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How To Buy A Men’s Suit

alpha_m_image_consultingNothing makes us feel quite as attractive and confident as a well fitting suit. Wearing it has a way of making us feel powerful, and tends to bring out the best in us.

As a main player in everyman’s wardrobe arsenal, I recommend owning at least one suit; preferably more to include a variety of colors and fabrics. Time and time again, I hear men express concerns about buying a suit, so I’ve written this article to give you a basic guideline on how to choose the perfect suit that will look as good as if it was custom tailored to fit!

How Much Will It Cost?

Like anything else, suits have a wide price range. Often what determines the price is brand, material, style or store. An average suits costs between $200 and $400; however, I’ve found great suits for $99 on sale. Because we all like to save money, shop around for price or wait for a sale.

Where To Buy?

Department stores to men’s specialty shops sell suits. Where you choose to buy is often dictated by your wallet; regardless, I suggest you shop as many stores as possible, even the ones that may seem out of reach, because all stores eventually have sales. Besides price, an important factor in choosing a store is customer service. Find a store that has knowledgeable sales clerks who not only show you suits, but can properly measure you. There are Big and Tall stores for men of extra size. If you’re unable to find one of these stores in your area, shop online. Online shopping is an option for everyone; however, in order to buy the right size, I recommend you be professionally measured first.

Do I Have To Be Measured?

Yes, the proper measurement insures the proper fit, and is key to finding that perfect suit. Determined by your size, the measurements will include an even number, which is your chest measurement, and a length designated by either short, regular or long. An example is 40 Regular. Although it sounds simple, a proper fitting includes various combined measurements in order to arrive at your proper size. You can attempt this on your own, but I highly recommend a professional fitting.

Which Fabric Is Best?

There’s really no set answer to this question, but there are some preferred fabrics. Often, comfort and the fabric’s ability to resist wrinkling are priorities in choosing the best material for your needs. The time of year you’ll wear the suit can also be a determining factor. Naturally, in warmer months you’ll want a suit that is light weight and breathable. Colder months will call for a thicker fabric in order to be seasonal and keep you warm. Wool, a popular and durable, long lasting material is used for both summer and winter suits because of its versatility. Wool-polyester blends are another great choice because they wrinkle less and are easy to maintain; resulting in fewer trips to the dry cleaners. There are quite a few fabrics to choose from. Talk with the sales clerk and tell him your needs – I’m sure he’ll have helpful suggestions.

Which Style?

Most likely you’ll be interested in buying either a three button or two button suit. The three button suit is classic and can be worn by everyone. Two button suits are typically worn well by thinner men. Another choice, the double breasted suit is always in style. Besides being very sophisticated, being a fitter cut, this style tends to look great on a slender man. Try the different styles on and choose after seeing what looks best on your body type.

Lapels vary, also. The notched lapel is most common, and is seen on single breasted suits – business and pleasure – in addition to most blazers and sport jackets. Double breasted suits usually have a peaked lapel, which is pointed and more formal looking. Single breasted suits can be found with peaked lapels, but typically have a notched lapel.

What About Pants?

Although some suits have pleated pants, a flat front pant is the best choice. A flat front is more slimming and gives a streamline appearance. Also, expect to have the pants hemmed. Often, the store where you purchase the suit can do this service. If not, I suggest a tailor, so the hemming is done correctly.

Which Color?

Today’s popular suit colors are blue and grey; most often being navy and charcoal, although various shades of either color are acceptable. A black suit is considered more formal, and is usually worn for formal events and funerals. Although a good idea to own a black suit, if you’re going to own just one, choose blue or grey. Either color is acceptable for business or pleasure. Pinstripes are in style – preferably simple and subtle.

A Few More Tips

  • When shopping for a suit, wear the shoes you’ll be wearing with the suit, if possible. If you don’t own them yet, wear a shoe with the same size heal you’ll later buy. This is important for determining the length of the pants.
  • Wear a button down dress shirt to ensure proper fit and comfort of the jacket.
  • Refer to the following chart for How Your Suit Should Fit


Relax and enjoy the experience - you’re not alone in this venture. There are plenty of skilled and trustworthy professionals to assist you in buying the suit of your dreams!

by Aaron Marino

Past Topics

New Topics Added Weekly!
Smoke and Mirrors | Short Men’s Fashion -
December 16, 2011
Hello!  My name is Aaron Marino and I’m five feet-six inches tall.  If you’re one of the millions classified as short, I understand the wardrobe challenges we have.  Dressing can be especially frustrating and disappointing – from finding the right clothing to wearing it properly –  so, I’d like to share what I call the “smoke and mirrors” way of dressing to look taller. This artiRead More»
Improving Your Style from the Far East -
December 16, 2011
Over the past year, I have had the fortunate opportunity to visit Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea on separate occasions for leisure. During each of my trips to these east Asian countries, I not only experienced a wholly different culture, complete with unique languages, customs, and foods, but also the distinct styles expressed by the people in each country. I really did not know what to expect Read More»
Fashion Forward Over Forty | Middle Age Style -
December 16, 2011
As if turning 40 isn’t tough enough, having to wrap our heads around all the changes taking place with our bodies, health and image can be pretty overwhelming, not to mention a serious attack on the old ego. It’s difficult making the adjustments because in our minds we’re still 20 years old. But, it eventually gets to a point when we’re the only one seeing ourselves that age, and we need tRead More»
All Men Were Not Created Equal | Heavy Set or Skinny and Tall -
December 15, 2011
All men were not created equal!  Whoever said that we were didn’t understand fashion or style.  Our female counterparts have it much tougher than we do; many more shapes and curves to be aware of and try to accommodate or camouflage. But this doesn’t mean that we don’t have to pay attention or understand the basics.  Remember, fashion refers to the clothing itself, while the word style isRead More»

Out the Door Checklist | Preparing for a Date -
December 14, 2011
So, you are going out on the town.  It may be a hot date you have been working towards for months, or it may be your wedding anniversary, and you are surprising your wife with a well planned night on the town.  This night is special for more than just one reason. You took extra time and care while picking out what to wear. You put on a bit more deodorant (not your typical single swipe applicatioRead More»
Pleated and Flat Front Pants -
December 10, 2011
Aaron Marino of alpha m. has a big style pet peeve, which is men wearing pleated pants. If you wear your pleated pants up to your belly button, the pleats will lay flat. We don't wear our pants up at our belly button these days, so when we wear the pants at our natural waist, the pleats open up. The look is pear shaped with birthing hips. With suits, finding flat front pants is challenging. Do somRead More»
Men's Clothing Fabrics and Patterns  -
October 14, 2011
Aaron Marino Website Have you ever run across a word you don't know regarding fabrics or patterns? You know about corduroy but others are leaving you scratching your head. Aaron Marino of alpha m. is talking about the fabric names and differences. A fabric is what your clothes are made of: wool (sheep), cotton (plant), silk (worm), or synthetic (man-made). The way that the fabric is woven affects Read More»
Men's Dress Shirt Collar Options | Point, Tab, Pinned, Spread Collars -
September 30, 2011
To start, Alpha thought it would be wise by starting with an explanation of collar construction: collar points, collar point length, collar band, collar height, tie space, and spread. Now, Aaron Marino of alpha m. discusses collar styles. Obscure Varieties Band  - collar without the collar! It sucks. Don't wear! Stafford  - it's like ... uh... makes Alpha smile. Wing Up  - associated with tuxeRead More»
Wear a Vest and Kill It | Men's Dress, Casual, and Sweater Vests -
September 23, 2011
Alpha used to think vests looked amazing on other men but not him. But he realized he was being a pussy so he got a vest and looked awesome! He even got a compliment! That's all it took. He's now a vest wearing slut. Aaron Marino of alpha m. presents different kinds of vest and how to wear them. Vests are a great option for the layering enthusiast- adding character, depth, and dimension to what coRead More»

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