The perfect business suit is necessary for, well, business. It makes the perfect first impression. Why? Because, it takes time to wear a good suit and that tells your guest that you are serious and that you respect them and yourself. Fortunately, wearing the perfect business suit is not difficult. Here are some easy tips when sourcing out your suit.
There are quality brands that don’t break the bank. Sarar, Indochino and Combatant Gentlemen are all good options that are not too pricey. Of course, you can go higher. Stores like Harry Rosen, custom suit designers like N.B. Men, and brands like Hugo Boss and Tom Ford offer higher end options with materials that last a long time.
From my research, the primary difference is the brand reputation and customer service. All the suit retailers above offer high quality wool, and many of them manufacture their suits in the same countries. For example, Sarar and some of Hugo Boss’ jackets are produced in Turkey. I would say to start off with the fair-priced options listed above.
There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to material quality. My tailor and many professionals say to stick with wool as it doesn’t wrinkle easily and sits flat.
When you look inside the jacket, you might find codes for the wool such as Super 100 or Super 150. These refer to the fineness of the sheep fiber used to manufacture the suit. The higher the number, the finer the wool. Finer wool are more luxurious, but wear out faster.
As such, look for Super 120 wool. That material is a good balance between strength and fineness. Super 120 will outlast Super 150 suits and will still look great for business day-to-day.
For color, we’ll keep it simple here: Navy, Charcoal and Black. Opinions vary here, but navy is for good for business meetings, charcoal is good for day-to-day work and black is good for special occasions. Once you have those, you can start experimenting with other colors.
For the shirt, white and light blue are staple colors. You can also pair this with brown or black dress shoes. If you had to choose just one shirt color, go with white. It’s a blank canvas. For ties, choose colors with simple / conservative patterns. Don’t go for images, cartoon characters or florescent colors.
For simplicity, stick with a notch lapel as that is the most common and versatile lapel type. Further, stick with a two button jacket. It is traditional and has a slimming effect. You can also try the double breasted jacket (4 or 6 buttons), but that will give your torso a boxier look. For the rear, try one with two vents for comfort.
For the pants, try pants that have a crease running down the length. That slims the leg. There are some important points regarding fit, which we’ll talk about now.
For the shirt
- Your sleeves should not be puffy, otherwise called “pirate sleeves“.
- Your arms holes should not be too loose because it may make your shirt look baggy. At the same time, looser arm holes prevent your shirt from getting untucked. As a solution, you can get a shirt with fitting arm holes and use shirt-stays to keep the shirt tucked in all day (that’s what the police and US Marines use).
For the jacket
- Shoulders are the most important when it comes to jacket fit. Your tailor can fix almost everything, but not the shoulder. When you wear the jacket, make sure the shoulder seam (the seam that joins the sleeve with the shoulder) lines up with the outermost point of your shoulder.
- Next, when you wear the jacket, hang your hands beside your body, and wrap your fingers around the bottom hem of your jacket. You should be able to wrap your top two knuckles around it.
- For your sleeve, when your arm hangs down, make sure the sleeve exposes about half an inch of your dress shirt.
- When you button up the jacket (for two button jackets, button only the top bottom, not the bottom), make sure the jacket doesn’t “break” (wrinkle) around the buttons. You’ll know you have a break when you see an X-shape across your abdomen. If you can’t find a jacket that prevents this, talk to your tailor as he’ll be able to fix it.
For the pants
- Make sure it hugs your glutes. However, it shouldn’t be too tight around your thighs. If it’s too tight, it’ll break the crease running along the length of your pants. Your tailor can help with this as well.
- The pant hem should end right at the tongue / laces of your shoe so that it doesn’t fold or break on top of the shoe.
The finishing touches
Dress shoes are a whole other article, but for now, find some black or brown well polished dress shoes as mentioned above. They will pair very well with navy / charcoal suits and a white shirt. For your tie, follow what was mentioned above. Conservative patterns or solid colors. Nothing florescent or cartoony. With that, you’re good to go! Just look at the mirror when you’re done. You’ll be impressed.