Wardrobe Basics: The Suit Part I

Ah, the suit! It evokes many different images to different people - from uptight businessmen, to church and funerals settings, to secret agents. For some people there is a reason it is a four letter word, to others, they see it as the height of elegance. No other single item of clothing can be more flattering on a man, nor look so ridiculously comical, than the suit.

The suit, in its modern form, has been around for the better part of a century. Its origins are in the military uniforms of European powers of the 19th century (if you ever want to test this out, take the lapels of the jacket and close them over the chest voila). It has gone through many phases and makeovers over the past hundred years ranging from the tight fitting, hard-wearing, precision made suit of the late 1890s, to the zoot suit, from the (still popular) sack suit to the double breasted, English styles first conceived on Saville Row. Every man needs a couple of suits in his wardrobe even if he does not have the need to wear them on a regular basis. So this leads us to a question that many men have. When building a wardrobe, what does one look for in a suit?

While suits have generally become more and more scarce in the work environment, save for professionals such as bankers, lawyers and upper management, all men will have several occasions in their lifetime where it will be utterly vital that a suit be donned. Whether it be a job interview, a funeral, a wedding, a big presentation at work, or other such events, the wearing of a suit will show the people around you that you take the occasion as seriously as it deserves to be taken. And since you may not be donning them frequently, it is vastly better to go for quality over quantity. You will find over time that it is better to two or three really good suits than a wardrobe of mediocre ones that you dread the occasions you have to wear them. By buying a few, basic, quality suits you will save time and money over the long run money that can be used for those more impulse purchases.

When beginning the search for suit, especially your first real suit, the jargon and endless amounts of options can be overwhelming. Dont fret. To begin with, there are three different options you have: off-the-rack, made-to-measure, or bespoke. We shall only discuss the first two, but for those who would like to know, a bespoke suit is one that is made completely for the wearer. There are literally no limits, any detail or whim can be satisfied when choosing bespoke. When done properly, the fit of the garment will feel like your own skin. It is an indulgence that few men ever get to experience. This is mainly because it can take the better part of six months to make (from a tailor taking your measurements to receiving your suit) and its beginning price tag can start around at $3000.00. So for the more ordinary gentlemen out there, myself included, we will stick to off-the-rack and made-to-measure options.

Up Next: Off-the-rack and Made-To-Measure/Custom Suiting

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