suitsPurchasing suits can seem like an overwhelming task. With so many different styles and sizes, how are you supposed to know what looks good on you? Where do you begin?

Although you always have the option of getting a men’s tailor to alter the suit, there are several guidelines that you should keep in mind before buying one. Following are ways you can test for fit before opening your wallet.

Getting the Best Fit With Your Suits

Wear a dress shirt and dress shoes to the store. This way, you will look for suits that match what you already have, and you will see how the entire ensemble looks before committing.

When being measured, do not puff out your chest or suck in your stomach. For the best fit, stand as you normally would.

When trying on a suit jacket:

  • Stand sideways against a wall. If the shoulder pad touches before your arm, it’s too large.
  • About a quarter inch of the dress shirt cuff should show when your arms are at your sides.
  • A three-button suit fits well if you button the middle one and the lapel rolls over the top button.
  • When the jacket is buttoned, the lapels should lie flat on your chest, otherwise it is too small. A notch lapel is most common, but a peak lapel is an older, more elegant style. Choose whichever you prefer.
  • A center vent is a classic style, but if you want a more European look, try jackets with side vents. Avoid jackets without vents.

When trying on pants:

  • Your pants should end about one inch above your shoe’s sole. Do not let your socks show or your pants drag on the ground.
  • Generally, if your pants have a plain front or if you are less than 5’ 9” tall, your pants should not have cuffs. Pleated pants may have cuffs.

There is one more aspect about finding well-fitting suits that is easy to forget – make sure they feel comfortable. Don’t feel like it has to be uncomfortable just because it is formal. Remember, you’ll be spending most of your workdays in this suit. Don’t let it choke or constrict you, and make sure you can move freely. For success in any work environment, you must always look and feel your best!

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Ralph Lauretta

About Ralph Lauretta

Ralph is a co-owner of Sal Lauretta for Men. His areas of expertise include custom clothing as well as being the primary clothing buyer for the store. When not at work you can find him hanging out with his family, reorganizing his garage or watching a Denver Broncos game.

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