Get the Look for Less: Finding the Perfect Suit

Anyone who believes wearing a suit automatically makes him look bland need only take one look at Clooney, Craig, or more recently, David Beckham’s stylish way with the modern suit. Wearing it so well, Beckham manages to pull his own style into the gentlemanly look, combining elegance with his unique personality. You can do the same, even without a celebrity status, celebrity wife or celebrity budget.

Suit Style and Fit Tips

Your first order of business is finding a suit style that works with your physique. Double-breasted jackets may make a striking statement, but they don’t work for everyone. Larger men should opt for a jacket with two vents or slits, according to AskMen.com. Single-breasted jackets feature one or two buttons, with single button jackets generally being more flattering for the slimmer physiques. Three-button jackets work well for men over six feet in height. At the Gentleman’s Guide to Style, we prefer the 3-buttoned suit jacket for that “buttoned-up” appearance.

Suits Follow Fashion Trends

A jacket’s lapels can be either a high notch or low notch style. The high-notch or “peak” lapel is definitely making a comeback, especially in more formal suits. Take a look at Daniel Craig in his peak lapel tux. Steer clear of enormously wide lapels that channel a 1970’s game show host. Most people prefer to skip the waistcoat (also known as a “vest”) unless attending a formal affair – but we do think that wearing one in the office is a way to stand out a little from the herd. It also adds a layer of warmth in those winter months.

Rules of the Shirt

The jacket collar should hug the back of your neck, and the shirt collar should do the same while extending about one inch above the jacket collar. Lapels should lie flat on your chest. Shirt sleeves should reach the top of your hand where it meets your wrist and extend one-quarter inch beyond the sleeves of your jacket. Too much sleeve showing makes your shirt look too large or your suit look too small. Stretching your arms in front of your chest helps assess if you have enough room to move freely.

Stylish pants consist of flat-front trousers, rather than those with pleats, and a fit that allows you to stick one finger into the waistline without causing discomfort. Cuffs work better on taller men.

Suit Shopping Tips

Fabric: A cashmere suit may denote the ultimate gentleman, but that gentleman better have a high-end budget to afford it. You can instead find fabrics that still have a luxurious look and feel for a fraction of the cost. GuyStyleGuide.com recommends high quality cotton in lieu of the real thing.

Budget: Setting a budget for the full outfit, and sticking to that budget, is also helpful for keeping costs down. Don’t blow your entire budget on what you feel is the perfect shirt, for instance, when you still have the jacket, pants and accessories to purchase. Achieving a high-class overall effect is much more important than having an expensive shirt peeking out from beneath a chintzy suit.

Alterations: Small alterations may be worth the cost to adjust the suit’s overall fit to perfection.

Suiting Your Personality

Bringing your own personality into the ensemble is your final order of business, and accessories are a prime way to do it. A unique pocket square, tie, cufflinks or a slightly unusual shirt color are options. A dapper pair of shoes – or even better, a great pair of boots, is an absolute must. You can even get away with sandals if you pair the sandals with a lightweight summer suit.

Take cues from a celebrity look you admire and emulate it to the best of your ability. Be sure not to force a style to work on your body type if it simply won’t work. If you do decide to take cues from a celebrity, you should still adapt it into a style that is uniquely yours.

Whether you strive for a style like George Clooney or David Beckham, or prefer a more conventional look, you can achieve it while keeping your budget and your unique personality intact.

Note – the suit at the top of this post is the Ink mohair tailored fit black label suit from Charles Tyrwhitt.


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