Men Suit Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Know
Men suits are one of the most important formal basic wear in any men’s wardrobe. either you want to buy men suit from local market or amazon it is very important to chose perfect size and fitting.
Every man should have at least one suit. A perfect suit matters a lot on persons personality. There will always be times when we need to be formally attired like attending a formal occasion or a job interview where we cannot do without a proper suit.
Suits projects the man’s confidence and power in business as well as stylish masculinity during formal situations. It promotes your better looking with impressive style.
There is a choice of either having your suits tailored or getting it off-rack.Tailored suits are individualized and customized specifically to fit at its best for each man’s different body frame.
All these come with a higher price attached. So it is important to know the basics in the making of a suit to make it look best on you.
Off-rack suits, on the other hand, are readily available and possibly designed with the latest trend in mind. However, it might not be able to fit you as perfectly since it is produced base on the frame of an average man.
Buy anyone with full confidence, All is well.
Mass-produced off-rack suits usually cannot match in quality against individualized tailored suits. As such, off-rack suits are usually not priced as highly compared to a tailored suit.
There are a few types of suit jackets available:
1) Single-breasted suits
These are the basic style of most suits. The front buttons on the suits are in a single straight row. There is a choice of two or three buttons for single breasted men’s suits. It is specially designed to wear on some special occasions like as interview and marriage.
2) Double-breasted suits
These are the basic style of most suits. The front buttons on the suits are in a single straight row. There is a choice of two or three buttons for single breasted mens suits.
3) Sports Jacket and Blazers
These jackets are more for a “dress casual” look. They can be worn with jeans or casual pants. Usually sport jackets are made of Herringbone or worsted Tweed fabrics which have more informal fabrics and patterns. Blazers are derived from sport jackets and have a more informal cut and design than suit jackets. Traditionally, most blazers are navy blue single-breasted jackets.
Having good knowledge on the basics in the makings of a suit will help you in making better choice of your purchase for both tailored and off-rack suits.
Important Tips on Buying Men’s Suits
Before buying mens suits, it is good to note the frequency that you wear your suit. Some of these are wearable on multiple occasions and even for daily wear but, some of these are designed for some specific purposes like as wedding, party and interview. If you wear suits to work often, then it would be advisable to have a greater number of suits. This allows rotation of your suits during the week. It is important that each suit can have at least one day’s rest after wearing to avoid it from wearing out fast.
More men’s suits also provide more option of trying out various styles and unusual colors for your suits. In contrast, having smaller number of suits in your wardrobe would mean that it is safer to keep the suits classic in designs and colors.
What is my brand and suit color?
Buying men’s suits should be based on one that provides the best versatility in blending to your lifestyle as well as frequency and occasions of wear. For example, if you are buying men’s suits specifically for attending certain evening function, then avoid wearing light colored suits. It would be advisable to buy darker shades for the night. And some good choices would be navy blue or charcoal gray ones.
Buying mens suits should be based on one that provides the best versatility in blending to your lifestyle as well as frequency and occasions of wear. For example, if you are buying mens suits specifically for attending certain evening function, then avoid wearing light colored suits. It would be advisable to buy darker shades for the night. And some good choices would be navy blue or charcoal gray ones.
Some basic types of men’s suit
Navy Blue Suits
Through the right mix and match with dress shirts, a navy blue suit can be worn quite often during the week and you can still look different each time. Navy blue generally has easy affinity with many basic colors like white, light blue, dark blue, gray and even purple dress shirts. These colors can be blended within any combination of patterns (check, fine stripes, bold stripes) on the dress shirt and make your navy blue suit look refreshing each time.
Gray suits would generally fall from dark gray to medium gray to charcoal gray. These are the safer shades of gray where it suits both day and night as well as summer or winter wear. Gray suits projects an image of authority, stability, and professionalism.
A popular fabric of choice for gray suits has been flannel. But when buying mens suits, we should consider possibility of one that can be worn year-round. So it would be advisable to have a lightweight worsted flannel gray suit instead of heavy woolen flannel.
Pinstripes are fine line or stripe that can be straight or broken and runs vertically down the suit. Pinstripe suits are known for its classic styling that is timeess and definitely worth investing for the long term.
Chalk stripe are like chalk drawn vertically on a suit which is thicker than pinstripes. The definition of chalk stripes are usually less pronounced than pinstripes. Chalk stripe suits can give a more dressy effect.
Both the pinstripe and chalk stripe suits are worn often in the business and strongly favored by many boys in the financial industry, like the bankers and stockbrokers. Needless to say, these two styles give an impression of someone professional with authoritative status. To create a more fashionable look, there can be a play of colors for the stripes over the usual charcoal gray or a medium gray fabric.
I personally prefer the chalk stripe suits for its subtle and yet stylish feel over the pinstripes that can give a conservative and strict image.
Buying mens suits can also break from the basics if you choose to be different and dare to stand out from the usual. Here are some suits I would definitely recommend for a refreshing touch:
The windowpane suits are an obviously understated in mens fashion. It gives an extremely stylish and dressy effect that differentiates greatly from the usual stripe suits.
Instead of a squarish windowpane, you can settle for a rectangular formation that provides an elongating effect for a men’s body as well. Windowpane suits also allow harmonious combinations with more patterns than the usual plaid suits.
Windowpanes are very suitable for spring time. Instead of going for a pronounced thick pattern, you can try one a charcoal gray fabric with subtle violet chalk rectangular in shape.Or alternatively a light gray suit with pastel blue windowpane rectangular pattern.
A color avoided by many men and deemed as not worth a timepiece suit. However, I beg to differ as this color gives an earthly tone and also a down-to-earth feel. It deviates from the predictable “safe” colors like gray and navy where we should have become overdosed with by now.
Brown suits can be easily matched with earth tones from yellow to gold to tan colors. Depending on the tone of your brown, combination with maroon, cream, or even navy blue is also possible.
Buying men’s suits can range from classic styles to trendy ones depending on your wardrobe needs, your desired styling, and importantly, one that suits your personality.
The classic styling of Brooks Brothers Men’s Suits is the most well-known in the world. They have dressed many famous actors, presidents of America, and even ambassadors around the world. Brooks Brothers’ amazing high quality tailoring has been around for 183 years. Brooks Brothers is about styling and gives men the right choice for a classic suit.
If you have the interest of buying men’s suits that are fashionable and trendy, then Yoox is your best choice. It has men’s suits by many famous designers such as Prada, Gucci, Dolce Gabbana, Custume National Homme, and Romeo Gigli. It offers latest trends for the season and therefore each size has very limited quantities available like any other designer boutiques.
Buying men’s suits can be quite an experience since you will be investing probably the most expensive item in your wardrobe. Besides the suit itself, the mix and match with your dress shirts within is important to bring out the best of the suit and yourself.
Learn About the Types of Men’s Suits Fabrics
Different men’s suits fabrics define how the overall suit will hold up, feel, and look. Knowing the background of different men’s suits fabrics will produce you with a better knowledge of which one to choose for your tailored or off-rack men’s suits.
The Non-Wool Fabrics Linen
A light and soft material used mainly during summer. It gives a very relaxed tropical feel. However, linen wrinkles easily and tends to fade when prolonging exposure under the sun. It is also a material that stains easily and needs constant cleaning.
One of the men’s suits fabrics for the summer due to its airy feel allowing your skin to “breathe.” It has a lovely feel to the skin since it is made from natural fiber. However, it has the same problem with linen in that it creases easily. It makes your suit look crumpled but probably not as much as a linen suit.
This is a synthetic fabric and can feel like natural fiber fabrics, but it can trap body heat. So you can feel quite uncomfortable wearing it for long hours. The advantage of polyester is that it does not wrinkle and its cost is a lot cheaper than the natural fibers.
Another synthetic fabric which is has fibers finer than natural fibers, and hence its name. Due to its finer fibers, it can “breathe” better than polyester and lighter weight than natural fibre fabrics. It is not penetrable by liquid or water, but the spaces between yarns are enough to allow moisture vapor to pass through. One of the lowest costing men’s suits fabrics.
My preference for men’s suits fabrics would be the natural fibers instead of synthetic ones. Giving your body “breathing” space is important to make the wearing experience comfortable. It also avoids perspiration retention, and so there is a lesser chance of leaving your suit with an odor.
Making Sense about Men’s Suits Details
Knowing about men, suits details and playing around with it can create a man’s individuality and personality. Let’s go through the various details before showing you how to play around with it especially when you are getting your suit tailored made.
Stitching is the foundation for holding up all the parts of men’s suits. It is also the hallmark of quality in the work of a tailor or designer. We should expect neat and firm stitching on all parts of men’s suits.
The buttons and button holes are good places to inspect the quality of stitch. There should be several rounds of stitch at the button holes without uneven finishes.
As a note, hand-stitching is the best, but its finish is usually uneven compared to machine-stitch.
Interesting stitching called pic or pick stitching has been used on suits. It threads the outlines on certain areas of the suits.
These stitching are visible even using the same color as the suit. It can be hand-stitched or machine stitched, but the latter can still give a feel of hand-stitching finish.
A lining intends to provide comfort for the wearer. It also covers unsightly men’s suits details like seams and fuses that hold the suit together.
The lining helps to avoid contact of these seams and fuses from the body as well as cover up these unsightly sewing. Men’s suits can be “fully lined” (i.e., line 3/8 of the suit jacket) or “partially lined” (i.e., ½ suit lining).
Your choice for suit linings should be cloth, Cupro Bemberg, or silk since they provide a smooth and silky feel.
One of the important men’s suits details about lining is to avoid it sagging below the suit. A well finished lining should be firm and short of the edge of the suit.
Collar and Lapel
Make sure the collar snug tightly around your neck without buckling. One-half inch of the dress shirt should be visible under the suit collar. It improves your personality by giving extraordinary look.
Suit collars extending to the front part of the chest area are known as lapels. Lapels and collars are widely modified men’s suits details during different decades.
For example, the sixties have much thinner lapels, and seventies have much wider ones.Standard lapel width should be 3 to 4 inches. Most importantly, it should be proportionate to the overall size of the men’s suit as well as the distance between the chests to the shoulder.
Lapels have to fall flat on your chest. They should not buckle or bunch up. In general, lapels should have the end tip about halfway between the suit’s top sleeve and collar.
Pockets are important men’s suits details because its styles can vary on different suits.Popular tailoring for pockets is the besom.
It is an inset pocket garment with access through a narrow welted slit-type opening.
Generally, there are three types of pockets on suits.
- 1 Slit pockets are as its name represents a slit style which gives a clean finish on the suit’s hip area. Usually, the slit pockets are jetted at the opening of the pockets. It can be double domed as well to have two welts or jetting at the top and bottom of the pocket opening.
- 2Flap pockets are additional fabric on covering the outside of the pocket opening.
- 3A high-quality pocket which allows both a slit pocket and flap pocket. It is required to be double-besomed so that it becomes a slit pocket when the flap is inserted into the pocket. It gives alternate looks on a single suit.
Vents are vertical slit openings creating flaps at the lower back of suits. These vents are meant to provide freedom and space for movement around the hip area of the suit like putting hands into the trouser pockets or adjusting your pants waist.
The vent has an important role in men’s suits details. Without a vent, it can cause the suit to crumble and feel tight at the hip area. Vents should have one of the flaps overlap the other by about ¾ inch and not reveal the pants through it. There are 3 types of vents to choose from:
- Single vents: The slit opening is at the center lower back of the suit. This is a typical look found among American-style suit. It creates an illusion of a slimmer torso for men. However, the downside is that it can shorten the man’s body and create a stiff look.
- Double vents: Hallmark in English-style men’s suits details; these vents are cut symmetrically on both sides of the hip area of the suit. It provides more freedom of movement than single vents. It also emphasizes the lines of the body. The disadvantage of having this style is mainly for men with wide hips as it can accentuate the width of that area further.
- Ventless: Having no vents on a suit can hinder movement like raising your arm or restrictive like sitting on a soft sofa.
Still many men have taken liking for ventless suits for its clean finish and modern look. It is more suitable for slimmer man since it hugs closer to the body.
Buttons involves the most handling during the wearing experience especially when fastening and unfastening.
Therefore, it has the highest likelihood of breaking into two for low-quality buttons or dropping off if not adequately sewn onto the suit.
Let’s breakdown a few important points about for buttons as part of men’s suits details:
- Try to avoid plastic buttons. Go for natural horn, pearl, or bone buttons. Other available types of buttons include mother-of-pearl, metal, or ceramics.
- Ensure that they are securely fastened. This does not mean the buttons are tightly sewn onto the suit. There should be some flexibility in the movement of the buttons but not hang from the suit or fall off easily when tugged.
- Good sewing quality uses a good amount of thread to secure the buttons and yet finish it cleanly without any loose threads on both buttons and buttonholes.
- Check that the closure is tight when buttoned. There should not be puckering of fabrics around the fastened buttons. Such puckering would mean unleveled sewing of buttons and buttonholes.
Do not overlook these inconspicuous men’s suits details. They are meant to make the suit hangover men’s body with firmness and keep the suits in shape.
Most suits have padding and the thickness of should pads depends significantly on the men’s shoulder and body shape.
Heavy padding will not be suitable for men with wide broad shoulders; otherwise, it will make them look more like football players.
Slightly thicker shoulder pads would be suitable for slope shoulder men to make the suit look level.
Armhole and Sleeve
Armholes are the inside of your sleeves where you slip your arm in. Generally, high arm holes would give your suit a nice drape even when big arm movements (e.g., lifting your arms) are made.
The armholes should be wide enough for easier movement of arms and ensure the bottom armholes are not tightly pressing into your armpits.
Sleeves are pretty standard in men’s suits details base on its designs and length. A piece of important advice about sleeves is they should end at about ½ to ¼ inch before the dress shirt cuffs are worn within.
Most likely the sleeve will end at mid-point of your wrist bone. This criterion needs to have the arms resting at the sides.
Men’s Suits Pants
Men’s suits details encompassing the pants are the drape, the pleats, and the cuffs. The drape of the pants over your lower body should be smooth (no bulge or creasing especially under the waist area) and floats over your legs. It is considered an important part of suit while purchasing.
The rise (portion between crotches to waistband) is important to take note as well. Ensure that the length of the rise complements your height. Taller men will suit a higher rise while shorter men should settle for a lower rise.
There are 3 types of pleats to choose from: single pleat, double pleat, and pleatless flat front. You can also choose either to have the usual pleats or inverted pleats.
Now the in-fashion style in men’s suits details has pleatless flat front pants. It gives a very clean and smooth look.
Cuffs are upward folds made at the end of the pants. It is recommended that your cuffs be 1½ – 1¾ inch wide depending on the men’s overall size.
Generally, pants cuffs look better on the taller man. There is a tendency to make a shorter man look even shorter with cuff pants. Make sure the cuff at the pants end falls with ease without too much gather.
Learn How to Achieve A Good Mens Suits Fit
What constitutes good men’s suits fit? There are some crucial elements to take note of that are applicable for both off-rack suit and tailor-made ones.
Most importantly, know these pointers when trying on your suit so that you know what needs to be altered if necessary. But details like shoulders and lapels can never be altered after finishing.
The shoulders of a men’s suit are very important. It is where the suit is going to hang and drape from.
The first focus should be on the shoulder padding used. The preferred style should be one with soft sloping shoulders to give an overall relaxed, comfortable, and yet a smart look.
If you have a very sloping shoulder, then it would make sense to have heavier padding to level up the shoulders.
Ensure the width at the shoulders provide enough room so that the fabric flows smoothly from the shoulder to the sleeves.
If made too narrow, the middle deltoids are likely to bulge out at the area between the shoulders and start of the sleeves. If too wide, it can shrink the overall frame of the man.
Of importance to note in men’s suits fit around shoulders is taking the shoulder’s relativity against the size of the head, waistline, and neck width.
For example: when framed on an average head but shoulders are cut too narrow then there is a tendency to make the head look big about the overall suiting, or cut too widely then the head might look small.
The drape from the shoulder should always remain smooth. We should not see puckering of fabric along the front shoulder blade area or at the back scapula area.
The fabric around the shoulder back and the front has to be wrapped flat with fullness without signs of strain or looseness.
Armholes and Sleeves
Armholes need enough space for easy slipping of the arms into it and moving it freely.
You can try the armholes wearing a flat knit sweater beneath. It should be able to fit your arms comfortably.
As mentioned earlier, high armholes provide a good drape. When trying on your men’s suits, make big hand movements, and you will notice high armholes will not lift your whole jacket.
Another important aspect would be the armhole portion at your armpit should not be tight and irritate your armpit.
There should be ample space to feel comfortable where swinging your arms will not feel rupture between the armpit and the fabric.
The sleeves have to end around your mid-wrist bone where the wrist breaks with the hand. It will reveal about ½ inch of your dress shirt cuffs. Often than not, we see men in suits with sleeves too long extending beyond the wrist area.
A general criteria in mens suits fit assessment is to always do it with both arms by the sides and review where the sleeves end.
This is the portion where the collar and lapels meet extending down to the first button.
Shifts in fashion trends have influenced the highs and lows of the gorge. High gorge would mean the first button is placed higher up the suit and vice versa.
Having it too high would closely mimic the 1950s Beatles era while too low resembles the 1980s trend.
To avoid your suit getting out of fashion over time, it would be recommended to stay classic in design and not get too deep into one particular fashion trend unless you can afford it, of course.
I would greatly recommend having the gorge placed on a reasonable level so that the fit is symmetrical to the overall body frame.
Collars and Lapels
Collars should always hug around the back of your neck. There must not be any puckering or strain as it means that the fit is not right.
Your collar should reveal a ¼ inch of your dress shirt within. Otherwise, when you sit down the suit will shift upward and envelope the collar of your dress shirt.
As mentioned before, the width of the lapels is played around very often during different fashion trends in various decades.
Generally, there are two choices of lapels: a high notch or low notch. Whichever the choice, a good men’s suits fit for lapels is to have it lie flat against your chest without puckering or buckling. Otherwise, they are signal that your suit jacket is too tight.
In classic styles, lapels should have the end tip about halfway between the suit’s top sleeve and collar.
For proper men’s suits fit, make sure that the size of the lapels is symmetrical to your body frame and shoulders.
Fasten the waist button and then place both arms by your sides. If you see any buckling or pulls at the button holes or buttons seemingly popping out, then your men’s suits fit too tight around your waist.
There are some jackets tapered at the waist, and still, we should not see such negative effect after fastening the waist button. Always remember that the silhouette and drape of the suit should be smooth and flat.
An important men’s suits fit to note for in suit pants is the waist area.
It should always rest on your waist and not the hips. Resting on your hips would mean that the waist is too big for you or the pant’s rise has to be adjusted higher.
Make sure the pant’s rise provides a good fit at the crotch of the pants but giving enough room for comfort.
The drape of the pants over your lower body should always be smooth (no bulge or horizontal creasing especially under the waist area and thigh area).
The pants should float over your legs. It must not flare like hip-hop pants or hug your legs skin tight.
The natural flow of your suit pants should break at the cuffs with ease. If your pants do not have cuffs, then make sure they are hemmed.
Try walking around in your suit pants and make sure that not too much of your socks are being revealed. Pants with suitable length would only show your socks subtly.
Also, the length of your pants will cover about a quarter the top part of your shoes, anything more than that would be considered too long.
A proper man’s suits fit will not be complete without the best finishing and ending off with your suit pants.
The Proper Mens Suits Care
to Make Your Every suit Last
It makes great sense to practice proper men’s suits care. Why? It is the only way to make those men’s suits last, and these suits are probably the most expensive item in your wardrobe.
Besides knowing how to get a well-constructed suit with great fit, it is important to maintain your suit in optimal condition as well.
Otherwise, the suit will deteriorate in its appeal and becomes unpreventable for attending business meetings, formal occasions, or even a job interview. It also depicts the wearer with an attitude of “I can’t be bothered.”
Men’s Suits Care Symbols
It pays to read the label attached to your suit that indicates how to maintain it. These labels would generally apply to off-rack men’s suits.
It is essential to know the symbols and what it represents. You would not want to do anything unsuitable and damage the expensive suit you just bought. The responsibility is yours.
Here are good references on the meaning of those Fabric Care Symbols:
Important tools for men’s suits care:
- 1Clothes brush
- 2Coat hangers
- 3Steam iron
- 4Clothes steamer
Hanging your Suit Jackets
Before hanging your suit jackets into your wardrobe, it will be advisable to use the clothes brush to brush them frequently after wearing.
It helps to remove dirt and lint buildup on the suit. It also helps to rejuvenate the wool and prevent it from shining.
A very important aspect of men’s suits care is always to have your suit jackets hung on good coat hangers that entail large, rounded shoulder supports.
No matter how long your suit is left on it, the support from the hangers will keep your suit jackets in shape.
So avoid those miserable metal wire hangers for your suits. They will never be able to lay a good foundation for hanging any men’s suits.
Have ample space within your wardrobe. It allows your suit jackets to hang and drape nicely without creasing.
Unbutton the suit jackets and remove any items in the pockets. This will not strain and weigh on the jacket’s pocket to keep it in its original shape.
Keep your suit in a garment bag that can “breathe” and not one that is fully enclosed. If you are not going to use a garment bag, then it would be good to cover the shoulder portion to avoid dust accumulation.
Hang your suits to “air” for about 24 hours before putting into the wardrobe. It will help dry up any moisture trapped in your suit before being introduced into the closet. It also helps to rejuvenate wool since it is a natural fiber.
If a hanger is not available, fold your suit jackets inside out with shoulders touching. By doing so, it prevents any possible dirt or lint staining on the outer fabric of the suit. Then either lay the suit jacket flat or drape it over a chair.
Pressing Mens Suits
If there are wrinkles on the suit, have it ironed with steam before the next wear. Avoid dry pressing on wool suits because it can easily damage the fabric. Use reliable brands like Rowenta to iron away those wrinkle worries.
If you do not have enough time or lazy to do your ironing, then a clothes steamer can also help with your men’s suits care by removing those wrinkles and freshening up the suit. I would recommend Jiffy Steamer J-2000 Residential Garment Steamer for its fast heating response, long duration of steam, and quality.
Before ironing men’s suits, take note of the heat from the iron or press machine. Too hot an iron will cause wool to be shiny.
Always place a piece of clean cotton or linen cloth over the suit to iron. Do not slide the iron over the clean cloth but rather press and lift it.
Turn over the collar and lapels when pressing away the wrinkles on the suit. For both the cuffs and shoulders, you can place towels inside of them and press the iron with a cloth on top.
Dry Cleaning Men’s Suits
Always use a reliable dry cleaner since they will provide professional service and care for your suit including pressing and preventing damages like discoloring or “burning” of the wool.
Avoid dry cleaning too often since it involves chemical solvents to steam your suits. Dry clean frequently will eventually damage your suit’s fabric. Once every 3 months would be a good frequency.
Point out to your dry cleaner the spots and stains that need pretreatment. If not told and they missed the stain, it can leave permanent scarring on your suit.
Make sure that the clean suit is kept within a plastic bag during collection and the suit is not cramped in it. The suit should be allowed to drape freely within the bag and not jammed with too many other cleaned garments.
Take out the clean suit from the plastic bag and air it immediately.
Other Important Mens Suits Care Tips
Never hot press or have heat treatment onto a stain on the suit, otherwise it will permanently “imprint” the stain.
Do not rub vigorously on stains or dirt to avoid it embedding into the fabric.
The proper men’s suits care to promptly remove any spots or stains. Here are good references for removing certain stains and spots on woolen fabrics:
Remember to work on the stain from the edge towards the center to avoid spreading out the stain to other parts of the suit.
If you are drenched in the rain with your suit, remove it at the soonest and use a towel to pound on the suit to remove the moisture.
Then leave it in an airy space for natural drying at room temperature. Never attempt to wring your wool suits. Remember men’s suits care boils down to taking care of the fabric. Wringing will damage the suit’s fabric.