A suit is a crucial part of every man’s wardrobe.  A good suit will last you for quite a while and everybody looks great one.  Picking a suit can be difficult if you haven’t done it before but it’s a crucial part of fashion and accessories.

This article will discuss the different materials that you can get a suit made in and the advantages and disadvantages.  We’ll also cover how to pick a suit off the rack versus getting a suit tailored.  By the end of this article you’ll have enough knowledge to start picking out suits for your collection.


See Also:

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Choosing Material

Picking what your suit is what out of depends on a few different things.  For example you don’t want to buy a wool suit if you live in a hot climate and will be using the suit during the summer.  You’ll also need to pick a material based on your own personal preferences, if you find it comfortable and how soft the material is to you.  The type of material you choose will affect the type of clothes and shoes you wear with your suit, as well as your fashion and accessories.  Here is a quick explanation of the materials that suits are made in.

how to pick suit

Cotton

Cotton is one of the most common fabrics for suits.  Cotton is derived from plant fibers and is easily breathable.  Unfortunately cotton suits crease and wrinkle easily, which make the suit look sloppy.  Compared to wool suits, cotton suits are very casual.

Wool

Wool is one of the most common fabric choices for men.  It’s a versatile material that breathes well.  Wool types range form flannel, merino, cashmere and tweed.

Linen

Linen suits are best worn in the summer.  These suits are super lightweight and stay cool even in hot conditions.  Linin unfortunately wrinkles and stains very easily.  You’ll need to dry clean your suit regularly if you go with this material.

Velvet

Velvet is a combination of cotton, nylon and silk.  Velvet suits have a luxurious texture while still remaining breathable.  Velvet suits are best for casual occasions.

Cashmere

Cashmere is a luxurious material that gives a recognizable shine to a suit.  This shine can be off putting for people looking for something conservative.  If you are looking for a work suit this would be way too flashy.

Worsted

Worsted is a type of wool in the form of a compact textile.  It’s a highly durable material created by a unique process that removes all the weak fibers from the material.

Polyester

Polyester is a synthetic material and is usually considered low quality.  Polyester suits have a slight sheen that contributes to their cheap appearance and reputation.

Silk

Silk is an animal protein that comes from moths that’s extremely breathable.  Silk suits are highly comfortable and can be compared to a high quality version of polyester.

Now that you know what type of materials are available to you, here’s how to go about actually buying your suit.

Buying off the rack

Buying a suit off the rack refers to being a suit from a store.  The most important thing to look for at the store is to make sure the suit jack gives you a good fit around the shoulders.  You can always get the suit tailored afterwards to sharpen its appearance.  However, the tailor can only do so much if you suit doesn’t properly fit your shoulders.

If you’re a rookie, make sure you don’t buy a bigger suit just because it’s more comfortable.  This will make for a bad fit and reduce how sharp your suit looks.  If you’re a tall person (over six feet) buy a long suit for your longer torso.   For shorter people, go with a shorter fit.

buying off a rack

When buying off a rack, make sure you go to a store that makes suits specifically for men.  Stores that have both men’s and women’s clothing don’t have the same level of attention to detail in their suits.  You’ll also find that suit stores have more knowledgeable and helpful staff.

When trying on a suit jacket let your arms rest at your side.   You’ll need either a friend or a store clerk to stand behind you and put their hands on the outer edges of the jacket shoulders.  If you can see the should seams lining up with the end of your own shoulder then you’ve got a good fit.  If you can’t see this, you’ll need to either size up or down.

Buying off the rack

Getting a suit tailored

The first step to getting a suit tailored is to find a good tailor.  Doing your homework first will save you a ton of headaches in the tailoring process.  Usually word of mouth from friends and family is the best way to find a tailor.  You’ll be rolling the dice if you walk into a random tailor store.  Getting measured is a good way to find a tailor.  Most tailors do it for free and it gives you a chance to feel them out personally and assess their professionalism.  You can also get their suggestions on fashion and accessories for the type of suit that you’re interested in.  As well as the type of clothes and shoes to match with it.

How to Buy a Suit

Remember, there is a difference between getting a suit tailored completely from scratch and buying a high quality suit and getting it tailored.  You won’t be disappointed with a custom made suit but the process is extremely expensive.  A good tailor can make a high quality suit appear to be custom made specifically for you.

It’s also important to know the difference between a plain hem and a cuff on your pants.  Lots of suit companies ship new suits with unfinished pants bottoms which allows you to choose how your pants appear once it’s tailored.  Hemmed pants simply fold underneath.  Cuffed pants have a visible fabric fold near the ankle.  Hemming suit pants is the most common choice.   Cuffed suit pants are more of a formal look and affect how your pants hang over your shoes.

Getting a suit tailored

Now that you have an idea of how to buy a suit, it’s time to start your collection.  When buying your first few suits pick colors that are shades of navy blue or grey.  These are the most versatile colors and can be worn at many different occasions.  Save the flashier suits for when you get deeper into your collection.  You’ll have to update your clothes and shoes as well as your general fashion and accessories with your new suit.  Remember to match your new suit with a good belt!