Wearing a suit is a timeless way for a man to look professional, fashionable, and suave… but an ill-fitting suit can cause you to go from a James Bond look to a child-trying-on-his-father’s-clothes look.
The problem is that very few suits are going to perfectly fit your exact body type, no matter what your body type is. That’s because manufacturers cut their suits from one block to fit their target clientele (and the target clientele varies from brand to brand). Even if you luck out and buy a suit by one designer that fits perfectly, chances are a suit in the size by another designer isn’t going to be as good a fit.
Unless you plan to have all your suits made custom for you by a professional like Balani Custom Clothiers, you’ll probably find yourself needing to tailor your suits. Luckily, there are plenty of men’s fashion stores out there who keep a tailor on staff, and you should be able to get a suit tailored for a reasonable price. You can also buy a suit in a store and then take it to a local tailor with good reviews.
If you find yourself grumbling about having to pay for suit tailoring, just remember that it’s an investment. Whenever you go to an important event like a job interview, company networking night, or awards show (you might as well dream big), you’ll need a well-fitting suit to make a good first impression.
Tailoring an Off-the-Rack Suit
When trying on a suit in a store, there are a few things that you should look for:
Jacket. Start by checking the shoulders of the suit—this is something that men get wrong all too often. Despite what you may have seen or heard, the padding in the shoulders should not actually extend beyond the shoulders. If it does, you’ll look like you’re wearing a suit that’s too big for you (and you will be). Next, you should make sure you don’t feel any restriction across the chest or pulling across your shoulders when you button the jacket, as this is an indication it’s too small. Make sure that the jacket is tapered at the waist, and check that the sleeves end right at your wrists.
Pants. Make sure that the waistband feels comfortable but not too tight. Check the seat of the pants next—it should more or less be in line with your own body shape, meaning that there shouldn’t be extra, baggy fabric in back, but it also shouldn’t be too tight. Finally, check that the legs of the pants end right at your dress shoes. If the suit is pleated, you may also want to cuff the pants, while leaving out the cuff is a better look for flat front pants.
If any of the areas described above feel off to you, you should talk to your tailor about adjusting the suit for you. Here are 4 of the most common suit problems that a tailor can help you with:
The sleeves are too long. This just looks sloppy and makes your proportions seem off. Ideally, ¼ to ½ an inch of your dress shirt should show beneath your suit jacket. A good tailor can easily shorten a suit’s sleeves for you.
The waist is not tapered. If the waist of your suit isn’t tapered, it can cause you to look boxy and bigger than you are. What a tailor can do is suppress the waist, adjusting the shape of the jacket to follow the natural V-shape of the male body.
The pants are too long. Unless you’re a basketball player, suits almost always come with pants that are too long. Wearing pants that are too long can make you look shorter than you actually are and can cause you to step on the fabric of the pant legs, which wears the material out quickly and looks very unprofessional. Luckily, it’s very easy for a tailor to hem your pants to work perfectly with your height.
The shoulders are too wide. If the shoulders of your suit are too wide, the good news is that a tailor can take them in, but the bad news is that this is one of the costlier adjustments you can have done. It’s better to check the shoulders carefully when you’re first buying a suit so that you won’t have to pay for this alteration.
Whatever alterations you find yourself needing, don’t fear the tailor—getting a suit that’s flattering on you is an important part of looking like a professional and fashionable man.
Juliana Weiss-Roessler enjoys writing together with her husband Josh. Her writing has been featured on high-traffic websites, such as Yahoo.com, and in major publications, such as PARADE and People. Follow her on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.
Latest posts by Guest Contributor (see all)
- Parenting Tips: How To Help Your Child Choose A College - November 14, 2013
- Pieces to Keep You Warm Through the Fall - October 30, 2013
- A Fort Myers Golf Community To Fall In Love With - October 9, 2013