If you can’t afford a bespoke tailored, or made-to-measure suit, a tailored to fit ready-to-wear is your best option. The absolute key is to start with a suit that’s already a pretty good fit. It’s essential that when you shop for a suit that you bring a belt, a tailored button down shirt, and shoes you’d wear with a suit.
“If people turn to look at you on the street, you are not well dressed, but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable.” – Beau Brummell
The anatomy of a pretty good fit means the pants fit high our your waist just below your navel with the seat lying loosely against your underwear. The jacket fits your shoulders and natural arm angle. With your jacket buttoned the jacket should not feel uncomfortable even while sitting.
If the suit passes the above test, it’s ready for more scrutiny.
Poor Fit Deal Breakers
Ok so you found a suit that sort of fits. On your quest to find the best candidates to achieve the perfect fit from a ready-to-wear suit these poor fit deal breakers should be taken seriously.
Rule #1 – Shoulder Dimples
If the sleeve of the jacket seems to dimple in just under the shoulder with a noticeable flare afterwards, the shoulders are too big. The shoulder padding is protruding beyond your arm and this makes the suit a no-go. If available, try a smaller size of the suit. Otherwise, you need to move on.
Rule #2 – Top Shoulder Wrinkles
If you are getting noticeable bunching of fabric on top of your shoulder, even while sitting, the jacket is too large in the shoulders. Most often this is a length problem, but it’s likely that you may not be broad enough to fill out the jacket in this size. Chances are you might lean on the slimmer side so lean more towards slimmer fit suits. However, this particular suit is a no go.
Rule #3 – Spiraling Sleeves
The perfect fit is a game of angles from top to bottom. Spiraling wrinkles on the outside of your jacket sleeve are a sign of bad sleeve pitch. This occurs when the natural angle of your arm doesn’t match the angle the jacket sleeve is constructed with. Perhaps the most difficult issue to alter to a perfect fit. Better to leave this suit on the rack from which it came.
Rule #4 – Jacket Buttoning Too Tight
Choose a single button on your jacket for testing fit. Look to see if the two side meet without the lapels hanging forward off your body or the lower edges of the jacket flaring out. The button should close easily without any pronounced wrinkling out from the closure. Too much wrinkling of the fabric out from the closure is definite deal breaker. Sometimes this caused because the jacket is just too tight. If it happens when the jacket otherwise fits, it’s more a of quality of fabric and lining issues. At any rate, put this suit back on the rack and keep looking.
Tailors Maketh Suit
If manners maketh man, a good tailors surely maketh suit. Perhaps you already have a good tailor, congratulations, the next steps will be a breeze for you. For the rest, make finding a good tailor with experience altering mens suits a priority. Any suit that you purchase off the rack will need additional adjustments to fit your body.
- Narrow the sleeves: Your sleeves should not be baggy as your raise your arm. From your forearm to your wrist your sleeves should have a slim fit without being tight.
- Shorten the sleeves: Ideally, you want your sleeves allow for half-inch of shirt cuff to be visible when your hands are at your sides.
- Shorten jacket length: The jacket should be long enough to cover your behind. If the jacket is too big have your tailor shorten it.
- Adjust pant length: Many options here however we suggest a nod to both the classic and modern look by going un-cuffed with clean break. For trendier leisure suits, definitely go cuffed with the break right at your ankles.
- Adjust the waist: Formal suits should fit just below your navel. You should be comfortable when you sit, stand, and walk. Make sure that your pants are neither baggy nor show that choked looked round your belly.
- Narrow the pant leg: Have your tailor pull the suit fabric in from around your shin up through your thigh. This will create a slimmer fitted look without being tight. Besides the fit of your jacket this is an immediately noticeable look of a fitted suit.
It’s Not The End It’s The Beginning
Before leaving your tailor try your suit on. Bring a belt, wear a tailored shirt, and bring shoes that you’d wear with your suits. If the fits not right have your tailor adjust it more before taking it home.
Lastly, we suggest that you start your journey with an essential simple black suit, followed by a gray and navy suit. These 3 suits will cover you for nearly every occasion as a rookie. So go forth and dress like you mean it.