Suits on Broadway Owner and Director, David Eggleton has been in the menswear business since 1979 and in that time has helped over 30,000 of our clients find great looking suits. So, I guess you could say he is somewhat of an expert.
The good news is that finding the right suit that fits well and looks amazing when you put it on is surprisingly simple when you follow some important guidelines.
And that’s the purpose of this page. As you read, you will learn the five key things you need to know about choosing the perfect suit and wearing it with style
Start with the desired end result in mind
The first key to looking great in a suit is working out exactly what you need a new suit for… It may sound obvious, but it can help to ask yourself a few questions before you head out to buy a suit.
If it’s a business suit, will I wear a suit every day, or only for occasional meetings?
If the suit is for a special event, do I want one that can also be worn for business later?
Do I want to make an impact with my suit, or do I want to blend in?
"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."
A great ‘Fit’ is critical
The most important thing about the suit itself is how it fits. Ideally, you want a suit that looks fabulous from 20 to 30 metres away. Expensive fabric alone simply does not make the suit – not if the fit is wrong. Conversely, a cheaper fabric can make a stunning suit if the cut and fit is done well. ‘Fit’ is simply the most important thing.
Once you’ve established that you are in a store that sells quality suits, don’t worry too much about which brands they stock; brands should be secondary in your purchasing decision to the way a suit fits. Although certain designers can be associated with quality, it is not always an accurate indication and the brand tells you nothing about whether it is the right suit for you.
Some easy things to look for to ensure that your suit is the best possible fit:
- A suit should sit cleanly on your shoulder, not extending too far past your shoulder, nor be so tight that you can’t easily raise your arms.
- The jacket should button at the waist with minimal pressure, creating a flattering waistline
- Classically, the hem of the jacket should be within reach of your fingers when your arms are at your side but is also commonplace nowadays to have the hem slightly shorter, which will give a visibly longer leg length
- The sleeve of the suit should just reach the crease of your wrist and not be over your hand, allowing your shirt sleeve to extend 1 – 1.5cm past the suit sleeve
Too often guys wear their suits too big,
buying for comfort rather than for looks.
It can be a fine line finding a suit that is
comfortable yet well-fitting, but persevere.
Generally, there are 3 basic suit shapes – and within these there should be an ideal fit for everybody.
- The classic English suit: closer on the shoulder and slimmer through the body
- The American suit: wide shoulders, deeper through the chest and arms and generous through the body
- The Italian suit: wide shoulders, but narrow through the waist and hips
Most people can wear all of these shapes but you will usually feel more comfortable in one of them – that’s where personal preference comes in.
It is always possible to get a great fit though
At Suits on Broadway, we are confident that we can fit 95 guys out of 100 into a suit straight any off the rack, without any major alterations. If minor alterations are needed, these can be done on site working around your own needs and timeline.
Fabric, colours and accessories
When choosing a fabric, it’s important to remember rule #1 and know what your suit will be used for. For example, a businessman that travels a lot for work and wears his suit daily would be best to look for something like a wool blend, which is going to be robust and crease resistant.
A Super 100’s fabric is known as the benchmark for a quality garment – the
higher you go in this number, the finer and more delicate the fabric. Super 100’s fabrics should be the mainstay of your wardrobe while you might treat the Super 150’s and Super 180’s fabrics like a Ferrari – wonderful to have, but not to be driven every day.
90% of suits sold today are Black, Navy or shades of Grey. There are general rules of thumb here, but really anything goes nowadays. Business suits are generally darker and can be found typically either plain or pinstriped, which is a more conservative look. Some lighter greys, blues and beiges can be worn in the warmer months for business and other semi-formal and formal occasions but are definitely still in the minority.
Wedding suits can be dark or light depending on how formal the wedding is, the time of the year it’s being held in and where it is to take place.
White based and pale blue shirts are always classic and give a professional look. Pink and mauve shirts are also popular lately and easy to wear, looking great with a light suit. Colour can always be added with the tie, if a bright shirt feels too bold. Pick one or the other element to play up though. Also be careful with too many stripes or textures – generally two patterns together within an outfit is the maximum.
Updating your shirts and ties each season is a great way to keep your suit up to date. And if you are wearing a suit every day for work, you should ideally own at least three of them so you can rotate their wear and have them all last longer. A classically styled suit that has been taken care of can easily last atleast 2-3 years.
Lastly, always wear a tidy looking belt and polished pair of shoes with your suit, keeping your leather accessories in the same colour, either all black or all brown etc.
"Clothes dont make the man, but clothes have got many a man a good job."
-Herbert H Vreeland
Avoid these common suit mistakes
The suit is the wrong length
Classically, your jacket should be exactly half of the length from the collar of the jacket to the floor. This sounds complicated, but suits come in short, regular and long fits to cater for men of different heights. As a general rule, you should put your suit jacket on and have it just cover your seat.
The suit is simply the wrong size
If it is too big, or too small, the overall effect is terrible. The easiest way to avoid this is to go to a specialist suit store where it is their business to get you in the best fitting suit possible. And that brings us to our last key rule for looking great in your suit…
"A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them"
Get expert advice
Just as you would want only the most experienced surgeon if you needed life-saving surgery, the more experience someone has in their field the more likely they are to be able to give you great advice. You may not be a suit expert, but you can look expertly dressed by consulting a specialist. Even better, our advice is completely free and without obligation.
When looking for quality advice, consider how long they have been selling suits, how many they sell and the range of sizes they carry. The wider the choices here, the more chance you will have of getting a well fitting suit that makes you look great.
Also look for someone who has a good understanding of different fabrics and an eye for the quality of construction. See how their own suit looks on them – if it fits exquisitely, chances are they know a thing or two.
Tips for keeping your suits looking great
- Always hang your suit on a shaped coat hanger as soon as you take it off – never leave it on the floor
- Don’t over-dryclean your suit. Three times a year should be sufficient, unless you spill something on it – in which case, take it to the drycleaners straight away. Because you always have a shirt on underneath (and hopefully underwear) your suit never really touches your body. If you want to, you can air your suit in the sun for a while, with the trousers inside out.
- Use a steam iron, through a piece of brown paper, to lightly press the main crease of your trousers and get rid of the ‘cat whiskers’ that appear around the crotch.
Our goal at Suits on Broadway is to help our clients look great in high quality suits that are easy on the wallet which is ofcourse very important in today’s economy. Interestingly though, we’ve noticed more people are buying suits as the business market is tougher – they want that extra edge and confidence gained through a perfectly fitted suit.
"Good clothes open all doors."