10-step guide to buying the perfect suit

Should you wear a belt? Are three-buttoned suits in style? With so much room for error, this guide to finding the perfect suit will ensure you always look your best

When done correctly, a well-fitted suit easily becomes the trump card of your wardrobe. It can command respect, attract a lingering gaze and elevate your style to next-level sophistication. Plus, there’s no shortage of occasions for which it’s really the only acceptable clothing choice – which is precisely why it’s so important to get it right.
If you have any doubt about the suits currently hanging in your wardrobe, it might be time to update your collection. Follow our 10-step expert guide to the perfect two-piece.

1. Colour

Forget black (too funereal), brown (too hard to style) and pinstripe (not flattering); your decision amounts to a simple slugging match between grey and blue. “Grey is always a safe, solid bet but navy is your most versatile choice,” says Nick Passmore, design director from Whistles Menswear. “Go for a deconstructed style to give you more style options: a solid foundation for both formal and informal occasions.”

2. Buttons

The rule of thumb here is simple: two in the hand is better than… errr…. three in the hand. “The most reliable and adaptable option, regardless of your shape, is the SB2: the single breasted two button,” says Matthew Rochester, director of tailoring at T.M. Lewin. “This can be dressed up or down, and will give you the most flattering silhouette because it lengthens and slims the torso.”

3. Sleeves

“Lengthwise, you want to show around half an inch of cuff beneath your jacket, but the other end of the sleeve is just as important,” warns Passmore. “The arm hole should be cut high, right up into the armpit for a flattering, slimming effect. This will make the whole jacket hang better.”

4. Fit

With the top button done up, there should be roughly a finger width between stomach and jacket. But your most important concern is higher up: “Always ensure you fill the jacket’s shoulders,” says Passmore. “Always look for one that’s softly structured, following your natural shoulder line.” This gives you the opportunity to dress it down with jeans or chinos, without looking like you got dressed in the dark.

5. Lining

“Plenty of people overlook this consideration – and that’s a mistake,” says Passmore. “A flash of good lining when you remove your jacket can be very impressive. Even something as simple as a grosgrain ribbon on the lining can add to that feeling of luxury, injecting confidence as well as style.”

6. Lapels

“Balance and proportion are your key words here,” says Rochester. “The thinner your body frame, the thinner your lapel should be. Likewise the broader your frame, the wider your lapel. The shape and width of the lapels provide a lot of the suit’s personality. The timeless option for a man of average build is around two inches at the widest point.”

7. Trousers

“A single pleat with side adjuster is the traditional Savile Row look,“ says Rochester. “After all, why would you need a belt when you have your suits made for you?” A good pair of suit trousers will also have a slightly wider thigh and narrow hem, for added comfort. “Turn-ups are traditionally only an option with double-breasted suits,” adds Rochester. “The correct depth is 1.5 inches, just breaking on the top of your shoe.”

8. Construction

Cheaper suits tend to be “fused”, or glued. These are cheaper to manufacture and buy, but considerably less comfortable. “A fused suit won’t move properly: it’ll feel more like a suit of armour than a second skin,” says Rochester. “When buying a suit, always ensure it’s sewn – and at least half canvas in its construction. This is its ‘skeleton’: providing the necessary foundation, structure, shape and strength. Heat and moisture will interact with this and continue to mould the suit to your shape as you wear it.”

9. Pockets

“The addition of a second ‘ticket’ pocket on the right of a jacket is a nice, quirky British look,” says Rochester. “This works best in combination with slanted, flapped hip pockets.” Alternatively, if you’re of broader build, play a straight bat with more flattering horizontal pockets.

10. Weight

“A good suit is all about good wool,” says Passmore. Your best bet is to treat this wool like steak – and always order medium. “A medium weight wool blend will help you maintain a clean, crease-resistant look and regulate your body temperature better, so your suit can be worn all year round.” Including your next night out for steak… Source of article: telegraph.co.uk


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