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How to Choose a Suit

15 Feb

If you are looking to purchase a new suit there a lot of considerations to make.  Staying with the idea of personalisation, we are not going to give general advice.  We are going to give advice in order for you to match your suit to yourself and your occasion.  Accessories will also be discussed herein.

Part the first: Suit types, your body and which one you should wear:

Remember, not everyone can wear the same thing, you must honestly evaluate yourself, as difficult as this may be.

Are you robust in figure?

Do you have wide shoulders or a narrow build?

Are you short?

Are you tall?

There are two main jacket designs:

Single-breasted and double-breasted.

A single-breasted suit is more a staple design, it is the design you find in blazers, uniform jackets and standard suits.

Double-breasted is a classic English design, it is adapted often in contemporary fashions but is considered a bit more risky to wear, whether the contemporary or regular.

A single breasted suit is good for everyone as long as it is not too wide.  Wide gap single-breasted jackets work for tall, broad people.  Single breasted jackets should be fitted so that you are wearing the jacket, only in Soviet Russia, does jacket wear you.

Double-breasted works for thin, tall people because it will give you a wider look and make you look short and stubby.  If you are short and slight, you may be able to pull off a double-breasted suit, just keep in mind that you have to be honest with yourself and it must be proportionate with your neck width.  This is not a suit for a pencil-neck.

Everyone should own a black suit, any other colour would be nice, but it is not as necessary.

Until you start developing your own style, stick with black suit, white shirt and absolutely no novelty ties.  There are no excuses for those.

Ties are worn in many styles, but we will cover the two primary ones.

The Windsor is a large, triangular knot.  It is seen by many to be obnoxious and impertinent and according to some traditional English views, people who wear a Windsor knot in their tie are untrustworthy.

The four-in-hand is small, basic and part of the traditional Eton uniform and is the official knot to be worn with a tuxedo.

This blog does not advocate the Windsor, and therefore will not be diagramming the steps to tie one.

Remember to stay within a budget but think of this as an important, one time purchase and spend accordingly.  If you have more than 1000 USD get a custom tailored suit.  If you have closer to 350 USD go for an off-the-rack and get it tailored to fit you better.  Do not break the bank but do not cut corners.

There will be another article on shirts and collar types, but we will discuss cufflinks in this one.

Cufflinks are an ornate adornment, they are elegant and can elicit many “ooh”s and “ah”s.  They are useless.

Disappointed?

Don’t be, most good decorations are useless.

Cufflinks are a tasteful addition, try to get a pair that you feel represents you as your main set, perhaps even get them monogrammed.

Tie clips are a little bit better than pins in that puncturing good clothing is rarely a good idea, but a nice tie bar will add some dress-finesse to your outfit.

Which brings us to a related topic:

Short people, stay away from horizontal lines as much as you can.

This means, if possible, eschew the cummerbund, replace belt with suspenders, and possibly stay away from the tie bar.

Tall people, opposite, unless you want to look taller.

As for lapel pins, do not wear one that represents something you are not apart of.

If you are not in or an alum of Yale or a military lapel pin if you never served, then that lapel pin will make you look like you are a tasteless, pretentious, bore who tries to overstate his achievements; and the fact that you chose to read such a fine web publication proves that this is clearly not the case.

Your formal tie should always be silk and not too flamboyant, invest in at least one nice one and never purchase from people sell them off the back of a truck, you will look like what you spent.   By the way, the answer is yes, that DKNY replica sold in Marshall’s for fifteen dollars is lesser quality than the nearly identical, forty dollar DKNY tie in Macy’s.  This is a fact.

When possible try to purchase leather-sole shoes over rubber-sole.

Your pants should cover the top of the tongue of your shoe, any higher and you better fire your tailor.

All things considered, a decent suit and all the matching parts could be had for a reasonable price, if you can afford to spend more then do so, but the important thing is not the price, it is how you wear it.

Tie:
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