The suit is an essential part of any well-rounded wardrobe. Synonymous with smart, timeless style, pretty much everyone has worn one at one time or another. However, despite its ubiquitous presence in our everyday life, a good percentage of the male population are still not sure how to wear a suit. To ensure you’re not one of those, we’ve listed eight common mistakes to avoid when buying a suit.
Getting the Wrong Sleeve Length
Easy to perfect, yet often overlooked, your sleeve length plays a key part in the overall look of the suit. To get it right, a half-inch of shirt sleeve should be protruding from the end of your jacket; anymore, it’s too short, any less and it’s too long.
Buttoning Your Jacket Incorrectly
We’ll keep this one as simple as possible. Never, under any circumstances, button the bottom button (that’s tricky to say, right?). If your jacket has three buttons, remember this: top sometimes, middle always, bottom never. A one-button jacket? Fasten it when standing but keep it undone when you sit down.
Settling for the Wrong Trouser Length
Before we go any further, may we start with a definition? When talking about the correct fit of a pair of trousers, you’ll often hear people use the term ‘break’. Put simply, the break is the fold or creasing that occurs when the bottom of the front of the trouser leg meets your shoe. Now, whilst the ‘proper’ trouser length is a matter of much discussion, ultimately there are two options to ensure you get it right. 1. No break – where the trouser leg just grazes the top of your shoe. Or, 2. Slight break – a little longer. Opt for either of these and you’re on your way to sartorial greatness.
Going Over the Top with Accessories
Suit and tie rules; It’s good to accessorise right? Correct, but go overboard and run the risk of ruining your whole outfit. The trick here is to accentuate but not go over the top. Stick to a maximum of three accessories, and remember, less is more.
Forgetting to Remove the Stitching
Have you ever spotted that gent in the suit with a label stitched to the bottom of the sleeve or crosses at the vents? Yeah? He’s forgotten to remove the stitching. When you make your purchase, give the jacket a good look over and start removing anything that shouldn’t be there. Common places to look out for is the outer chest pocket, sleeve and back vents. The stitching you’ll see here is used to help keep the jacket’s shape whilst in transit, but should be removed as soon as you wear it.
Choosing the Wrong Jacket Length
Everything else can be perfect, but get the length of your jacket wrong and it wrecks the whole suit. To eliminate such risks, simply put your arms down at your side and let them hang naturally. If you’ve got the right size, the bottom of your jacket should end where your thumb knuckle is.
Buying a Jacket with Ill-fitting Shoulders
Unfortunately, this is probably the most common mistake to make. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid. When buying your suit, choose a jacket that’s snug, with the shoulder pads ending with the bone under it. The seam of the sleeve should be at the edge of your shoulder, and most importantly, shouldn’t crumple up. A good test is to lean against a wall – the shoulder pad and your shoulder should reach the wall at the same time.
Misjudging the Size of Your Chest
If you’re not aware of your chest size, get someone to measure it for you. Getting this simple measurement wrong can result in disaster. To test the fit, close the jacket with only one button and look to see if the two sides meet neatly without the lapels hanging forward (too loose) or the lower edges of the jacket flaring out (too tight). The button should close without any strain and there should be no wrinkles created from the closure.
Shop our selection of tailored suits, or take a look at our British men’s suits style guide.