"When choosing a suit, a man should look for something that he can wear, and not something that will wear him. In other words, elegance, sophistication, and timeless style are always better than of-the-moment trends, which will date—and date the wearer." - Giorgio Armani
Of all the free passes men get, there's one I can never accord any man - an over-sized suit. It's just not cute, no matter what. It is not uncommon to see guys these days bragging about how they look when they clean up when in fact, they look like they just borrowed their grandpa's suit. I even spotted a celebrity recently in a horribly horrible Prada suit. See, huge name brands do not excite me, especially when worn terribly.
I can give you a free pass if you're just a struggling college student because believe me, I am well acquainted with that life. Regardless, picking the right suit should not and will not cost a fortune if you follow these easy steps.
1. Know the exact dimensions of your shoulders: This will change of course, if you constantly hold sleepovers in the gym. Still know how wide your shoulders are. You will need this number for a good fit if you are making your purchase online. For in-store purchases, request a fitting. If the shoulder pads on the suit do not rest well against your shoulders naturally, the suit jacket is too big. Go for a size down. One trick to know if you have picked the right size is to lean against a wall and if the shoulders touch the wall before your arms, then the jacket is too big.
2. One buttoned, the lapels should not wrinkle/fold over. If they do, your suit is too tight. Matter of fact, if you cannot comfortably sit down while one button is closed, lose that jacket. Alternatively, if your fist doesn't comfortably slip in and out of your jacket at the chest region, you are in your late grandpa's suit. Period.
3. Now that you have taken care of the shoulders and chest, check the sleeves. Your sleeves should never get to the vicinity of your knuckles. That is just wrong! Your shirt and jacket sleeves should have a difference of 0.5 inch and for a maximum, GQ says 1 inch. Anything more or less than that and you are in the wrong suit, my dear.
4. Jacket length is more of personal preference. Some like it shorter, others like it a bit longer but as a rule of thumb, your jacket should really sit a few inches below the sleeves (when in a relaxed stance). An inch or two is fine. If your jacket and sleeve lengths align, you need to size up. It should cover your bum slightly.
5. It is time to access your overall look now, considering the two most important bits are squared away. When putting it all together, ensure that the jacket is not too snug at the waist or the sleeves too long. If you have an abnormally long arm (like myself), opt for the next suit size; the sleeve will usually be long enough. Then proceed to Step 6, the most important.
6. Get it tailored. As body types and store size charts greatly vary, you will find that a suit size that fits in one store will be too snug/too lose in another. And even when you think you've found a flawless suit jacket, you still need to take it to a tailor for some final adjustments to fit you. Tailors are not expensive. Definitely not as expensive as a new suit.
Remember, the most important thing is to be comfortable in the suit you choose. It is more than bragging to your friends that you can clean up nicely but looking sharp when you do.
It is better to see these in pictures. Unfortunately, one of my sources Copyrighted their images - Art of Manliness.
Next week, I'll discuss how to find the right pants. The most exciting part of this series will be talking about colors and textures, a common problem for most men as well as mixing your suit separates for different events/settings.
Please leave comments so that I'll know how to improve this new addition.