also, this guys suit is just a bit tight and out of proportion for a classic look.
The jacket’s shoulders should be broader to match the side of his upper arms. The length of the jacket should also reach just to about where he would wear a ring on his middle finger. The jacket is too tight around his waist – you can see the creasing at the sides starting to form above his jacket pockets. The arms of the jacket match the shirt length however his shirt is too short in the arms and should rest at the top of his wrist – so the shirt and jacket sleeves need to both be 2-3cm longer.
The jacket lapel is on the narrow side to be a classic style but is more reminiscent of the current trend harking back to the 1960’s skinny fashion.
Overall the suit looks like the fitter/designer was trying to save money on material.
When investing in a suit, you generally want one that’s going to look great and last long — a real quality garment. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that cost is the best way of assessing this criteria, but price and quality are not always correlated. A suit might cost a lot because it comes with a famous or trendy label, and yet not actually be made all that well. Conversely, sometimes you can find a real steal on a suit that’s actually top-notch.
So how do you tell the difference?
Rather than just looking at the price tag, the authors of The Indispensable Guide to Classic Men’s Clothing recommend checking a suit for the 7 signs outlined above; at a glance, you’ll be able to know whether or not it’s a worthy addition to your wardrobe.
For more information on what some of the above terms mean and what to look for in buying a suit, check out these resources:
Lapels: Slight roll where they begin to fold back; Aren’t stiff, flat, wrinkled, or crimped.
Buttons: Made of natural horn, mother of pearl, polished brass, or ceramic.
Pockets: Lie neat and flat.
Fabric: Made from fine yarn and drapes naturally; Colors are true; Patterns defined.
Construction: Canvas rather than fused.
Coat Lining: Made with fine silk or rayon; Well-tailored, especially at the hem, where the lining is hung, folded, and pressed.
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Whether you’re replacing a worn out suit for work or attending an event that calls for you to wear a suit, it’s important that it fits you correctly as you want to look and feel the most stylish and sophisticated you can. Taking the time to measure yourself properly before purchasing a suit will save you time and money, as well as ensure you buy the appropriate size. With more than 25 years in the tailoring biz, Marc Darcy shares some tips on getting your measurements right.
Top tip: record measurements in both inches and centimetres so you’re prepared for both options when buying.
What’s a good fitting suit?
When you’re trying on a suit, you’re looking for a fit that looks good in your natural stance. This means standing up straight with your arms relaxed at your side – you should also pop on the the kind of shoes you’ll be wearing with your suit. When you’ve got it on, you should be looking for a good fit in the following areas:
Your jacket collar should rest against your shirt collar without any significant gaps. A loose fitting jacket is easy to spot as there will be a gap at the back of your neck. A tight collar is a little more tricky to spot but not impossible – when wearing the jacket, turn from side to side in front of a mirror and look for any bunching or folding at the back of the neck.
A suit that fits your shoulders well should lie flat with the seam starting at the top of your shoulder and trace the length of it. The sleeve should begin at the point where your arm meets your shoulder. Anything that hikes up your shoulder bone or dangles down your arm is considered a poor fit.
When you’re wearing a suit jacket or blazer while standing, you should have the jacket buttoned once. This means that while you’re trying on a blazer, you should make sure that you’re able to close the jacket over your body. When you’re buttoning your jacket, you should check to see if the two sides meet neatly with a smooth finish.
In terms of length, a good suit jacket or blazer should fall past the waist and drape over the top of your bottom’s curve, anything beyond this is a poor fit. The hands can be used as a guide, which is why it’s useful posing in a relaxed stance when trying on a suit. The hem of your jacket should stop around the middle of your hand – where the fingers meet the palm.
A good rule to follow when wearing a blazer with a shirt is to have half an inch of shirt visible at the wrist – although there is no need to be too obsessive with this rule. Ensuring the seam where the cuff joins the sleeve is not showing or the jacket sleeve isn’t completely hiding the shirt will be enough.
Well-fitting trousers should have a smooth drape over the shape of your bottom and lie loosely with your underwear without pulling tight around your bum or draping down your thighs. A bad fitting trouser can be identified by either wrinkles under your bum cheeks for a fit that’s too tight or a loose, or a U-shaped sag on the back of your thighs for a pair that are too big.
A trouser break is the small wrinkle that’s caused by your trouser cuff hitting the top of your shoe. This should only be one subtle wrinkle, so too many creases indicates trousers that are too long, while no wrinkles at all means you’ve got a pair that are a little on the short side.
Measuring your body
Checking your collar
If you’re buying a shirt to go with your new suit, you’ll need to measure your neck by placing the tape around the bottom of your neck – where your collar would normally be.
Measuring your chest size
To determine your chest size, you need to measure the widest part of your torso – this is just under your arms and across the chest. When you’re measuring, it’s important you don’t hold your breath as you could end up with a blazer that’s tighter than you intended. Also, it’s important to make sure the tape measure is snug and not tight around your body.
Determining your height
You need to measure your height to determine whether you should get a suit that is short, medium or long. This, together with your chest measurement, will tell you which suit will be best for you. For example, men under 5’7” with a chest measurement between 36 and 46 inches should opt for a short suit, while men between 5’7” and 5’11” will need a regular suit. Men who are six feet or taller will need to buy a long suit.
Measuring your sleeve length
Most suit jackets are fitted using your chest size and height, but it can be useful measuring your sleeve length if you have different proportions. To measure your sleeve length, run the tape from the shoulder to about two inches below the wrist.
Working out your waist size and seat
When you’re working out your waist size, you should first lean to the side to find your natural crease. You should then measure around your waist at this point, making sure to keep the tape comfortably loose by keeping two fingers between your body and the measuring tape. This will allow a little bit of extra breathing room when you sit down in your suit pants.
Finding the widest part of your hips, place the measuring tape around, again ensuring it isn’t too tight or loose.
Finding your leg length
To find your leg length, you’ll need to measure your inseam and outseam. To get the most accurate measurement, you should wear a fitted pair of pants to get the most accurate measurement and stand with your legs about a foot apart. You’ll also need to recruit somebody to help you with this measurement.
When measuring your inseam, you should start from the crotch and run the tape to the bottom of the shoe – this will ensure your pants won’t be too long or short. For your outseam, run the tape from your belt-line to the side of your foot when wearing shoes.
Once you’ve purchased a suit, you may find that you need to make slight adjustments to get that perfect fit. A professional tailor will be able to help you make alterations to any suit.
How To Choose A Suit You Can Wear After The Wedding
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Guys, let’s face it: When it comes to weddings, it’s all about her. From the rehearsal dinner to the reception to the exotic honeymoon locale, we’ve got little say. And then, of course, there’s the dress — perhaps the only thing anyone cares about. After all, even if the salmon is bland, the bridesmaids are drunk and the band plays “Sweet Caroline” a few too many times, everyone will look back and think about that dress. So what’s in it for us? In short, not much unless you select your suit wisely and squeeze it for all it’s worth. Lucky for you, we know just how to do that.
Choosing Your Wedding Suit: What You Should Know
Purchase – don’t rent
Most men go the rent-a-tux route. And we wouldn’t totally blame you for it either, considering that you probably plan on wearing the darn thing for just a few hours. But this isn’t your high school prom. So you can scrounge for your scrapbook or take our word for it: rented suits never fit properly and always look cheap. Not to mention the fact that someone else (in fact, many someone elses) wore it on their special day. Break the mold and buy.
Quit the corporate culture
You should look like you’re getting married, not giving a PowerPoint presentation. Suiting up in something new rather than a rental or boardroom leftover is a first step, but it’s far from the only thing that will keep you out of the office. Go black, three piece, and shell out somewhat more than you may be used to. We guarantee it’ll pay off.
Say something with the fit
You may be tempted to break out the bells and whistles. This day, after all, is only supposed to come around once. But despite your best instincts, your energy and hard earned money is better spent on tailoring. An inexpensive but impeccably cut suit will look like a million bucks. The same can’t be said for a pricey, ill-fitting one.
Form follows fabric
A tailor’s nip and tuck can only go so far. Without a fine fabric to lay the foundation, it’s tough to construct a winning wedding suit. A slouchy, shapeless blend will leave you looking, well, slouchy and shapeless. A weighty wool, on the other hand, will do just the opposite.
How To Wear Your Wedding Suit Post-Wedding
Funny thing is, with all the fabrics and fits, picking your suit often takes longer than the time you’ll actually spend wearing it. But, as promised, there are a few things you can do to maximize mileage. Here are some ways to make sure the suit you choose can be worn well after your wedding day is over.
Ditch the vest
Sure, it’s the easiest way to swi tch up a three piece, and you’ll gain a new weekday work suit in the process. We just recommend reserving it for special days when you need to play boss and bust balls. Pair it with a red, purple or light-blue knit tie from Drake’s London . The knit will lighten up the mood, but it’s really the color that counts. Remember: The suit is already black, and you don’t want to look like you’re going to a wedding again, or worse, a funeral.
Add the vest
While your workweek may be saturated with suits, we’re willing to bet your weekend is of the jeans and tee variety. Throw on the vest with slim-cut, dark denim (like this indigo resin rinse from J Brand ), a solid white V-neck from Uniqlo and sleek black sneakers by Lanvin . Just make sure to keep the vest open and the shirt fitted but not skin tight. Otherwise, you’ll come off like you’re trying too hard.
Jerry-rig the jacket
Take the jacket and use it as a blazer. Yeah, yeah, we know you’ve heard this one before. But take note: The jacket should be trim and tailored enough to survive on its own. It’s a rule that will help you find the right fit for your wedding suit and one that lends itself nicely to the tailored cut of Joe’s Brixton blue jeans and a Hugo Boss spread-collar button down long after the big day is over. For those extra special nights out, feel free to slip on that vest with the Tie Bar’s classic black skinny tie and a pair of patent leather lace-ups from Ferragamo .
Fly the trousers solo
Using the trousers with your regular run-of-the-mill button down for business-casual climes is fine by us. But you could really stretch your investment by pairing the pants with a crisp, un-tucked polo (we’re partial to this three-button pima pique from Theory ) and some cool kicks like Tods’ iconic driver in red suede .
In the end, all eyes will definitely be on her dress. But there’s no harm in stealing a few glances for yourself on that day and those blissful years beyond.
Shop online and find that perfect fit
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Finding that perfect-fitting suit can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, there are plenty of online stores out there that can take the pain out of suit shopping, providing stylish and easy-to-order options for a variety of budgets and personal tastes. Whether you’re looking for off-the-rack sizes or a made-to-measure fit, there are online stores for both.
Before you dive in, there are a few preliminary things to consider that can help you hone your search. The first is cost. Suits are typically considered high-end items, and prices go up into the thousands for designer styles. But we’ve kept our search to the average retail price range, which usually falls between $200 and $800, and have chosen the best-quality options in that range. If that still seems too expensive, keep in mind that it’s possible to find options for under $100 if you’re okay with making some compromises on quality. Suits at this lower price point are usually made from less-expensive and therefore less-durable materials, so they won’t last as long. They also tend to cut corners on craftsmanship and proper fit.
Speaking of fit, this is another essential consideration. Because you’re shopping online, you don’t have the benefit of trying on a suit right there in the store. Many off-the-rack retailers have return policies — and some even have “try before you buy” programs that deliver to your house — but it’s certainly more efficient to measure twice and buy once. Make sure you know your current measurements when you begin your search, especially if you plan on buying something tailored. Remember that you can always purchase an off-the-rack suit online and take it to a tailor to get the fit customized.
Lastly, it’s important to consider the style. Do you want a two- or three-piece suit? Slim or classic fit? Do you have a preference on lapels, vents (slits in the back), or material? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, look through the online stores we’ve gathered below and see what you like. Also consider where and when you’ll be wearing it.
With those things in mind, it’s time to dive in and find your perfect suit. Read on for our picks of the best places to buy one online.
Best Overall: Amazon
Amazon sells pretty much everything, including hundreds of men’s suit styles. They also have options for every budget, starting around $50 and going up to several thousands of dollars for luxury designer brands.
Some of Amazon’s budget suit brands include YFFUSHI, WULFUL, and Mage Male. Mid-range and high-end brands include Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Kenneth Cole, IZOD, DKNY, and more.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Nordstrom
Nordstrom’s website is a great resource for suits. While it is not known for low prices, it does have a reputation for well-made men’s clothing and solid customer service. They stand behind what they sell with a great return policy, provide an in-store tailoring service to get your suit perfectly fitted, and offer many high-quality brands that make suits that last.
If you live near a Nordstrom location, the in-store tailoring can be a great perk. And while the online store doesn’t offer a “try-before-you-buy” service, it makes up for it in brand quality and the option to visit a brick-and-mortar store.
Brands at Nordstrom include Nordstrom Men’s Shop, Armani, Ted Baker, BOSS, Bonobos, Topman, Peter Millar, Hart Schaffner, J. Crew, Hickey Freeman, and others.
Most Streamlined Shopping Experience: Men’s Wearhouse
Men’s Wearhouse is one of the largest high-end men’s clothing stores in the country, offering a wide range of suits for a variety of budgets (although they tend towards mid- and upper-range prices). Men’s Wearhouse also has frequent sales on its website, so there’s a good chance you can snag a pricier suit for less.
But we’ve chosen Men’s Wearhouse for its deep inventory and streamlined shopping experience. If you know what you want and would like to avoid combing through tons of different styles, the Men’s Wearhouse online store is perfect for you. It has all kinds of search filters to quickly find exactly what you’re looking for. There are standard filters like price range, color, and brand. But it also includes far more specific categories like season, care method, and even button color. If you have a specific kind of suit in mind, Men’s Wearhouse will help you find it in just a few clicks.
Buying a suit in Hong Kong can be just a little intimidating as you are bombarded with questions over buttons, lapels, and handwoven Italian fabrics and poked and prodded from every angle. But it doesn’t have to be like a day at the dentist. Follow our tips below to find out what you need to know before you buy a suit and what to expect once you get to the tailor in Hong Kong.
Choose Your Tailor Carefully
Hong Kong has an absolute slew of tailors. There are streets, malls, and whole districts filled by men with measuring tapes. As such, it’s a shoppers market, and there is no need to settle for anything other than first-class quality. Unfortunately, for every master stitcher, there is also a master at stitching people up, and rip-offs do happen (avoid tailors handing out leaflets on Nathan Road). Stick to reputable establishments by using our top tailor’s list or asking your concierge for advice.
Haggle, Bargain, and Beg
As we mentioned above, it’s a shoppers market, and you should shop around for the best price suit available. Tailors are desperate for your business so look for bonuses, discounts, and deals. Common deals include free shipping to your home country, 20% or more off when you buy two suits, and free shirts and ties. Most importantly, the first price you’re quoted in Hong Kong is usually a number plucked out of a hat and multiplied by fifty. The opening offer is just that, an offer. It should always be negotiated down, even in upmarket boutiques. If the tailor isn’t willing to negotiate, you should take your business elsewhere.
What’s Brad Pitt Wearing
If this is your first time buying a tailor-made suit, you may want to flick through the likes of GQ or Esquire first to see what sort of style you like. Tailors usually stock a collection of cuttings from magazines but these can be a little dated, so unless you want to look like an extra from the Bold and the Beautiful circa 1990s take a look at what’s in style.
Get a Feel For the Materials
There are a baffling number of materials to choose from; wool (the most popular), linen, flannel, polyester, Teflon, and on and on and on. It’s best to read up on the different types of materials before you hit the store, so you can decide what suit best suits your needs. For example, if you plan on traveling a lot, you won’t want linen (it crinkles when someone breathes near it) while wearing flannel can be like walking around with a rug thrown around you.
Welcome to Pop Culture Week! While you can always find us waxing poetic about the hefty overlap between fashion and pop culture, we’re dedicating the next five days to the subject of our favorite music, movies, TV, celebrities, books and theater, and how that all intersects with the fashion industry.
Pantsuits have not only been a dominant trend on recent runways (and red carpets and wedding aisles), but the power-dressing sets have also taken over both the big and small screens, from Cate Blanchett’s criminally chic suiting as thieving mastermind Lou in “Ocean’s 8” to Liza’s (Sutton Foster) sleek ice blue moment that helped jolt Charles (Peter Hermann) into getting his shit together on “Younger.”
“It was her way of basically saying ‘screw you’ to Charles and look at the real me,” says the TV Land show’s costume designer Jacqueline Demeterio. “‘I am a strong, 40-something-year-old woman who knows how to take care of business.’ That suit exuded strength and the color was so sensational — it was one of my favorite looks of the season.”
There is also the cast of millennials in media power-dressing for the jobs they want on “The Bold Type.” Kat (Aisha Dee) attended Paris Fashion Week in an ivory-and-black brocade Gucci suit that she likely borrowed from the Scarlet magazine fashion closet — either that, or she found an impossibly good deal on The RealReal. “It changes the way people look at you when you enter a room,” says costume designer Lisa Frucht, over the phone from Montreal, where she’s shooting the third season of the Freeform series.
Jane (Katie Stevens), Kat in Gucci (Aisha Dee) and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) nail PFW. Photo: Freeform
Whether you’re looking for a power look to help you lean in (and kick ass) at the office, a refined alternative to a dress or versatility for any occasion, you surely need a pantsuit for fall. But with so many styles and silhouettes out there — online and in-store — and at varying price-points, where to begin?
We asked the experts who are busy dressing your favorite career ladies on TV in pantsuits for various drama-fueled life events, and often on a deadline and a budget. In addition to Frucht and Demeterio, a few more costume designers shared their tips and tricks: Rebecca Hofherr, who dressed Lucy Liu in her fiery red suit in “Set It Up” and Dan Lawson, who regularly outfits a cast of name-taking (and trend-making) women on “The Good Fight” and “Instinct,” as well as IRL with his modern workwear line 35·DL.
Kelsey (Hilary Duff) in a Gabriela Hearst suit on ‘Younger.’ Photo: Courtesy TV Land
Find the right silhouette — for you.
Essentially, try on as many shapes, styles and fits as possible to figure out what jacket and trouser silhouettes work best for your body and make you feel comfortable and confident. Of course, there are key elements to note.
“The waist of the jacket has to hit the waistline in the proper place in order to avoid the suit overpowering and ‘wearing’ you,” explains Demeterio, via email. The shoulders are also indicators. For petite builds — like Hillary Duff, who wears tailored and often-printed suiting as book editor Kelsey — the costume designer avoids overly strong architectural shapes or hefty pads. But padding “could do wonders” if you have sloped shoulders.
But our bodies — and style preferences — are unique to us, so there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to finding the right suit proportions. “You’ll know when you know,” says Lawson. “Listen to your intuition a little bit.” Set aside time to try on as many suits as you can in person.
“Find a suit that makes you feel how you want to look,” writes Hofherr, via email, who also suggests venturing out of your comfort zone, perhaps with color, prints and different silhouettes. You never know until you try!
Carefully assess for quality.
Another reason to shop in-person: You can touch and study the pantsuit to make sure it doesn’t look or feel cheap, even if it is a budget buy. Lawson suggests first checking the tag for fabric info. Natural textures, like wool and silk, are ideal. Of course, that doesn’t mean polyester or otherwise synthetic blends are a bad thing. “Everybody wants a little stretch in their pants,” he says, because comfort is key — whether you’re running around to appointments, nursing an afternoon food baby at your desk or downing frosé at happy hour.
Check the inner workings and “bones” of the pieces, too, as lining tends to be an indicator of a quality suit. Also, move around in the suit to assess how well it holds it shape and drapes.
Scrutinize every last detail when shopping online.
We live in an online shopping universe, and many places to find cool, chic and affordable pantsuits exist via e-commerce. But “it’s tricky shopping online,” says Frucht. There’s a strategy behind the process, and costume designers — who are often on a tightly controlled budget or an overnight delivery deadline — know this all too well.
Ideally you’ve already tried on a bunch of suits in person to create a shortlist of styles and silhouettes that work best on you. Frucht prefers shopping on sites that offer the most information possible, starting with images of a model wearing the suit jacket and trousers together. (Many show the suit as separates.) She also visits e-retailers that offer as many views of the suit as possible (runway videos are a plus), as well as detail the size of the model wearing the suit for comparison, fabric info and exact garment measurements.
“Take out a tape measure and measure yourself,” she adds. “It cuts down on returns and it’ll help you understand the silhouettes moving forward.”
The 5 hallmarks of a good quality suit
Half the store seemed to be on sale. Buy one, get one free. 50% off everything. There is no limit to what the bargain-bin suit stores will do to earn your business. They do this because if they give you a good deal, they know you’re going to keep coming back. Know why?
Because with regular wear, you’re going to need a new suit within a couple of years once this one falls apart.
As a style writer, I always get asked for shopping tips from friends. My advice is always the same: Avoid. The. Sales. If price is a concern, go vintage. The next question I inevitably get asked is how do I tell if it’s a good quality suit. Here’s how.
1. The Fabric. Regardless of where you buy your suit from, fabric quality is vital. If the tag says anything about a “blend,” or has words like “polyester,” or “man-made,” run. Run away as fast as you can. Instead, the only words you want to see are “100% Wool” or better.
We won’t get into the Super numbers like Super 150s, but wool should be the baseline fabric of any suit. Next, you want to examine the type of yarn and where it’s from. Italy, France, England, the United States are all good options. Bangladesh, China, and other regions like it, and you’ll want to move on.
2. The Lining. A fused lining that’s held together with glue is about as bad as going for a $99 polyester suit. The cheapest quality suits will have a fused lining. The highest quality suits will have a full canvas or at least a half canvas.
3. The Stitching. The ability for mass-manufacturers to replicate what used to be hallmarks of a custom suit has never been greater. With that said, you still want to examine the quality of the craftsmanship and look to see how the suit comes together.
If you had heart surgery, you’d probably want to ensure that your surgeon did an excellent job closing you up. You’d want the doctor to use a high-grade material, so it didn’t rip open, and you’d want them to do a nice even stitch to avoid jagged scarring that makes you look like a war hero sewn up on the battlefield. The same goes for the way your suit is sewn together. Look at the quality of the stitching. Not just the actual material but the technique used and how it all comes together.
4. The Details. From the way the pockets come together, to the drape, the buttonholes, and the boutonniere loop. Each of these small details often have the biggest impact when it comes to how you look. Machine-sewn pockets aren’t as sturdy and will wear quickly when utilized. Stiff lapels without a slight roll are a hallmark of a cheap suit. Plastic buttons can break, and even horn buttons that use plastic anchors can fall off in the middle of your board meeting.
Small details are usually what the cheaper suits skip in quality. The hope is no one will notice, but believe me when I tell you people will absolutely notice if it causes your suit to start looking worn if buttons are popping off or the fabric is beginning to look shiny or ragged.
5. The Design. If you watched Hannibal and saw Mads Mikkelsen wearing a bold bespoke suit from Garrison and now you want one that’s similar, remember you are buying it based on aesthetics. If you’re going to purchase a beautiful rust colored suit with a distinguished check pattern, make sure it’s going to last.
Even if it’s a basic navy suit, the last thing you want is to leave the store with a great navy suit and have it look four shades of blue by next summer. Look at the design. How is it dyed? Is it even and are the colors vivid? Will they fade? Is the pattern perfectly done across the suit, or do they misalign where the fabric was cut? Bottom line: look closely and pay attention.
Bonus food for thought. Finally, trends are popular, but so are Big Macs and Budweiser. None of that means they’re any good. Although some of the best suits will follow trends and fast fashion, the best dressed men will stick with classics that will look good today, tomorrow, and twenty years from now.
And that’s why it’s so important to buy a high-quality suit over one off the sale rack. A great suit will last more than 20 years, whereas that cheap one will have to be replaced every few years. Do the math and tell me which is a better investment.
While we’ve already learned some tips for how to choose the best bathing suits to slim your figure, it’s not really that helpful if you can’t even get yourself to the store to start trying them on. This isn’t a scare tactic; for many women, it’s reality. The prospect of trying on teeny bikinis in front of a full-length mirror under fluorescent lights—and perhaps the prying eyes of the circling sales attendants—is enough to make even the bravest among us run for cover.
But, contrary to popular opinion, the experience doesn’t have to be a horrifying one. It can be pleasant, and—dare we say it!—even fun.
We, too, were skeptical, but an expert convinced us it’s possible. Audrey Jimenez, a style and fit expert at New York’s Upper East Side location of chic swim store Everything But Water, shared with us her tried-and-true tips for making a trip to the suit aisle a delightful experience. Check out her wisdom below!
1. Pick the right store.
“Shop where there’s good dressing room lighting, and where the fitting rooms are comfortable. Seek out stores that have sales associates who are truly experts in fit, which is much more likely at a store that offers swimwear year-round. Pick a shop where you will have access to a wide variety of brands and styles, and therefore a greater likelihood of finding a number of suits you love and work well for you. It’s most important that you feel confident. Your preferences should be your first thought, rather than those of your friend/boyfriend/husband or the latest fashion magazines.”
2. Carve out a good chunk of time.
“Most important is to choose a time to shop when you are not rushed and can really spend time finding the best fit. Plan to make swim shopping a luxurious investment in yourself, have patience, and be willing to spend the amount of time it takes to find the best suit for you. Think of it as an investment in comfort and style for the summer or your vacation. Expect to try on a number of suits, styles, and brands to get to the best suits for you, and allow a knowledgeable sales associate offer advice and guidance. Make time for swimsuit shopping when you can enjoy the experience. Think of it as a mini-break before your vacation or beach time.”
3. Don’t skimp on the undies.
“It should go without saying, but wear underwear–ideally a thin pair–or use a disposable pair provided by the store so that you can really gauge the fit of the bottom of the suit and the look of the legline.”
4. Give the suits a miniature test run.
“Move around the fitting area or take a walk through the store. Do the straps stay in the correct place? Are the legs riding up? Is it still comfortable after you’ve worn it for a few minutes? To make sure the top fits properly, lean over. Everything should stay in place. If not, try a larger size or different style.”
5. Consciously focus on stepping outside your comfort zone.
“Don’t get stuck in a style rut. Many women don’t veer once they have found a style that works. There are great styles for every body type, and swimwear evolves with new trends and styles. If you like to wear a one piece, try a tankini. If you like boy shorts, try a shirred skirted bottom. If you like black swimsuits, add a splash of color. The best fit for you might be different from what it was a few years ago or what you have in your mind’s eye, so have an open mind to what may work best for you now.”
6. You will wear a size larger in swimsuits than in dresses, so don’t flip out.
“Swimsuit sizing does not strictly correlate to dress size. You will likely wear a size larger than your typical dress size.”
7. When in doubt, go smaller.
“If choosing between a suit that fits more snugly or loosely, select the smaller size. Swimsuits expand when wet and the smaller size will hold you in better and provide additional support.”
Buying a pair of jeans online? Yeah, jeans seem like pretty safe territory. Buying a business suit online? Seems like a pricey uncertainty, unless you know what to look for.
Several of the tips in the suit-buying roundup put together by Dealnews you’re probably already aware of, like the importance of having accurate measurements before ordering clothing online, or making sure the store has a liberal return policy. Other tips are less obvious to the average consumer, like this bit of advice from fashion writer Michael Lubarksy:
“Many of those unknown names are actually made in the exact same factories of Valentino and Ralph Lauren,” Lubarsky says. Their design may be slightly different, but you’re getting similar workmanship if not the same fabric quality, he explains. A suit from a lesser-known designer can cost around $US200, a savings of more than $US1,000 from a well-known designer brand.
Aside from being willing to try a less-than-famous brand, the other important thing you can do is make friends with your local tailor. A nice suit picked up for a couple hundred can turn into a fantastic suit that looks like it was much more expensive with some minor work by a tailor. Have you ever bought a suit online? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments. Buying a Men’s Suit Online: Tips from the Experts [Dealnews]
Does anyone have online sites they’d reccomend for ordering a tailored e-suit?
Being an artist, i dont wear a suit too often. Since one of my kids was wanting to get married formally I had to bite the bullet. I thought I would take a chance and look on-line. I bought a fully fitted suit via ebay recently. It arrived a couple of weeks after I sent all my measurements. Nice suit, fits great and bargain to boot.
check out australiantailor.com.au
I’ve used George & King (www.georgeandking.com.au). Nice selection of suits and for a good price.
Had to self measure (they had videos to show you how), but turned out really well. Good fit and material.
It happens year after year: every single summer you get invited to a wedding and every single summer it gets uncomfortably hot. You could just keep wearing your regular office-friendly wool suit, sweat through it, send it to the dry cleaner, and repeat. Or you can buy a linen suit.
Here is the good news: There are linen suits all over the place right now, at every price and every cut, and they’re very good. Here is the better news: there are more reasons than ever to grab one. People are dressing more comfortably, but also more elegantly! People are consuming more sustainably! People are wearing suits because they actually want to! It’s time for the linen suit.
Before you scroll down or run off and buy your perfect linen suit, here are some thoughts on the best way to wear one. First, there might be a point in the dressing room, or when you decant your online order, where you doubt this whole thing. You’ll think of retired guys drinking mojitos on vacation. You’ll think of drunk idiots at the Kentucky Derby. You’ll think that this was a bad idea. Banish these images from your mind and instead of focus on the image of a rakish Italian street style star, or Seth Rogen on the cover of GQ. Imagine yourself as someone who is eternally on vacation, Moondog-style, instead of someone who only takes one once a year and then gets a sunburn.
Next, make sure your suit fits you well in the shoulders—which is the one feature of a suit that’s basically impossible to mess with—and, assuming it does, take it directly to the tailor. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing your suits baggy and easy or slim and tidy these days, it still needs to fit well. Linen loses its shape the moment you look at it. If it doesn’t look good at 8am, it’s sure as hell not going to look good at 8pm.
Finally, don’t turn into Jay Gatsby. Just because you’re wearing a linen suit doesn’t mean you need to go full “gentleman at a lawn party.” Unless you’re actually attending some grand outdoor event, you might just look like a rogue groomsman. Yes, lightweight suits look good with lightweight clothes. Yes, light colors look good with other light colors. But don’t lose your mind with vests, suspenders, and light pink ties. A simple crewneck T-shirt and some leather dress shoes usually does the trick. Wear a pinky ring and some ribbed socks if you want to be a little extra. Or jazz your suit up with one of those printed camp-collar shirts and a pair of canvas sneakers. Mojito-guy would never wear that.
Here, six linen suits you know you want. First one to wrinkle wins.
Trends come and go (and your mileage may vary), but here are the fundamentals.
Buying a suit off the rack can be a pretty simple process, but that doesn’t mean it’s as easy as finding your size (you do know it, right?) and throwing something on. There are several factors well worth considering if you want to really nail it. As we head into 2020, the modern suit is made with more variation than ever before. Hell, this decade saw the rise of Thom Browne’s signature suit that does not include pants, but shorts, and the rise of a looser, loucher take on the style . Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a no-frills, well-fitted, classic suit, these are the main components worth obsessing over.
And remember, a tailor can and should be your best friend. All men were created equal, but that doesn’t mean we’re all the same size. Though unfortunately we can’t all afford to go bespoke, the few slight tweaks a tailor can make are well worth their typically small cost.
Make sure the shoulder ends. with your shoulders. This is the first step for a reason. If the jacket you’re trying on is too big or small in the shoulders, put it back and find the one that does. Tailoring is a beautiful thing, but in terms of shoulders, it ain’t worth the squeeze (and is near-impossible).
Your flat hand should slip easily into your suit under the lapels when the top (or middle) button is fastened. If you put a fist in, the suit should pull at the button. Depending on your personal style, you can take a few liberties with this, but don’t go too far beyond this guideline in either direction unless you’re very sure of yourself (in which case, great!).
The top button of a two-button suit—or the middle button of a three-button suit—should not fall below your navel. And remember, in terms of buttoning, from top to bottom, on a three button suit: Sometimes, Always, Never. And on a two-button suit: Always, Never.
With your arms at your sides, your knuckles should be even with the bottom of your jacket. Again, there are always exceptions to the rules as trends come and go, but as a jumping-off point, it’s never a bad idea to make sure your jacket covers your ass (no, literally).
Jacket sleeves should fall where the base of your thumb meets your wrist. If you’re a watch-wearer, a tailor can take up the sleeve of your shirts and jackets a little more as to more adequately show off the goods, but generally speaking, this guideline sets you up nicely for achieving the next step.
See my vest, see my best.
- LAST UPDATED Thursday 16th January, 2020
- Benjamin Fitzgerald
EXPLORE THIS FEATURE
The waistcoat is a sartorial saviour. But unfortunately, its redemptive powers are too often forgotten or viciously snubbed. Well no more.
Its impeccable structure and clean lines flatter the masculine frame, whether you’re the skinny guy, larger gent or go-hard-or-go-home gym junkie. And it can be worn for a variety of occasions – both social and corporate. Its style and practicality made the waistcoat an easy top five suiting trend from Pitti Uomo. The Italians love it, and you should too.
Whether it’s tucked under a dapper suit jacket as part of a three-piece suit, or flying solo with jeans and a button up shirt, here’s how to do it right.
While so much of the Internet seems hell-bent on finding ways to keep you in ratty, coffee-stained sweatpants all day, menswear brands old and new are using that same space to bring perfectly tailored bespoke shirts and suits to your door while eliminating all the irritating parts of the shopping process—including the tailor.
–> Kyle Vucko, CEO and co-founder of Indochino.com, says the brand’s online custom shirt and suit experience grew from his desire to create a system where you could buy a made to measure suit without having to interact with anybody, and at a price you can afford.
Indochino’s clothing is fully customized with about a dozen measurements you can take with a friend. “We designed it for two clueless people to get measured. So you and your buddy, you and your partner or girlfriend…it just requires two of you and a tape measure.” And yes, they thought of that, too: “We’ll send you a tailor’s tape for free if need be.”
Six Steps for At-Home Measurement
Neck: Wrap the tape measure about an inch below your Adam’s apple, tight enough for a decent fit, but loose enough so you can still breath. Round up to the next half-inch.
Shoulders: Measure from tip of one shoulder to the other, across the top of your spine and at the base of the neck. The tape should follow your back’s natural curve.
Chest: Stand normally and comfortably (without flexing) and have your partner measure at the broadest part of your chest, inline with the nipples, leaving enough room to breathe.
Sleeve: Measure from the shoulder bone to the wrist bone. Simple.
–> Waist: While avoiding the temptation to suck it in, wrap the tape around your waist at the navel. Slide a finger between the tape and your body to allow some room. Then, buy a belt.
Inseam: Figure out where you want your pants to end, then lose your shoes and find a significant other (or true friend) to measure from your crotch to that specified point.
Simple, guided video segments on Indochino’s site show you how to take measurements, and warn you of the possible pitfalls, like sucking in your gut, flexing muscles, and not knowing the difference between your waist and hips. They can also suggest measurements based on algorithms: “We have over 120,000 customers, so based on your weight and height… we can get pretty close, and as you put in different measurements we get even closer.”
Original Stitch offers similar levels of customization, with the added benefit of a Pinterest-style community board that shows recent customers’ designs, so you can get ideas from other, like-minded guys hunting for their style from home.
If it still sounds like a job fit for expert hands, Hamilton Shirts’ bespoke experience mixes the old school approach of having to be measured in-person by a trained tailor with online customization that allows you to create shirts and suits to your exact size, shape, and specifications from scratch using their curated library of styles and fabrics.
“If you’re really going to deliver that quality product, it’s best done with somebody that has the judgment and the experience to guide you through it,” explains owner David Hamilton.
The system ends up being pretty infallible when you factor in easy returns and the fact that some companies will cover the cost of additional alterations once you receive your suit. They’ll also save your data so the next time you can just click and buy. “We’re really committed to making a great garment that fits you,” says Vucko. “We want you to be a customer for life.”
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With fewer independent tailors who have real experience these days, it leaves the style-conscious man at the mercy of the over-anxious clerk at the store. (And they are mostly eager to sell you what is on sale with as few alterations as possible!)
That is hardly the person you should defer to in matters of style or fit.
Well, here is the good news: The science of the correct fit for a suit is not as difficult as you may think. This is definitely something that can be learned.
Here’s how to determine your true fit for a suit…
While a man’s suit is made to fit a standard form, very few men can slip on a ready-made suit and find that it needs no alterations.
So, the more knowledgeable you can become about how your clothes should fit in relation to your body’s frame, the more likely you are to have a well-balanced, tailored result.
The following steps are what you should expect when being fitted for a suit and what you should request in order to leave with an elegant, tailored finish.
- Arrive well dressed. It sets the tone of your expectations from the start.
- Bring or wear a well-fitted dress shirt with correct sleeve length and collar height.
- Wear dress shoes with proper heel height for correct length and bottom width.
After you’ve selected your suit and slipped on the trousers and jacket, stand naturally in front of the mirror. (Don’t stand as if you are anticipating losing 10 pounds!)
The tailor should begin the suit’s fitting from the top and work down.
The Tailor’s Responsibilities:
For the jacket:
- The shoulder’s width or point-to-point needs to be wide enough to allow the jacket’s fabric to drape from the shoulder in an unbroken line down the entire sleeve.
- There should be enough fullness across the back and chest so the lapels lie flat without gapping open.
- There should be sufficient fullness over the shoulder blades for a slight break — extended up the back, starting at the bottom of the armholes. These slight breaks provide enough room for ease of movement and comfort.
- The collar should not stand away from your neck or have horizontal ridges below the base of your neck. If they appear, request that the collar be lowered by cutting away the excess fabric under the collar.
- If tension lines are visibly pulling across the shoulder blades, the back is too tight and must be let out.
- In order for the jacket collar at the back to hang correctly and look its very best, make sure that at least an inch of shirt collar shows above it.
- The waist should be comfortably suppressed to the natural frame of the body. If X-shaped lines appear on either side of the jacket’s fastened waist button, the waist should be let out.
- The back vents should hang in a straight line perpendicular to the floor. When buttoned, you should have enough room to sit down comfortably.
- The jacket sleeve should extend to where the wrist breaks with the hand. Short arms should allow for a 1/2-inch of shirt cuff to show. Long arms should allow 3/4-inch to 1-inch of shirt cuff to show. Details like this define the well dressed man.
For the trousers:
- Place them as high on your waist as comfortable. Placing pants on hips make the crotch hang too low and look sloppy. Plus, it spreads the pockets and pleats. Like the armhole of a jacket, the trousers’ rise should fit as high as comfortable in order to provide ease of movement.
- With pleated trousers, the hip and thigh must be full enough for the pleats to lie flat while standing.
- If trousers will be worn with braces (suspenders), the pants must be fitted with them. Trousers that will be worn exclusively with braces should allow for 3/4-inch to 1-inch more in the waist — so they can “suspend” from the shoulders.
- The length of the trousers should allow for a slight break on top of the shoe. When in full stride, your pants should be long enough to cover your socks and wide enough to cover your shoelaces.
- With plain bottom trousers, you should request a slant hem 1/2-inch downward from front to back so they remain at the heel when walking.
- Cuff size should be 1-1/2 inches for men under 5 feet, 10 inches, and 1-3/4 inches to 2 inches if taller than 5’10”.
Thankfully, independent tailors (quality tailors in better men’s stores as well as personal clothiers with sound professional advice) can still be found. When they are found, they should become your trusted companion.
I’ve been in the men’s clothing business since 1991. My specialty is custom-tailored suits and shirts, as well as men’s accessories.
A tradition unlike any other.
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Share All sharing options for: ACC football power rankings: Does your coach know how to buy a suit?
College football coaches are judged primarily on whether or not they can coach — a fair metric that seems reasonable. However, there are other ways to evaluate a coach as well, including whether or not they know how to buy (and wear) a suit well.
For the fifth year in a row, TNIAAM is ranking ACC football coaches by whether they know how to buy and wear a suit. In the first edition, we judged khaki fit, and in iterations since, we’ve looked at slacks, more slacks and finally, the full suit.
Now that the ACC has posted photos of both the Atlantic and Coastal coaches in attendance at media days, we can finally know this year’s answer:
Does your coach know how to buy (and wear) a suit?
This year, the ACC took photos of just the coaches again, so that’s a relief.
And the Coastal:
And now onto the rankings:
1. Willie Taggart, Florida State Seminoles (LY: 1)
Taggs started strong last year, and came back to defend his title in year two. The all-black suit is a strong statement, and it contrasts well with the patterned tie. It’s a slimming, clean look that makes up for what appears to be some bunching at the bottom of the pants.
2. Dave Doeren, N.C. State Wolfpack (LY: 8)
Doeren’s moved up over the years, and brings his A-game this time around with a subtly pinstriped dark (is that blue?) suit and a white pocket square that may not seem all that impactful at first, but actually adds some class to the whole affair. Brown shoes with it is also a quality touch.
3. Dave Clawson, Wake Forest Demon Deacons (LY: 10)
Clawson rarely tries to do too much at these events. He always wears a slim-fitting suit that plays off Wake’s general shade of gold in the tie, and this year’s no different. The gray suit allows the tie to pop this time around.
4. Dave Cutcliffe, Duke Blue Devils (LY: 5)
Another mover over the years, Cutcliffe started off wearing old guy suits, and has since upped his game considerably. In 2019, he leads the Coastal with a dark black suit and a patterned blue tie that stands out even more against the dark backdrop.
5. Dino Babers, Syracuse Orange (LY: 4)
Admittedly, Dino took a bit of a risk this year, with a plaid light blue suit jacket, gray pant and a patterned tie — plus brown shoes (with white soles no less). Yet, this combination exudes some confidence and plays loud while not being glow in the dark.
6. Scott Satterfield, Louisville Cardinals (LY: NR)
In his first ACC Football Kickoff appearance, Satterfield’s already done a far better job than Bobby Petrino, though that’s also not saying much. His suit’s a good black, with a nice sheen to it. And wearing the red tie for the Cardinals is just sensible in year one.
7. Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia Cavaliers (LY: 12)
Still don’t get why Bronco straddles the chair in these photos or why he keeps the jacket buttoned while seated. But in any case, the suit fits reasonably well — though maybe lacks some arm length. It’s tough to tell in this photo, but certainly seems like it could use another inch on the sleeve.
Syracuse has high expectations for themselves and they’re ready to prove themselves in 2019 #ACCKickoff #OITNF | @ACCFootball, @CuseFootball pic.twitter.com/w4AVLvO62h
8. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech Hokies (LY: 13)
The maroon tie gets a nice pop against the blue — a unique shade itself. Overall, it looks authoritative but not harshly. It’s a good suit that doesn’t try to do too much and seems well-tailored.
9. Steve Addazio, Boston College Eagles (LY: 3)
Will commend Addazio for some well-fitting pants. No bunching, look like a slim fit — definitely a positive. Just don’t know about the red jacket, which looks too long and also stands as too much of a contrast to the pants. It’s a look some coaches can pull off. He just may not be one of them.
10. Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh Panthers (LY: 7)
Narduzzi’s done worse. But the wide leg looks TOO wide, and there’s a decent amount of bunching going on at the bottom of the pants. Going light tie and light-colored suit also seems like a mistake that washes him out significantly.
11. Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (LY: NR)
Dammit, Geoff. This had so much potential, and the blue/gold contrast is great. But. you didn’t wear socks, taking the torch from Larry Fedora in that department. Honestly, this might have been the top-ranked look if not for that and the fact that maybe the jacket needs a bit more length in the sleeves.
12. Dabo Swinney, Clemson Tigers (LY: 14)
At least he’s not last this year. While the orange/blue combo works here, Dabo still doesn’t appear to know how to get a pair of tailored pants. I don’t think it’s just the way he’s seated, either. They simply look like they’re too wide given that he’s a slimmer guy.
Mack’s jacket looks a bit small (sleeves and across the front) — perhaps in part because he left it buttoned. Also, the gray pants look a bit wrinkled and the sneakers don’t necessarily match the rest of it either. If Mack prefers the sneaker sole for comfort, that’s fine. But there are better ways to pull that off (see: Dino).
14. Manny Diaz, Miami Hurricanes (LY: NR)
The jacket’s mostly fine, but Manny, the pants. wrinkled, too long, bunching at the bottom, pleats for days. There’s something extremely unfortunate about the bottom half of this suit that makes it look like he bought off the sale rack at JoS. A. Bank and didn’t even bother to have them take measurements.