10 Tips for Choosing The Perfect Suit
The suit is perhaps the single most important garment in any man’s wardrobe. It’s also the most misunderstood. Whilst many men wear suits daily for work, not everyone has their head around its details and intricacies.
Whether it’s an inappropriate fit, the wrong fabric, or the lack of attention to the buttons and lapels, we still see amateur mistakes on even the best looking guys. So HommesStyler enlisted the help of Ivan Lim, Founder of Vinspi Tailored Suits Online, to help decipher the 10 key tips to choosing a killer suit.
We’ve split this piece into 2 parts. Here is the first part… part two is coming in a few days! Thanks to Vinspi, you’ll also have the chance to win a free custom suit. Details at end of post.
Suit Tip #1: Getting the right fit
Possibly the single most important part about a suit is that it fits well. Too many men settle for suits that don’t fit their body shape, resulting in a look that does little to flatter their physique.
Lim says there are a few key areas to look out for when checking if a suit fits well.
“Always make sure the shoulder fits well because this is very hard to alter. You want it to sit comfortably, not too small to constrict movement and not too wide that it swallows your shoulders,” Lim advises.
“Your chest and waist areas need to be tapered without being too tight – this creates shape around the mid-section. When you button the top button of your suit there should be a slight pull on the fabric and nothing more.”
Of course, we highly recommend that you go for a tailored suit whenever you can. The resulting cut will be far better than any suit you buy off the rack. Standard rack sizes work on averages of men’s bodies, and because your mum was right, you are special, investing in a tailored suit can do no wrong.
Suit Tip #2: Know your Fabrics
The most popular fabric for suits is wool. Warm in winter and relatively cool in summer, woolen suits are suitable all year round. It absorbs sweat which helps control body odor during the hotter seasons, and in winter, it retains heat. Wool is well known for its lush and comfortable feel on the skin making it the “go to” fabric for the majority of men.
Other materials for suits include Linen and Cotton. Both are lightweight and breathe well, ideal for hot weather. Like wool, cotton absorbs sweat away from the body making it comfortable to wear when the sun is blazing. Linen, in particular, has a very breezy look that is great for casual jackets.
But Lim has a word of warning on cotton and linen.
“The lightweight nature of the fabrics make them unsuitable for winter because heat escapes quickly, making it hard to stay warm. Both materials also crease easily which can look untidy around the elbows and knees making it inappropriate for the office or formal events,” says Lim.
He says that a rule of thumb is to go for wool but if you want something more casual, or suited specifically to warm weather, then Cotton and Linen are great choices.
Suit Tip #3: Choosing Buttons
Two button single breasted suits are, by default, the popular choice for men. The two button suit is a classic and works with almost every body type, so its popularity has remained strong throughout the years. Two button suits have a lower top button, which elongates the lapel. This style makes the physique appear longer, which is especially ideal for men with a shorter torso. A classic two button suit is a timeless style that every man should have.
Three button suits are very 60’s in style and have had moments of resurgence through the years, but largely remain in the shadows of it’s two button cousin. Men who are very tall normally opt for three buttons because the top button sits higher up their torso, making it more comfortable to wear. On the same token however, the higher top button makes the lapel shorter, causing the jacket to look constricted on short to average height men. It is hard to find men wearing three buttons but if you do enjoy standing out and don’t mind something different, this will be our choice.
Of course, there’s the one button suit. Lim, who’s fond of the style, says that whilst it was previously reserved for tuxedo and black tie suits, over the years the style has crept into everyday wear
“If you have a slim build, the one button can be sleek and stylish. But the single button can also seem a little too flashy for everyday office wear. If you are looking for something you can wear on the weekends or on special occasions, the one button suit is your ‘go to jacket’,” says Lim.
“Otherwise, be sure to have a good collection of two and three button suits before going to the one button option since it’s not as versatile.”
Suit Tip #4: Single Breasted vs Double Breasted
Single Breasted Suits
Take a look around and chances are you’ll be surrounded by a sea of single breasted suits. This style is definitely the norm for the modern man because it works for most body types with its clean lines and classic cut. Less material on the jacket also makes the suit seem less bulky compared to a double breasted version.
Lim says that the single breasted suit is an everyday choice since it’s versatile.
“A well cut single breasted suit accentuates chest strength, elongates the physique and slims through the mid-section to create a look that oozes class. For the everyday man, you can’t look past the single breasted suit.“
Double Breasted Suits
While most people deride the look for being old fashioned, the double breasted suit has undergone a modern revamp. The cut of the double breasted suit has become more slim while the length of the jacket has gone up to give a cropped look. Men with a larger build in the upper torso and strong shoulders should consider a double breasted suit since it balances out body proportions. The style will also stand out from the crowd and it matches well with casual jeans and chinos.
Suit Tip #5: Lapel details
Notched lapels, sometimes called the step lapel, are the safest choice on suits. They work well on any occasions which is a big reason why most men prefer it over the peaked lapel.
Having said that, peaked lapels, previously worn only on formal occasions, have recently become mainstream. Slim width peaked lapels are now being sewn onto everyday suits and even casual varieties. Even though double breasted suits always require a peaked lapel, this style is definitely having a resurgence among men who appreciate the finer details on their suits.
Lim adds a little tip when it comes to lapels.
“Beyond just the type of lapel, many men forget about the lapel width. Most modern suits have slimmer lapels, although bold and wide lapels are making a comeback. As a rule of thumb, if your suit lapel width sits between 2.5 – 3.25 inches you should be fine,” says Lim.
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And because Vinspi loves us, and we love you, we’re offing the chance for you to win a free custom suit. All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell us what’s the most difficult part of buying a suit. Is it finding the right fit? Too expensive? Too spoilt for choice? All you need to do is leave a comment below.
How to Win Your Free Suit
- Leave a comment below telling us what you struggle with most when it comes to suit shopping. Can’t get the right fit? Nothing matches your style? Too expensive?
- Get a 2nd entry by tweeting this post with the hashtag #tailoredsuits. Feel free to include @HommeStyler or @VinspiAU,
- This competition is only open to Australian residents.
- Prize value is $499. The winner will receive a special discount code to redeem on the Vinspi store.
One winner will be selected randomly. Giveaway ends 15 March 2012.