You can shell out for the most expensive suit in the world, and if it doesn’t match your style or fit you properly, you’ll still look like a sad sack. On the flip side, make the right choices and you’ll be as cool and confident as James freakin’ Bond. To set you on the right path, we went straight to Bonobos, the red-hot men’s online retailer that recently launched a better-fitting suit line. Use these five top tips from VP of merchandising Brad Andrews and VP of creative design Sandra Hill to score the perfect suit today. They’re also hooking Made Man readers up with a sweet discount (see bottom.) Look great now, thank us later.
1. Keep It Classic
For a suit that won’t be hopelessly outdated in a year’s time, opt for proven colors and cuts. If it’s a plain suit, charcoal or navy is the way to go; you will get so much longevity with those colors. For a pattern, a navy pinstripe fabric is timeless, as is a darker grey like a Grey-Glen Check. For lapel size, never go to extremes with a super slim or extra thick lapel, as these will date quicker. More mature men should stick with a larger lapel, while younger guys can go for a slightly slimmer one. The zoot suit riot is long over, friends.
2. Find Your Fit
The biggest mistake guys make is getting a suit that’s too baggy or too tight. Follow these three rules:
1. The jacket should grab your shoulders snuggly but not strangle them. If the shoulders fit, pretty much anything else can be adjusted.
2. To determine the appropriate jacket length, you should be able to cup the bottom of it with your arms by your sides.
3. In general, with your arms down, a quarter-inch of your shirt cuff should show. With a heavier cuff, like a French cuff, you may want to show a little more.
3. Understand Jackets
The two-button jacket is the most versatile and flattering on most shapes. A three-button is more for the sartorial set and better on a slimmer build. Double-breasted is a sophisticated shape, ideal for formal occasions because it looks best buttoned all the way up. Two buttoning rules:
1. “Always, Never” for a two-button jacket, meaning always button the top button and never button the bottom button.
2. “Sometimes, Always, Never” for a three-button jacket, meaning you sometimes button the top, always button the second and never button the bottom. Got it? Good.
4. Pick Your Pants
Contemplating cuffs and pleats? With a cuff you don’t want a break in the pants, and it’s more appropriate for heavier fabrics such as a flannel or textured material. Pleats are for a guy who likes to be very tailored. It’s more of an Italian, no-socks European look. In other words, if you are unsure, skip the cuffs and pleats and go for slimmer pants that just drape the top of your shoes. This goes especially for shorter guys, who will never look taller with a cuff and pleat combo.
5. And If You Only Ever Buy One Suit…
…It should be the ever-versatile midnight navy suit. You can pair it with a white shirt and black tie for a more sedate look that’s appropriate for a funeral, pair it with a colorful shirt, a smart tie and a boutonniere for a dapper, head-turning wedding look, and for a night out, you can wear the jacket with your favorite slim-fit dark rinse jeans or the pants with an oxford shirt and tie. Totally killer. Mr. Bond would be proud.
BONUS! As we mentioned above, our friends at Bonobos are hooking Made Man readers up with an exclusive discount on their full Foundation suit (which you’ve seen a lot of in the pics above). Visit the suiting section of bonobos.com, choose color and sizes and add to cart. On the cart screen, enter the promo code MADE4BONOBOS for 15 percent off, the equivalent of nearly a hundred bucks! Note: one use per person, deal expires April 1, 2012. So why not do it today?