Know what you want before you walk in the door to purchase a suit

Have an idea of what you want before you get to the store. Look at what other people are wearing, check out magazines and ask friends for advice. This is important because it will better equip you to walk out the store with what you want. The sales guy will tell you whatever you want to hear so it’s important to know what you are after. The sales guy’s sense of style will almost certainly be different from yours and since he sees thousands of suits he will most likely want to steer you into something more trendy than what you want.

Why are you buying a suit in the first place? Is it for a one off event or will you be wearing it to work more than once a week. Is this your first suit or your tenth? These questions are important because the more you will wear the suit and the fewer you own, then the more classic and plain you will want the suit to be. Imaging if you walkout with this seasons hippest suit, you will look great at your friends wedding but will start to look silly if you wear it to work twice a week. If the suit will be worn often then a classic dark suit is the best choice. Use ties and shirts to provide flair, they’re cheaper and more versatile than a suit.

Grab a trusted friend and hit the store, leave your wife or girlfriend at home. A woman’s advice is a great thing, but this is like tool shopping. Take a pair of dress shoes and a dress shirt with you so that you can see how the suit will look when you are properly decked out. Department stores are a great place to start as the selection is large and the price range is vast. Take a look around, see what is available in your price range, get a lay of the land and then ask for assistance.

Get a good fit. This is where the sales guy can really help you. The suit should feel good. The suits shoulders should conform to your shoulders and the shoulder pads should not protrude beyond your own shoulders nor should they be too narrow. The chest of the jacket should be comfortable and not look like an empty potato sack, but fitted across your chest. The length of the sleeves is always changing, look at an old photo of Dean Martin for the 50’s short sleeves or to the 80’s for longer sleeves. A comfortable length is for the sleeve to come down about an inch past the wrist. What comes out of your sales mans mouth about what he sees about the suits fit should jive with how the suit feels to you.

Once you have found a suit that you like and that fits you well, it is time to be chalked up for alterations. These guys are experts but not miracle workers, so make sure that they make the necessary adjustments to make your suit fit perfectly but don’t try and get a suit that doesn’t fit in the first place to fit through alteration, you won’t be happy. When you pick up your suit after it has been altered be sure to try it on again and don’t be afraid to ask for more changes.

How many buttons? Three button suits became popular in the 90’s and have now attainted the status of being part of the canon of suit styles. Two button suits, the more classic number, are on the rise again in part because designers want to create new reasons for you to buy a suit. Try on both styles and see what you prefer and go with it.

Want to learn faster and see the steps in action? Watch our large format, easy to follow streaming How to Tie a Tie Video.

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