The first step to selecting a good suit is to decide on the type of suit you want. There are a few different types of suit you can choose, the lapels are currently setting the trend at the moment as they are getting skinnier and skinnier, however these suits won't be in fashion for much longer as they have almost finished their trend cycle, it you are spending good money on a suit you may want a more classic style. On a classic suit the lapels come out half way to the shoulder. Double breasted suits have been out of fashion for a while but are making a comeback, once again, double breasted suits come in and out of fashion. If you are going for a classic look opt for a two button suit, this will always be acceptable and won't go out of fashion.
The best suits are made with canvas interlining, most bespoke suits are made this way, cheaper suits are made by fusing or gluing the fabric together, and most suits you find on the racks are fused these days, even the more expensive brands. There are two main ways you can make a suit with canvas interlining, full canvas or half canvas, I would recommend the half canvas, which will ensure a good fit accross the chest. The full canvas can be a little overkill and makes for a heavier suit.
The fabric you choose for your suit is important. A great fabric will drape better, these days the better suits will be made from super fine wool, thread counts would start at 100s and could go as high as 200s, but be careful going for too high a thread count, the higher the count the lighter the material can be and the more it will wrinkle. Italian fabrics have always been considered superior to any others, they buy the finest marino wool from Australian and New Zealand farmers and are the experts at creating the finest fabric.
Look at the pattern in the fabric. Even plain fabrics can have a subtle patterning, so consider how that will look as you move around in your suit. The most fashionable fabrics today have a subtle stripe in the fabric which is created by a shine rather than a different colour, and the stripes are ussually multiple, they may have two thick stripes followed by a thin stripe for example. Consider the colour of your suit, in the corporate world there are three or four basic colours you can wear, Navy, Charcoal, or Grey, you may be able to get away with other dark colours such as a bottle dark green or brown in some circles. Black is not worn much in corporate, however you could wear a black with a pin stripe, but be careful, the black pin stripe is a very powerful suit and you are not going to look very approachable in it, it is also a little bit 1980's.
The fit of the suit is the most important factor. You can really tell a good suit by the silhouette and the way it drapes, the length is also very important, in the sleave, the trouser length and the jacket length.
Always go for the best fit possible, I would recommend having your suit tailor made as a suit will rarely fit you straight off the rack. If you cannot have your suit tailor-made to suit your body, the following tips will help you to get the best fitting suit available.
The shoulders in the suit should be no more than 1/2 an inch wider than your own shoulder, and it certainly should be no narrower than your shoulders, otherwise the suit will either sag at the shoulder and will look terrible after a while, or it will be uncomfortable and make your shoulders look narrower than what they are. Make sure your sleeve length is correct, sleeve length should start with your shirt, your shirt sleeve should come right up to the start of your hand, and should be long enough to stay there when you bend your arm. The cuff should be snug on your wrist so the sleeve does not travel further down your hand when you have a straight arm. Once you have a shirt that fits perfectly on your arm the suit sleeve should be about 5 to 8 millimeters shorter, showing just that amount of shirt sleeve beneath the suit. Watch out for different length in your arms, your right arm may be either longer or shorter than your left. With a bespoke suit it is possible to have working buttons on your sleeves, however you need to ensure that both your sleeve lengths are correct, as the suit can't be adjusted once the working buttons are put on.
Move around in the suit. If the suit is too tight, you will be uncomfortable and it will show in the suit. No-one looks good in a suit that the shoulders are straining to get out of because it is too tight. You should have room to move in the suit and the button at the front should not pull tight. The length of the jacket is important, a classic mens jackets should come down to the nuckles, you should be able to cup your fingers under the jacket, and it should fit snuggly in your hand. These days the trend is slightly shorter jackets but if you intend your suit to be lasting more than a couple of years stick with the classic styles.
Pants should fit you perfectly, so you can wear the pants without a belt, the belt should not be used to hold up the trouser as it always ruins the drape of the trouser. Optimally you should wear braces or suspenders with your suit for superior drape. If you are going to do this get your trousers made without belt loops and with buttons on the inside for your braces, wearing braces with a belt is a faux pas as is leaving belt loops empty. Pleats are used to give a superior drape to your pants though today it is fashionable to wear pants without a pleat, go for a snug, but comfortable fit. Avoid trousers that are too baggy or loose as the material will sag.
Buying a suit is a big investment in your wardrobe and you want a suit that makes you look terrific. Spend time in choosing the fabric and type of suit you need. Think carefully about the fit and make sure your suit fits well, without sagging in the wrong areas.
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Article Added on Wednesday, May 11, 2011
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