Whether you’re looking to update your wardrobe, a New Year’s Eve outfit, or you have a wedding to attend next year, choosing the perfect suit is an essential for your wardrobe all year round. We’ve all seen people wearing suits that don’t fit correctly, and we’ve all seen people wearing suits that fit perfectly - the difference is startling. A well fitted suit that looks as though it’s been expensively tailored just for you can transform you from 80s baggy nightmare to James Bond sophisticated. If you’re choosing the perfect suit, you’ll want to aim for the latter.
Buying a suit that fits right can often throw people off, especially with the variety of styles, fits, materials and colours now available. Choosing the perfect suit can be a minefield of mistakes and frustrations at the best of times, but buying a suit that truly fits you the way it should is another matter. Here’s our ultimate guide to get you started when choosing the perfect suit to buy that fits you perfectly.
Shop For Your Build
The first thing to do when choosing the perfect suit is to consider your build. It used to be that there were a few shapes of suit available that you’d have to somehow fit yourself into, but this is no longer the case. Most retailers now carry an array of new fits to cater to more people. Be realistic about your build, if you have a bigger build then avoid a slim fit suit - but don’t go so far in the opposite direction that your suit is flapping in the wind. Remember, no matter what size or shape you are, a suit should be fitted. If you’re really confused, just take your measurements before you go shopping and get your size in every suit fit you can find. Men in particular are bad at trying things on, but when it comes to choosing the perfect suit, trying on isn’t optional. Try them all and find the one that looks and fits the best.
Don’t Breeze Over Trousers
A suit is the entire outfit - including the trousers. Many men focus so much on the fit of the jacket they breeze over the trousers or just go with whichever trousers come with the jacket. The fit of your trousers is just as important as the fit of your jacket when choosing the perfect suit. And don’t be fooled by suits that have a stretch, you still have to find trousers that fit right; If you’re tall and have long legs you’ll want to opt for a slim fit and avoid relaxed fits, if you’ve got thicker thighs but skinny calves, you’ll want to opt for a tapered fit. Suit trousers should also sit flush around the waist without needing a belt to hold them up. Unlike other trousers, suit trousers aren’t designed to sit low, so if you’re used to a baggier trouser you’ll need to bear this in mind when trying on suit trousers.
Trouser Breaks Explained
When we talk about trouser breaks, we mean the point at which your trouser cuff meets and sits on the shoe. It might seem like an unnecessary step to take when choosing the perfect suit, but the break of your trousers affects the overall appearance of your outfit. Have you ever seen a man wearing a suit where the trousers pool around his feet comically? You want to avoid that look. Breaks can also affect the visuals of your body; a shorter man opting for no break can make him appear taller, whereas a tall man can opt for a full break to balance his proportions. You have to choose your break carefully though. Trousers that are too long will look silly as they pool around your feet, whereas trousers that are too short will look like they’ve shrunk in the wash. Remember, the point of choosing the perfect suit is to make sure it looks like it’s been tailored just for you, so it has to look right on your body and flatter your body and leg shape. If you really struggle, you can always get a tailor to alter the length to exactly the right place.
Trousers with no break barely touch the top of your shoe. A little bit of visible sock is ideal and can give a sleek, clean visual, but be careful to understand the difference between a little sock and too much sock. Trousers that sit too high and expose too much sock will make it look like you borrowed your little brother’s trousers. Having no break is good for shorter men who want to add some visual height. It also suits men who want to go for a fashionably rigid silhouette.
Half Break (or Medium Break)
A half break, also referred to as a medium break, is the standard for a suit trouser. The hem of your trouser should just rest lightly on the shoe above the laces at the front, and just cover the highest point of the shoe at the back. It is the most common break to have as it suits all leg shapes and lengths, works for any style of suit and is comfortable. If you’re unsure about which break to go for, sticking with a half break is the safest option.
A full break is where the hem of your trouser rests firmly on top of the shoe, covering the entirety of the laces and socks. This will create an entire fold in the fabric around that runs all the way around the shoe. This should generally only be considered for men who are taller as it’s incredibly difficult to pull off. It’s worth noting that more modern fashions tend to opt for a shorter leg, so even if you are tall it may still be better to go for a shorter break to avoid the dreaded 80s businessman look.
Cuffed hems are popular in modern styles of suit, so if you’re planning to choose this style then you need to take into consideration that they break differently than regular cotton or wool trousers. Cuffed hems shouldn’t be paired with a full break, as the fold in the fabric will cover the cuff from view. It’s better to opt for either no break or a half break so that the cuff just brushes the shoe. Cuffed hems can also look odd resting on a pointed dress shoe, so ironing a crease into the front of them give a nice pointed shape that looks and sits better.
Suit Fits Explained
A regular fit suit is cut with a full chest and full arms, giving a lot of space. Regular fit suits tend to be the ones that men opt for when they’re not really sure what build they are. It is widely considered the safe option by many, but this is often what causes them to look generic and untailored. While the regular fit is a classic cut that works well, it is also considered a more old fashioned fit compared to the slimmer cuts now available. The trousers that come with these suit combinations are usually straight leg, though many retailers now offer more than one style leg for a jacket.
A tailored fit suit is a more fitted version of the regular fit suit. A tailored fit will give you more shape than a regular fit and is the best option for most men who want a good middle ground between the bagginess of the regular fit and the tightness of the slim fit. A tailored fit jacket is generally cut closer to the chest than a regular fit and the arms are a bit tighter for a more sleek look. Tailored fit trousers are generally cut to sit a bit lower on the waist with a more modern slimmer leg than the regular fit, but not as slim as the slim fit.
The slim fit suit is one of the modern and preferable cuts available. They are slimmer in the leg, with the suit jacket for a slim fit being a little shorter than a regular fit, and featuring darts sewn into the back. If you don’t have a slim build it’s better to avoid this suit cut and opt for the tailored fit instead.
The muscle fit suit is specially tailored for a more muscular frame. It is cut to emphasise shoulders arms and chest, with the trousers cut to fit muscular thighs. If your shoulders are too broad to fit into a slim fit suit, but you want more shape than a tailored fit, the muscle fit is perfect for you.
Skinny & Ultra Skinny Fit
The skinny fit and ultra skinny fit suit are designed for those who want an ultra streamlined look to their silhouette. Skinny fits are cut close to the body to emphasise the body shape. You don’t need to be skinny to wear a skinny fit, though if you are a bigger build it’s better to avoid this cut.
Whatever style of cut you go for, the most important thing when when choosing the perfect suit is to ensure is that it fits you correctly. Make sure the shoulders fit neatly around your frame and there isn’t too much or too little fabric to move comfortably. Your jacket should be fitted and comfortable around your chest with no excess fabric slouching. You should be able to stretch your arms and back comfortably.
Suit Material and Colour
Black is usually the first colour that people think of when they think of suit colour, and while there is nothing wrong with a black suit, it’s considered a generic and outdated colour if you’re not attending a funeral. Colour suits are now highly fashionable and range from brown to purple, red to cream, and everything in between. Navy is now considered the go-to suit colour, and blue suits of all shades are popular because of how easy it is to pull off the colour and how suitable it is all year round. If you’re not sure which colour to go for but want to stick to something a little more conventional, give grey, charcoal and navy a go. Or if those colours don’t suit you, opt for a brown, burgundy or dark red. Emerald green and purple have also become popular over the last few years. The colour of your suit will depend on the season and occasion; a summer wedding will require a different suit than a New Year’s party. Popular summer suit colours include pale blue, beige and cream, which look great with a white shirt. For the more fashion-conscious, pastel colours have become increasingly en vogue in suits as of late, as has pure white. The great thing about choosing the perfect suit is that there are so many colours available now that you can find something truly unique to your tastes.
When choosing the perfect suit, the material you go for can play a big part in the overall look you want to achieve. There are several things to consider when looking at fabrics; the weather, the season and the occasion all play a part in choosing materials. Will you be driving or travelling in the suit? Then you’ll need something crease-resistant. Do you need the suit in the summer or a hot country? Opt for linen or cotton to keep you cool. Winter options include the classic wool suit, though velvet suits are highly fashionable too. Do you want a patterned suit or plain? Take a look at the kinds of material available when you go to try on your suit and try a few options to see which you prefer.
The Finer Details
There are three kinds of lapel available on most suits - notch, peak and shawl. A notch lapel is the most common variety, where the bottom of the collar and the top of the lapel are at a 90’ angle. Peak lapels point towards the shoulders. Shawl lapels are flat and have no notch.
The number of buttons you have on a suit will make a difference to how it fits and how it looks. Three buttons suit are better for a taller man, whereas a single button is better for smaller builds. A good rule of thumb is to keep the jacket unbuttoned while sitting.
Most suits have vents in the back of the jacket, which not only help with moving comfortably but also add shape to the suit. The vents can come in single or double, with one vent wider than another. The style of vent depends on what feels more comfortable and looks the way you like.
Pocket squares are still fashionable in many circumstances, so if you know you’ll be attending an event that requires one, it’s good to know the rule of the pocket square. While it all comes down to personal preference, the rule of the pocket square usually dictates that it should be a complimentary colour and style to that of your tie or bowtie, but shouldn’t be in the same fabric.
Stitching details are something that aren’t too common in suits, but if you find a suit that has some detailing with the stitches, like contrasting on the lapels or pockets, this can be a feature that makes you stand out from everyone else.
Complete The Look
When choosing the perfect suit, you’ll want to add accessories such as cufflinks, belts, and tie pins to give your suit a refined and sophisticated look. Here are our top picks to complete your suit.
Cufflinks UrbanWalker by Montblanc
Product Code: KM00057
Supplier Reference: 107596
UrbanWalker cufflinks are a reflection of their time. Made of stainless steel with a red gold-coloured PVD finish and a floating Montblanc emblem, this staple proposes endless possibilities to highlight one’s style and personality.
Cufflinks Meisterstück by Montblanc
Product Code: KM00024
Supplier Reference: 110659
Meisterstück cuff links celebrate understated style and elegance. The timeless bar motif in onyx combined with stainless steel creates a jewel with a powerful Montblanc signature.
Montblanc Heritage Rouge et Noir Silver Serpent Tie Bar
Product Code: KM00062
Supplier Reference: 114753
The Serpent collection pays tribute to the design of the vintage Montblanc Heritage Rouge et Noir writing instrument from 1906. This tie bar in sterling silver with red lacquered eyes is the perfect combination of essential functionality and sophisticated elegance.
Black Montblanc Leather Belt
Product Code: KM00087
Supplier Reference: 114387
This Montblanc belt features a trapezoid palladium coated brass pin buckle on a self-adjustable reversible black plain leather strap.
Black & Brown Montblanc Leather Belt
Product Code: KM00088
Supplier Reference: 111633
This Montblanc belt features a shiny red gold-coated brass horseshoe buckle on a self-adjustable reversible black & brown leather strap.
Michael Jones Jeweller
If you have the perfect suit and are looking for the perfect accessories to go with it, our collection of luxury men’s accessories features a variety of stunning pieces. We have showrooms in both Northampton and Banbury, so if you live locally to those areas, visit us and take a look at what we offer. Alternatively, you can browse and shop online here.
In Northampton, we’re based on Gold Street and in the Grosvenor Centre; in Banbury, we’re on the High Street. To get in touch with us, ring any of our showrooms; for Gold Street it’s 01604 632 548, for Grosvenor Centre it’s 01604 636 633 and for Banbury it’s 01295 263 540. Alternatively, send us a message through the online contact form on our website.