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Expert Advice on Buying a Suit
Mens' suits are one of the more complicated garments to purchase. Unlike casual clothing, it is doubtful that you will pick a suit off the rack and have it fit you perfectly. In addition to fit, you also want to choose the right colors and patterns. So, before you go to the store, get an idea of what you are looking for with the fit and style of your next suit. Read on for a few tips on how to buy a suit:
Choosing your suit fabric
The most popular and versatile suit fabric is wool. Wool has the uncanny ability to keep you cool in summer, warm in winter and always looking sharp. It also breathes well, holds its shape and resists wrinkling in normal daily wear. You’ll find quality wool used in designer suits. There are other fabrics to choose from when buying a suit, depending on the occasion:
• Linen suits are lightweight and casual. You will find this type of suit at summer weddings or in tropical climates. The downside to linen is that it wrinkles easily.
• Polyester suits are a cheaper alternative to wool; however, any suit made with polyester tends to be cheap in appearance. It also doesn’t breathe well, which can make these suits uncomfortable to wear.
Finding a comfortable suit jacket
There are many styles of suit jackets available that caters to different builds, sizes and styles. Here are just some of your choices when you buy a suit:
• Single-breasted suits, as opposed to double-breasted, are more common. They feature a single row of buttons down the front. Double-breasted suits feature two rows of buttons. Double-breasted jackets are wider and more formal. This fashionable look and can be worn on any frame, but they visually flatter tall thin men.
• Similarly, two-button jackets are the most classic look. Three-button is more modern while one-button gives you an edgier look. No matter the number of buttons, check that the fabric isn’t tugging and stretching when the jacket is buttoned.
• For a proper fit, your suit jacket should cover your rear and sit flat on your back. Make sure it isn't puckering or pulling.
• The jacket’s sleeves should end at your wrist, and your shirt sleeves should stick out another half an inch to quarter inch. The jacket’s shoulders should fit your shoulders rather than squeeze too tightly or, alternatively, stick out.
• Make sure you can move comfortably in your jacket and that your arms have a wide range of motion.
Choose an appropriate style of pants
After you pay careful attention to the fit of the jacket, don’t overlook the pants. Suit pants wear differently than casual trousers. You want to wear these around your natural waist, not lower, and pay special attention to the hem. Follow this suit advice for trying on pants:
• Suit pants should almost always have cuffs. The only exception is on short men; forgoing cuffs can help add the illusion of height. Otherwise, have your tailor add cuffs.
• Go with a slight or medium break. The break refers to the crease formed where the pants hit the top of the shoe, so make sure you’re wearing the shoes you’ll wear with the suit when you get fitted for the break. A medium break will bring the back of the pant leg about halfway down the heel of your shoe while a slight break brings the pant a little higher. There is also a full break, but that causes the pant to really bunch up at the shoe. Full breaks work best on tall men; a slighter break on these men would make their pants appear too short.
• Suit pants should sit at the waist. There is no such thing as "low-rise" suit pants!
Selecting colors and patterns
A suit that’s appropriate for a wedding can be very different from one you’ll wear to work or dinner. If you’re buying your first suit, get a plain navy suit or a navy suit with light pinstripes. This will be your most versatile suit. As you build your suit collection, add gray or black dress suits, then browns and earth tones. You can also include patterns like pinstripes, windowpanes and light plaids in your growing wardrobe. Stay away from fad colors and patterns.
Suits are investments and designed to last, so you don’t want to end up with an entire closet of purple velvet or red plaid suits. Stick with the more traditional designs when you buy suits to get the most out of your collection. For more expert advice, stop into a JoS. A. Bank store near you and work with our men’s suit experts to find your perfect suit.