Buying a suit can be a confusing experience. It's quite different to buying just about any other sort of clothing because there are so many different things you need to consider. There are also certain expectations that come with a suit that you just don't get with jeans and a T-shirt.
Fortunately it's not that difficult to figure out everything. Just make sure you keep in mind that the suit you are buying is an investment in your image. It is going to play an important role in creating favorable impressions for you, opening doors to better opportunities. If you can grasp that concept, then you can already understand why making good choices is so important when it comes to suit buying.
Choosing a suit essentially comes down to just three essential components:
- The fabric
- The suit style
- The lapel style
It's also very important to understand that you should never under any circumstances consider buying a suit off the rack. Those suits are really inferior and not very good value. If you don't want to look like a fool, you must only buy custom tailored suits. Anything less is beneath you.
There's a myth that custom tailored suits are more expensive than suits off the rack, but there's no real truth to it. In reality, many off-the-rack suits can be even more expensive than a custom tailored suit because what they save in terms of labor costs they have to make up for in other expenses that come from running a large commercial enterprise.
It's not impossible to find a good quality custom tailored suit for under $200 if you know what you're doing. That's not to say that it is the right choice for you. Cost alone should not be the sole deciding point. It's just a fact that the price tag has nothing to do with how good or bad the suit is.
Choosing the right fabric means looking at factors like what the climate is like where you'll be wearing the suit, how often you plan on wearing it, and things like that. For hotter climates such as San Diego or Los Angeles, it's better to choose linen or cotton because these fabrics are of lighter weight and will help you stay cool in the heat. In cooler climates, the better choice is wool because it provides good insulation and is easy to care for.
The choice of suit style comes down to single or double breasted. There are a few more unusual choices available, but they're not for every day wear. If you need one of those special suit types, you'll already know pretty much what you're looking for. A double breasted suit is normally for formal occasions, but in a business environment it can be employed for situations where you want to assert yourself strongly. The single breasted suit is a little less showy but it is a good style that will be comfortable to wear and looks good in any situation, as long as it is well-tailored.
Finally you have a choice of different lapel styles. It is best to forget about shawl lapels entirely, because they are not suitable for ordinary daily wear. You find these lapels on fancy dinner jackets, tuxedos, and the sort of thing you might wear to an awards ceremony or a casino.
That leaves you with peak or notch lapels to choose from. Notch lapels are the more conservative and traditional choice, while peak lapels are a bit more formal and assertive. Neither choice is necessarily right or wrong, but the notch lapel is a choice compatible with many different situations, where a peak lapel may sometimes be a little too assertive. In the end it's a personal choice and not really going to be a deal breaker most of the time.
You can get expert advice about all the different suit options from Studio Suits. They have an excellent website with lots of great articles on everything to do with suits, and you can also browse through their selection of suit types to get a good sense of what you think will work best for you.