The perfect suit for every type of guy

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 10, 2018.

If the shoulders do not fit properly when you first try it on, try a different suit — it is one of the things a tailor cannot easily fix for you.

Two-button jackets are the most common and most versatile type — the optimal choice for stocking a closet.

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From the office to weddings, from slim fit to beefy, your ultimate guide to the best off-the-rack men’s suits

A suit is a suit, right?

Wrong.

Most men’s brands offer up different interpretations of the wardrobe staple, which means stores are filled with a wide array of choices for discerning shoppers. From the fit to the fabric to the way it is constructed, the seemingly standardised suit can be spun off in a million different ways. And that is before we even talk about cost.

The good news is there is definitely a suit out there for you. The bad part is it may be an overwhelming endeavour to try to find it. To help you find your perfect match, we have combed stores and online markets — and even polled real guys — to find exactly what is different about each brand’s version. The result is a handy guide that will sort out suits by price point, fit, style, and occasion.

In the market for a new suit? You have come to the right place.

Five things to look for when trying on suits:

 

The shoulder

If the shoulders do not fit properly when you first try it on, try a different suit — it is one of the things a tailor cannot easily fix for you.

To get the right fit, first, with your arms hanging straight down at your side, check that the seam where the jacket’s sleeve attaches into the shoulder lines up exactly with the outermost point of your shoulder. If this feels too snug, do not worry — that means it fits, and will not give you sad linebacker shoulders. In fact, it is suggested that you should always try on one jacket size smaller than you think, as men generally overshoot.

Afterward, lift your arms up and move them around a bit to make sure the armhole is comfortable, but also know that the suit will loosen up (a little) over time. A good suit will break in and mimic the natural shape of your body.

 

Jacket length

An easy way to know if the length is right is to try on the jacket and turn your hands towards your body, then try to grab the hem — you should be able to easily wrap your top two knuckles around the bottom of the jacket. Another test: With your arms relaxed at your side, and your wrists hanging slack, clench your fists — your knuckles should be even with the hem or just a little bit shorter.

 

The sleeve

The end of the jacket sleeve should hit right where your thumb connects to your wrist, just enough space to allow a sliver of shirt to peek out.

 

Buttons

Two-button jackets are the most common and most versatile type — the optimal choice for stocking a closet. (Just remember to always keep the top one buttoned and the bottom one undone; buttoning both is a big-time style fail.) Jackets with three buttons are slightly stodgier, and, conversely, one-button suits look very relaxed, hip even. Double-breasted suits are having a resurgence as well. More formal and flashy, they tend to give the torso a boxier look, so we would suggest bringing along a really honest friend if you are trying one out.

 

The pants hem

There is a bit of wiggle room here on the proper fit, depending on how much “break” you like, meaning how much fabric fold there is as your pants hit your shoe or the floor. Today, no break is the cleanest and most modern look, meaning pants should end right around the ankle bone, leaving no divot from extra fabric resting over the shoe. Flashier, more fashion-forward styles go even shorter for a bit of a crop. — Bloomberg