Know why you’re buying a suit.
Is it for everyday office wear, an important interview or a summer wedding? Knowing where you will be wearing the suit is the first indication of what you should be buying.
Know what look you want.
First of all, you need to decide on a cut. Single-breasted suits are the default style and acceptable for any occasion, whilst adding a waistcoat can give the look a smart new dimension. Double-breasting has had a comeback, but you need to ensure the jacket is cut shorter and wider to get the right balance.
Fabric is of the upmost importance. Heavier wools and mohair are suited to colder months and popular for everyday wear because of their long-lasting durability. When blended with other materials, they give a slight sheen to a suit that looks particularly sharp.
Twills, herringbone and tweed evoke quintessential British heritage and give a unique, statement-making look ideal for outdoor events. Silk and cashmere blends are a luxury option best saved for special occasions, whereas linen and cotton suits are ideal for the spring and summer, working with casual separates like a plain white T-shirt.
In terms of colour, darker shades of black, navy and grey are versatile for both your working and formal wardrobes. Linen and cotton suits often work in lighter colours – beige, blues and silvers work well in sunnier climates.
Patterns can work well if the fabric is not as textured. Pin stripe is a classic
suit style and often associated with a smart business look, whilst a Prince of Wales check is currently in trend.
Know your measurements.
Getting the fit right is the most crucial part of buying a suit and the chances are, if the jacket doesn’t fit in the shoulders, it isn’t going to fit anywhere else. So, it is essential to get your measurements right from the start.
Trouser sizes are often determined by the jacket size when buying a full suit, so always prioritise that as trousers are much easier (and cheaper) to tailor. You need to measure across your chest in inches accurately, as this will be the suit sizing.
Know about the little things.
When it comes to suiting, it’s all in the details and knowing about the
smallest things can really make a difference.
From the top, a notch lapel has a step effect and is perhaps the one you are most familiar with. A peak lapel features mainly on double breasted jackets, and is having a bit of a comeback in recent years for its old-school refined style.
Reverse side vents are very European and considered a little more suave than a classic centre vent. Both are much more forgiving and allow for
more movement than a ventless jacket, which is now slightly dated and less flattering.
Traditionally, your jacket should reveal a half-inch of your shirt cuff and, as a closing tip for keeping your suited look gentlemanly slick, always have it fastened – the top button if it’s a two-button suit or the middle if it’s three.