Men’s Suit Buying Guide (How to Buy First Good Suit)

how to buy a suit

This is the most comprehensive guide for buying your first suit.

I’m going to provide you the knowledge you need to buy a suit that will last a long time.

I’m assuming you’re beginning from scratch, whether it’s your first suit or it’s been a decade since you bought one.

What is a Suit?

So, let’s start with a definition of what a suit is.

A suit consists of a jacket and a pair of matching trousers. It’s worth noting that I didn’t state “materials that are similar” or “materials that match.”

That’s not a suit; it may be a navy blazer with chinos, or a sports jacket and a pair of weird trousers.

A lot of men fall into this trap, they try to wear a jacket and a pair of trousers that are close and they try to pass it off as a suit.

Believe me when I say that those in the know, those who make recruiting decisions, observe.

Where to Buy? Online or Offline?

The first step in purchasing a suit is to decide whether you will purchase it online or offline.

So, what makes this such a difficult decision?

Because it all boils down to whether you want selection or not. The best variety will always be found on the internet.

But, guess what? If you want speed, you’ll need something today. You’ll have to go into a store to get what you need.

Let’s talk about convenience for a moment. Nothing beats shopping on the internet.

If you want to buy a tailored suit at 2:00 a.m. in your underwear while drinking a beer, you can.

When it comes to customer care, however, the in-person higher end men’s apparel stores are hard to surpass.

Because you could walk in and talk to a knowledgeable person for thirty minutes who can look at you, instantly tell your body type, and identify which suit, not just in color, but also in style, will look best on your body.

So, is it better to do it online or offline?

It all depends on your specific requirements. What exactly are you looking for? What are your priorities?

How Much to Spend?

You want something great, something that makes you look like a million bucks, whether it’s your first suit or your first suit in a long time.

You have a range of alternatives ranging from $200 to $2,000!

Let’s go specific. I know that $1,800 is a huge range, but let’s get specific.

You want to budget around half of your monthly earnings.

That budget, by the way, includes not only the suit but also the accessories, such as shoes and a shirt, which we’ll discuss later.

Understand that the true cost of a suit is substantially more. We’re talking about prices ranging from free to well over $5,000. Yes, it’s free; simply ask your friends, family, or anybody you know if they have a suit that you may borrow.

So, let’s talk about the top of the market.

You’ll spend over $5,000 if you go to some of the top tailors in the world, such as Savile Row.

What we’re talking about is that happy medium, where I believe the majority of you will be able to locate a suit that looks excellent.

Off-the-shelf, custom, and bespoke are all words you’ll hear now.
I’m going to tell you to disregard bespoke right now. It’s fantastic. This is the artistry, but it will be considerably more expensive.

If you’re hard to fit, I think custom is an excellent alternative.

However, for the most majority of people, off-the-rack will suffice, and you’ll find the best prices there.

Belt

What about the belt? Should you put them on with your suit or not?

It all depends on your trousers, in my opinion. Do you have belt loops on your pants? Then, if it has belt loops, put it on.

Match the leather to your shoes as closely as possible, and the metal to your other metals.

Materials

Let’s discuss about fabric and the materials used to construct the suit.

What you’re looking for is wool. A garment made entirely of wool is always a good sign that it will be of high quality.

Because it’s a luxury material, it’ll be more expensive, which is why you’ll start to see blends.

And they do it because they’ll be able to save you a lot of money on the pricing, but you must understand that they’ll have to cut corners somewhere else. This is a low-cost suit.

When you pay more than $500, or even $1,000, you need to be sure you’re getting 100% wool.

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Then you’ll notice other items, such as these super 80, super 100, super 120, and super 180.

Recognize that there isn’t a standardized framework in place. Every company’s supers are distinct from those of another.

In general, a higher number indicates a tighter yarn and, as a result, a more luxuriant drape.

This isn’t always the case, so don’t get caught up in the statistics. It’s similar to megapixels in that many believe that the bigger the number of megapixels, the better the camera. That isn’t the case at all.

Almost any suit, whether a super 100 or a super 220, will serve you well.

Color

Then there’s the matter of the color.

I’m going to suggest three colors: navy, charcoal, or gray.

You should avoid using a pale blue or a true blue. That will be more casual.

You should avoid wearing black. The color black is quite popular. I understand it sells well, however the problem with black is that it should actually only be worn with black tie.

You should stick to those three colors: navy, charcoal, or gray.

Patterns

How about the patterns?

You can have a suit with a little pattern that is hardly visible. That’s acceptable, but you should try to avoid visible patterns in general.

I’m not saying you can’t get them, but they should be saved for your special occasion.  The third, fourth, fifth, and maybe sixth suit

Fit

Let me be clear: fit reigns supreme!

Do not purchase a suit that does not fit you properly or that cannot be modified to fit you properly.

It’s not going to look good if you spend $2,000 on a suit that doesn’t fit you.

A $50 suit that fits you nicely is going to look a lot nicer than something that doesn’t.

You must focus on the fit.

If you have to pay more to buy anything that fits your extremely thin or extremely large body, then do so.

That’s why I suggested that custom suits would be an option for some of you who are a little shorter, a little thick, or just a big guy. Whatever it is, you may need to take that route in order to find something that fits your physique well.

So, when you’re shopping for a jacket, these are the features to look for.

Does it fit you nicely in the shoulders?

You don’t want to get your shoulders adjusted because it’s similar to having heart surgery. It will just cost you a lot of money, and it is better to simply purchase a jacket that fits you properly in the shoulders.

Next, let’s take a look at the chest and the torso.

If you have too much space here, and we’re talking about two fists worth of space, that’s simply too much space. You should probably go down a size. They can bring it in a couple of inches in the torso, but not more than that.

The problem here is one of proportions.

As a result, the pockets will change, and the jacket will no longer appear nice.

What about letting a jacket out, or perhaps opening it?

Yes, on higher-end suits, there should be enough additional fabric to allow you to open it up an inch.

If you discover a suit that fits you well but is a touch tight in the chest, you can open it up a little.

When it comes to length, there are two things to consider.

Put your arms down and your knuckles should be approximately an inch longer than the length of the jacket, give or take an inch.

The back of the jacket is the other place you’ll want to look. Is it long enough to conceal your buttocks’ curve? It should be long enough to cover your butt.

It’s probably too long or too short if the jacket exposes your butt or goes much beyond that.

Let’s talk about the sleeves for a moment.

This is one of the most straightforward places to adjust up to an inch and a half, and in some cases two inches. It is entirely dependent on the suit’s size.

However, you should be able to see a quarter to half inch of your shirt cuff.

What about the trousers?

The trousers are sold with the jacket; they are sold as a pair, and you should make sure that they fit you properly around the waist. This can be opened up or tightened if it’s a little too big or too tight.

Let’s take a look at the length of the trouser. You’ve got a few choices here.

You have the option of going without a break, taking a quarter break, a half break, or taking a full break.

What you should do here is mostly determined by your particular preferences and height. If you’re a taller man, a full break is the way to go. If you’re a shorter man, go for the no-break option.

See also  How to Not Sweat in a Suit

Style

Now I’m going to discuss the suit’s style.

My goal is to assist you in creating something timeless, something that will serve you six months and six years from now, rather than something that is more of a fashion trend that will be out of style next year.

So, when you go to buy a suit, you’ll find that there are two-button suits, three-button suits, four-button suits, and even one-button suits.

At this stage, one-button, four-button, and five-button suits should be avoided. You’ll have two or three buttons to choose from.

And for the vast majority of you, a two-button suit is the way to go. Why would somebody choose a suit with three buttons?

A three-button suit will be a little more formal, and there are even two-and-a-half suits available.

I prefer the two and a half because it simply goes a little higher; it’s essentially a three-button suit that isn’t designed to actually button that top button.

Lapel

Following that, you’ll want to pay attention to the lapel.

There will be notch lapels, peak lapels, and shawl lapels to choose from.

Don’t touch the shawl lapels; they’re for formal wear. Peak lapels are great, but they’re a little more formal, and they’re also something that draws attention.

If you really enjoy the style, I believe they’re acceptable, but I’d recommend going with a notch lapel instead.

It’s not going to win any awards for inventiveness, but it’ll stand the test of time and remain fashionable in a decade.

Pockets

Let’s take a look at pockets now. There will be two distinct styles.

The pockets that are sewed into the jacket and the pockets that are sewn on top of the jacket are the two types of pockets.

Patch pockets are those that are sewed on top. They’re really casual. Let’s ignore those at this stage and look for the ones that are actually sewed in.

You’re looking for a flap, so they should have one.

Vents

Let’s discuss about vents next. So, this is where the jacket’s back will be.

You’ll notice the single vent, double vent, and no vent options.

The no vent suit is fairly uncommon; you might see it on custom suits or some Italian outfits.

If you don’t put your hands in your pockets and want to create a slimmer profile, I think it looks fine.

The majority of us, though, will only see the single vent.

I understand why manufacturers do this because it’s a cost-effective option, but it’s the ugliest of all the vents in my opinion, and you should opt for the double vent instead.

Why?

Because it gives you a more streamlined appearance when you’re walking. When you put your hand in your pocket with that single vent, your backside is suddenly exposed.

Nothing like that happens when you have a double vent.

Dress Shirt

Let’s talk about the rest of the things that come with a suit.

Understand that it’s similar to a chain. Because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a weak portion among all these other features can seriously detract from the overall aesthetic.

That’s not what we want, so let’s start with the dress shirt.

The dress shirt should be white in general. This is going to be the classic color, and it’ll go with all of the other colors I mentioned.

Light blue is another possibility; you could even go with pink or lavender, but I recommend going with white.

It’s the most formal, will provide the greatest contrast, and will go with just about whatever you put on it.

Now that you’ve chosen that white shirt, you’ll want to make sure it fits you properly around the neck.

That’s important because you’ll be buttoning it up and wearing it with a necktie.

You should also look for a turndown collar with a medium spread or a point.

The point is a basic option that fits with most necktie knots, but if you like a tie with a little more width, a medium spread is an option. Avoid a wide spread; this is a more informal collar style.

In addition, button-down collars should be avoided. They’re lovely, but they’re quite casual.

Let’s discuss about cuffs next. The shirt cuffs should be a single button, but if you have anything custom made, you can go with two buttons.

How about a pair of cufflinks?

Cufflinks are wonderful in my opinion, but you must have a certain attitude when wearing them; they add a touch of formality to the look, and you must know how to wear them properly.

See also  Men's Dress Code Guide

It’s not a good idea to wear it as your first suit.

This may sound self-evident, but I’ve seen some males who don’t always tuck their dress shirts in.

Shoes

The black Balmoral oxford with a closed lacing mechanism will be the classic. When the back corner of the shoe goes underneath the front half of the vamp, it is called a closed lacing system.

This is going to be your go-to shoe for a long time.

But, if you don’t want to go with black, you can go with a darker brown, like a chestnut brown. That’s all right.

You could wear this with a suit if you obtain a pair of more casual shoes with an open lacing system and a lighter color, but keep in mind that it won’t be as formal.

So, how about some sneakers?

I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re a rock star or have a lot of attitude.

I believe some men are capable of doing so, and I am not here to pass judgment. Take a chance.

I like to avoid loafers unless they’re for casual suits, so I’m not going to recommend them in this situation.

Neckwear

Let us now turn our attention to neckwear. A suit is traditionally paired with neckwear since it just goes together and ties the look together.

Unless it’s a bright neon red, I believe red is always a safe color. Neons aren’t a good idea.

Red with a modest repeating pattern is an option. However, a regimental stripe could be added. Another classic stripe you can use is this one. This is also going to be formal.

You can also choose a dark green or purple, which is the color of monarchs. Small repeating patterns, such as a dot, provide an example.

When we introduce brighter hues, we start to feel a little more relaxed. It won’t be as formal as before.

Then there are some pretty informal neckties. This is where you must exercise caution. This isn’t a formal occasion, so don’t try to pull it off.

Now for the bowties. I know a lot of you guys adore bowties, and bowties are theoretically just as formal as a lengthy necktie.

If you went with a solid color, it would be OK; you wouldn’t be breaking any rules, but you’d stand out, which might be fine for a wedding, but you’d have to make a judgment call at a funeral.

I think it’d be alright if it was part of your everyday attire, but bowties can attract a little extra attention, so if you’re okay with that, go for it.

Jewelry

So, how about a piece of jewelry? I’m referring to jewelry such as watches, rings, and necklaces. I’m referring to nose piercings and ear piercings.

It’s all about keeping it understated and not going overboard for me.

If that’s your personality, if you’re a rock star, a tattoo artist, and have piercings all over your body, then go for it.

Most people, though, will wish to keep it a little more subdued in most situations.

When it comes to dress watches, you want one that just tells you the time, possibly the date, and nothing else. You don’t want anything to get in the way.

A leather strap, either black or dark brown, will be found on classic dress timepieces.

I prefer those with a metal band. It simply appeals to me. The leather straps bothered me.

However, you may choose one with a plain face, perhaps with a few numbers on it.

You’ll want to keep things simple once more.

Bringing in diving watches that are plainly designed to be worn as sport watches is not a good idea.

When it comes to your jewelry, you want to keep things simple and understated.

Grooming

Don’t forget about grooming, gentlemen. Keep in mind that we’re talking about a chain.

It’s only as strong as the weakest link in the chain.

No one will think you look good if you don’t shower or have dirty nails, no matter how beautifully you dress.

So, clean your nails, cut your nails, and take care of your skin by applying lotion to your hands and face if your skin is flaking.

Make sure you shave or groom your beard if you have one, so it’s neat and clean and looks fantastic.

Make sure your hair is in good condition. When you utilize things, I truly appreciate it. Because you’re dressed sharply, you can actually add a little gleam.

I believe it’s a nice style, but do what you think looks best on you and take care of your upkeep.

You now know how to buy the suit.

how to buy a good men's suit

Author

  • Christopher has 9+ years of experience as a creative fashion designer who stays current with the latest trends.

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