How to Buy a Suit

Every girl’s crazy about a sharp-dressed man, so learn how to find a suit that will help you look your best.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Measure your upper body Measure your upper body with a tape measure. Your chest is measured around the fullest part; your sleeve length is measured from the back of your neck under the collar, over your shoulder, down your arm, to one inch below your wrist. Measure your neck loosely around the fullest part and round up to the next one-half inch.
  • Step 2: Measure your lower body Measure your lower body with a tape measure. Your waist is measured at the spot between your ribs and hips where your body naturally bends. Find your inseam by measuring a good-fitting pair of pants from the top of the inner pant leg seam to the bottom of the pant leg.
  • TIP: Although its length can vary according to style, traditionally a suit trouser should fall to the heel of the shoe and sit around the third lace on the shoe’s upper. Keep this guideline in mind when measuring inseam length.
  • Step 3: Choose the cut Pick the suit cut that flatters your body type: the wider American cut for larger builds; the longer and narrower British cut for average, athletic, or tall builds; or the closely fit European cut for slim builds. Avoid double-breasted jackets if you are heavy-set, short, or need versatility.
  • Step 4: Choose the fabric Choose the fabric of your suit. Wool is the most common and versatile suit fabric, but linen, twill, and cotton blends might work better in hot climates. If your suit must serve many purposes, choose darker colors and subtle patterns; otherwise try colors and patterns that express your personality.
  • Step 5: Get the right fit Try on suits, starting with the size that equals your chest measurement, or your waist measurement plus six. The jacket collar should lay flat against your neck, and the sleeves should start at the shoulder and extend to your wrist; your pants should sit snugly on your waist and cover your socks when you stand.
  • TIP: If your suit doesn’t fit off the rack, fit your shoulders and torso first; and then have a tailor alter the pieces to fit. Many men’s clothing stores offer free tailoring with a suit purchase.
  • Step 6: Choose the right accessories Choose accessories to complete your look, including a dress shirt and tie in complementary colors. Shirt sizes are indicated by your neck size and, if long-sleeved, sleeve length; if you have a narrow waist, look for trim or tailored-fit dress shirts.
  • Step 7: Put all the pieces together Put all the pieces together: jacket, trousers, shirt, and tie. Now you’re ready for a multitude of social occasions, from a job interview to a wedding!
  • FACT: The formal men’s suit of jacket, vest, and breeches dates back to the reign of French King Louis XIV, during the late 1600s.

You Will Need

  • Flexible tape measure
  • Good-fitting pants
  • Shirt and tie
  • Tailoring service (optional)

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