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How To Select The Perfect Suit

The suit is an iconic piece that has managed to withstand the test of time. Of course, over the years evolution has seen it grow in the styles, fabrics, and cuts that it comes in. In the past, the suit was the reserve of the rich and powerful, but modern day production has seen it become accessible to everyone.

While this has opened up the floodgates for the suit industry, it has created quite a confusing situation as each type of suit requires different ways of measuring yourself. The cut and shape of a suit will normally play the biggest role in determining the way you are measured, while fabric also plays a role, it is less of a factor.

If you invest in a decent quality suit, you can find yourself becoming the proud owner of a suit that will last you a lifetime. You need to consider several options before opting for any given style as its required purpose may change over time. Ideally, you will be looking at something that is adaptable and universal in use.

While the cut is probably the most important part of any suit, the second most important part is the colour. Colour can make or break a suit and is what dictates the settings that it is best used for. Could you imagine attending an important business meeting in an orange suit made from polyester? No? Didn't think so! A universal shade will be any shade which is considered neutral.

The most common types you will find are those in black, greys, creams, and browns.
Another thing to consider as noted above is the fabric. If at all possible, always elect for a natural fibre over a synthetic one. Natural fibres such as cotton and silk provide the suit with microscopic air vents that allow the suit to breathe when being worn. This prevents the suit from becoming saturated with sweat and dirt and makes the cleaning process a much simpler one. While synthetic fabrics such as poly-blends and nylon are better suited for those on a lower budget, they are not made to last and provide quite a cheap and unnatural finish.

Don’t take that the wrong way, we are by no means saying that something is not allowed. This is just an open and honest article about why certain aspects of a suit will help you get the most for your money while providing long-term usage and plenty of comfort. So, we have run through the basics of the suit and we are now going to dig deeper into each section to help you understand all you need to know about men's suits.

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The suit that best suits you.

The shape or cut of a suit jacket sets the tone to your appearance. Choosing the correct one may make you seem slimmer or even taller. There are three basic shapes you should know about and what each of them can do for your body:

•           Sack of Brooks Brothers Suit Jacket: It’s the most shapeless version of the suit jacket. Has narrow shoulders but seems devised to hide the shape of the person wearing it.

•           Structured Silhouette Suit Jacket: Padded shoulders, trimmed waist and influenced by the military uniform - and hence more formal -, provides its wearer with somewhat of an hourglass shape.

•           Fitted Silhouette Suit Jacket: With minimal padding and tailored fit, this model seems to fit best for those who are in shape.

Since shoulder fit is the one element that cannot be altered to make your suit jacket fit you, it’s a very important detail you should take into account. Therefore, make sure the construction of the shoulder is in line with your body shape.

Now that we covered structure, we also want to let you in on some of the intricacies that you might find when shopping for a new suit, such as single and double-breasted suit jackets. The main difference between the two is that one is more formal than the other: the more buttons, the more formal the jacket is.

The single breasted suit jacket can himself be divided into three other subcategories, depending on the number of buttons it bears. One button suit jackets are not that versatile, since they can usually be found in tuxedos, and are hence reserved for very formal occasions. The two button suit jacket is the most common one since it tends to look good on all body types. They are also more versatile since they can be used for both social and business events. If you are taller than average, the three button suit jacket might just be the right choice, since this arrangement compliments taller people.

Other things that you may want to be on the lookout when making your suit choice are the type of lapel, suit jacket pockets, placement of sleeve buttons and even the interior lining options. This might seem like overkill, but depending on what you plan to achieve with your suit, more or less attention to detail can indeed make a world of difference in your overall look.

The modern-day cuts include the following different types of suit, and the above style guide is now more a thing of the past.

•           2 Piece Suit – The 2 piece suit consists of the suit trousers and the suit jacket. The jacket can come in double or single breasted. Double-breasted suits are more suited to events and occasions requiring a more dramatic finish, whereas a single-breasted jacket is favoured by those working in offices and professional activities.

•           3 Piece Suit – This is pretty much the same as the 2 piece suit, but features the addition of a waistcoat. A 3 piece suit is typically favoured by those who are in more executive positions or attending an occasion of great importance.

•           Tuxedo – The tuxedo is classed as evening wear and it is seen as bad taste and form to wear it before 6 pm. As with the above 2 style, the tuxedo can come as a 2 piece and 3 piece suit and is almost always black.

Tailoring video

Our Tailoring History

Over the years we have become one of the most well-known and respected bespoke tailors outside of London's Savile Row. In 1988 we were the very first bespoke tailors to feature on the BBC programme "The Clothes Show". In the same year Geoff was elected as the National President of the Federation of Merchant Tailors by his Savile Row peers, making him the youngest bespoke tailor ever to hold this prestigious office.

Following in the family name both of the Souster sons, Scott and Wes, work in the business, sewing, drafting, cutting and designing. They're now able to continue the future of the Souster name within bespoke tailoring.

One size does not fit all.

Indeed, it does not. When it comes to suits, it might not be as easy to shop for one as it is to shop for anything else. As seen before, there are several details that must be taken into account, which might be a problem for those who are not very used to or very fond of clothes shopping.

If your tolerance for this type of activity is not that high, don’t worry. Taking all your measurements takes about 15 minutes. Now that’s not a long time to wait in order to get a perfectly fitted suit, right?

Before heading for the shops, enlist the help of a friend, get a fabric measuring tape and make sure you are wearing clothes that fit your body.

Taking in your measurements before shopping will give you a better sense of what to look for and what types of suit may be more flattering on your body type.

Pay attention so as to not keep the measuring tape too tight and make sure all measurements are made to the nearest 0.25 inch since tailors usually allow some margin for eventual alterations you may deem necessary.

Here follows a list of some basic measurements usually required by most tailors.

Measuring For the Jacket

1.         Neck: Place the tape around your neck, at the level where your shirt collar would sit.

2.         Chest: Make a horizontal measurement, roughly at the nipple level, taking the measuring tape under your armpits and over your shoulder blades.

3.         Jacket Waist: At the bottom of the rib cage, measure horizontally around your stomach.

4.         Shoulder Width: As you read before, probably the most important measurement, as this measurement should be the same as your desired jacket’s shoulder width. Measure from the end of your left shoulder to the right of your left shoulder.

5.         Jacket Length: Taking into account where you would like your jacket to end, place the measuring tape just next to the collar and measure down.

6.         Left and Right Sleeves: Measure both, since as humans, you might be surprised with a few inches difference between the two. Place the measuring tape where the seams on the shoulder meet and measure down to where you want the sleeve to end.

Measuring For The Trousers

1.         To begin with, make sure that you are wearing the same type of underwear as you will do with the suit. This is important as different types of underwear hold the privates in a different way. As an example, boxer shorts provide no lift so you may want a slightly lower crotch area, whereas briefs provide lift and protrusion, so you may need to have a slightly extended zipper added. There is nothing worse for a man than having his privates mashed in ill-fitting trousers.

2.         Next, you want to get your waist measurement. The waist is the area directly above the hip bone and is where the waistband will sit when being worn. Run the tape measure around the width of the waist and take the measurement.

3.         Now you want to do the inner leg. To get this measurement simply place the tape measure to just beside the testicles where the leg meets the groin and measure down the leg to the ankle.

4.         Next, you want to get the outer seam. This is done by measuring on the outside of the leg from the waist to the floor.

Common Fabrics For Men's Suits

Other than structure and fit, one of the other additional important elements that might make your suit stand out is the type of fabric it is made of. Such as some of the elements before, the type of fabric can be more or less formal and you can, and should, consider different kinds of fabrics for different seasons - and also different occasions.

For example, polyester is a lightweight synthetic fabric which is very popular due to its affordability and durability. However, it is not the perfect choice for sunny afternoons, since it is not the most breathable of fabrics. A more natural choice would be wool, since it breaths well and is water resistant. Sometimes, wool-polyester combinations can be found, providing a nice balance between breathable fabric, durability and more suitable for tighter budgets.

Also within the line of breathable fabrics are cotton and linen, which are perfect for the summertime and more humid days. Why forsake comfort for the sake of style, when these fabrics allow you to have both?

One of the most famous, versatile, colourful and recently revamped fabrics is tweed, which can help you achieve that classic polished look. It’s a nice investment since, with proper care, suits made from this fabric can sustain years of use - it’s durability being part of what makes it so popular a choice,  even inspired the tradition of replacing the most worn out portions (such as elbows and cuffs) with leather patches.

A more high-end option for winter time is corduroy, a rigid form of velvet. Since it's more of a heavy fabric, it is not unusual for the wearer to choose trousers of a different fabric, so as to balance the look and level of comfort. Velvet is also another possible option for your suit, a statement of style reserved for those who like to stand out from the crowd. However, velvet suits are rare since the fabric is more vulnerable than some of the others previously listed.

Depending on your budget, the intended use for your suit, and the season you are most likely to wear it, the fabric is definitely a detail that is worthy of your attention. As it might be easy to imagine, the more refined the fabric, the bigger the investment will be - if budget is one of your concerns, make sure to go with the type of fabric you will be able to use most often and in different situations.

Geoff Souster grey suit

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Finishing touches.

Now that you learned all about suit structure, fit and fabric, it is time for finishing touches, and by that, we mean accessories. Fashionable ones, that might help you get your suit choice to a whole other level. Such is the power of accessories, that a lesser quality suit can be elevated by the careful choice of the perfect finishing touches.

The tie is probably the most universal suit accessory. It comes in different shapes and prints - some of them quite original, for those who like to give their looks a more personal touch - and it is timeless. A tie can definitely take your suit game to a whole other level. A tie’s best friend is the tie bar. Meant to keep your tie in place, it provides a small touch of bling to your look, and it may surprise you just how much it can raise your suit game.

For those with attention to detail and who like to push their personal style to the next level, the pocket square is not to be underestimated. It comes in various styles and colours - patterns are also an option and it can be used in a multitude of ways. For those who like an extra touch of individuality, pocket squares might be where you will find a way to make your personality shine through. Another way you can do so is with cuff links. They are also available in different colours, styles and designs - you might even be surprised with some of the options available!

Last but not least, the dress watch. If you up your suit game, make sure you up your watch game as well. The dress watch it’s an elegant, timeless piece that if chosen correctly, matches most suits.

Even though accessorising your look can complement it, be mindful of your personal choices. Try not to use too many accessories at once, as it might have the reverse effect and downgrade your look. Also, when choosing more of a personal accessory, such as a patterned tie or personalized cuff links, make sure those choices are in line with the type of event you are going to attend. You don’t want to risk looking too comical or loud at an event that is supposed to have a more serious tone to it. When in doubt, go with the more classic choices, since those will hardly ever let you down.

Final thoughts.

We hope this guide has provided some guidance to those who are looking to buy or replace a suit, and that it has given you some pointers in what to look for so that you can make a more informed purchase - one that does not compromise either your budget or sense of personal style.

Remember structure, fit, fabric and accessories. Make sure to be mindful of your choices and take into account which will be your suits main function, such as the season you would get more use out of it. Depending upon that, you will find it easier to make your decisions. Above all, make sure your personality shines through your choices since personality never goes out of fashion. Instead of letting your suit wear you, make sure you are the one using it, and that it provides you with the confidence you need. It didn’t use to be called the ‘power suit’ for nothing!

 

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