When it comes to buying a first suit, many have no idea where to start. Let me break it down for you.
This is the exact suit style you should buy: single breasted, two-button, dark grey, three-inch notch lapels.
And here’s why it has to be that way:
- Colour: Why grey? Because black is too formal for some settings and earth tones can be too informal. This is your first and only suit. You need to be able to wear it anywhere. Navy is also acceptable, but won’t serve as well if you have a funeral to attend.
- Style: Single breasted, two-button jackets are the dominant style in most workplaces (other styles can be too adventurous). Notch lapels are preferred over the more formal peak lapels; they should measure around three inches, as skinny lapels severely limit the ties you can wear.
Wasn’t that easy? Hold on, buying your first suit does gets a bit more complicated…
- Seasonality: This suit needs to take you through all four seasons. It can’t be too thick or too thin.
- Fit: If you try on a suit jacket and the shoulders don’t fit, put it back immediately. Shoulders are the only part of the suit that a tailor can’t alter — make sure they fit. As for tailoring, make sure the jacket extends to the top of your inseam and fully covers you in back. Sleeves should be graze the point where your thumb and wrist meet when your arms are at rest.
- Price: The quality of fabric and construction dictate the price. You’ll often see “super” numbers relating to the suit’s wool quality; the higher number, the better the wool (usually). If you’re on a budget, settle in the $US500 to $US750 range.
Plenty of makers — from Suitsupply to Banana Republic — sell perfectly serviceable suits. And for your first suit, that’s exactly what you need. Save patterns, other colours, and non-traditional styles for your second or third suit.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.