Monday, January 27, 2014

Six Things Every Man Should Know About Purchasing a Suit

Polo Ralph Lauren
Men have worn suits of some variation for hundreds of years; however, the modern suit did not become a staple of formal and professional men's wear until the mid-nineteenth century. The modern suit as we know it today (Modern in the sense, that men's suits have had the same basic shape, components  and style since the 1930's) has its origin in London England. Although, wearing a jacket, vest and pair of trousers was not new before mid-nineteenth century it became modern when tailors cut the three from one fabric and pattern.
There are three basic styles of the modern suit and even if fashion trends may dictate subtle variations in these styles the three fundamental shapes continue to be the same - single breasted, double-breasted and three piece. With regard to fabrics, colors, patterns, buttons, and vents the options are endless; however the traditional choices have continued as I have listed them below.


Blue (navy, royal or indigo), black, grey (heather, charcoal), tan (British or beige)


Cottons - corduroy, twill, poplin, madras, and seersucker
Wools - tropical, tweed, cashmere, flannel and gabardine
Synthetics - polyester and rayon


Stripes - pin, raindrop, chalk and shadow
Geometrics - windowpane, needle head, herringbone, donegal, Harris, tartans, and houndstooth

The Things Every Man Should Know


I - The Best Time to Buy a Suit is at the end of a season. The retail industry divides its business calendar into four inventorying and selling seasons - fall, winter, spring and summer. At the conclusion of each season, it’s vitally important for retailors to clear out the previous season's unsold merchandise in order to make room for the coming season's wears. The demand for space on the floor and in storage rooms along with the consumer demand for new merchandise pushes retailers to offer deep, deep discounts to move old stock. The best months in the year to buy suits are September and February, because they are the last months of their perspective seasons. 


II - The Relationship between Seasons, Fabrics and Colors is the second most important thing a man needs to know when purchasing a new suit. First of all, he should know that certain suit fabrics and colors are meant to be worn in the summer oppose to winter and early in the day oppose to later in the evening. For instance, because of their thickness and heaviness suits made of flannel, corduroy, and tweed are best worn in late fall and during the winter. While, in contrast, suits made of madras, seersucker, and poplin are best worn in warm weather or in tropical climates because of their lightness and breathable materials. Because of dark gloomy winter days, dark suits such a navy, black, and grey better suit the frigged climate and weaning sunshine.

 III - How To Select the Right Suit for The Right Occasion begins with determining the kind of impression you want to give at an interview, formal occasion or casual event. Dark conservative patterns and colors are best for interviews, funerals, indoor weddings, award ceremonies and evening events. While, bright colored light fabric suits such as poplin and seersucker are perfect for warm climate outdoor day events such as outdoor graduations, beach weddings, late morning brunches, early morning religious services etc.

IV - His Size and Suit Measurements are the most essential things a man ought to know before ever buying a suit. The perfect silhouette of a suit should be modestly stacked across the top, tapered in the middle and slightly spread at the bottom. A gentlemen's suit like most women's garments is supposed to enhance and flatter his existing shape and size. When a man's suit doesn't flatter his proportions he looks ill and out of sorts, it unintentionally exposes every unflattering and unattractive aspect of his appearance. The right suit measurements on a slender gentleman should make him appear fuller, a large fellow should look leaner, and a short man will look just a little bit taller. Therefore, have someone take your measurements before or during your shopping excursion. Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind when shopping:

  •  Ready-to-wear or off-the-rack suits are all premeasured and cut within a six inch difference between the jacket size and the trousers waist size. For example, the waist size of a size 40 suit jacket is 34 inches and for a 38 jacket it would be 32.
  • To figure out the difference between the European measured size and the United States measured size, you subtract ten from the jacket size to the get the America jacket measurement and sixteen from the trousers waist size to get the American size.
  • For general size descriptions such as small, medium, large and extra-large, the more specific range of measurements within each size are as follow: Small (38 - 40) Medium (40 - 42) Large (42 - 44) and Extra-Large (44 - 48). Furthermore depending upon a man's height the length of his suit will fall within one of these basic off the rack categories - if he is less than 5'9" (Short), between 5'9"- 5'11"(Regular) and taller than 5'11(Long).
  V - Which Prints, Patterns and Colors a Man Selects can seriously make or break how handsome he appears in a new suit. There are some basic guidelines you should take into consideration when selecting your suit patterns and colors, some were discussed previously; however, that was in relationship to seasons and events, now I want talk about size, height and complexion. For instance, heavy men should avoid wearing suits with large windowpanes, broad stripes and loud plaids. Men with very light skin complexion should stay away from light colored suits such as tan, white and light grey (the same goes for very dark complexion men as well). Tall slender men may want to limit the number of vertically striped suits they have to a minimum, the suits cause the effect of making look skinner than they are.

VI - The Sales Person a Man Buys His Suits From can really make a difference as to how comfortable and confident he feels after he has made his purchase. Because I work in retail, I can say with certain amount of authority that most men no nothing about purchasing a suit. They come in most cases to buy a suit because some occasion has come up for which they are  required to wear a suit to in order to attend. Many times, they don't know their size, they're not sure what kind or color suit they should be wearing for the event and they have no idea as to how much a suit cost. Because of their lack of knowledge they can be easily preyed upon by some scruples salesman just trying to make a huge sale. However, a good salesmen isn't just looking to make a sale, to the contrary he's looking to establish a long-term friendship. Here are the five characteristics of a good salesmen:

  • Attentive and considerate
  • Patient
  • Knowledgeable of the product and fashion
  • Anticipates other needs you may have
  • Make themselves available to every time you come in (he's your guy or gal)
Pictures Courtesy of: Polo Ralph Lauren ands Indochino

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