Men's suits come in 2 basic categories: wool and non-wool.
Non-wool suits include: linen, polyester, and microfiber.
Wool suits (best for a 'basic' buyer) include: flannel, tropical, tweed, and worsted. If this is your first suit, or a suit that a man will wear with some frequency, then worsted is the best place to start. A $100 worsted suit will have a yarn twist rate of between 60-80; while a $500 suit will often be called 100 or Super 120. The higher the twist rate, the finer the fabric, and the lighter the feel. There are some basic style features that you should consider before you make a purchase. Some of these include: color, lapel, cut, buttons, single or double-breasted, collar, shoulder pads, vents, arms, sleeves. Now, I know this can be a daunting task, but every man wants to get his money's worth. The jacket is the most complex part of any suit, including a 3-piece suit:
The "Cut"- of a suit refers to how the suit generally hangs off your body. There are three general cuts:
- The American cut- the industry standard, middle of the road suit cut. This is basically the normal type of suit you see people wearing, and should be your choice of cut for your first suit.
- The full cut- this kind of suit is not tapered at the waist, so it tends to hang straight down and allow more room at the waist. This is a good choice for a heavier man and comes with the two vents.
- The European cut- this one tapers at the waist, for a trim, fit look. This is often preferred by slimmer men, who do not have the tendency to gain weight. When buying a jacket, also buy a tailor.
Shoulder Pads: they help the suit to hang properly, make you look more muscular than you probably are, and make for a more slender look overall. But this isn't the 80s. So be very careful. Good pads will be stitched in, however its more likely that, unless you are spending over $750, your pads will be glued or fused into the shoulders.
Lapels: unless your trying to relive the Miami Vice 80s, they are a must have. It does not matter if you decide on high or low notch, but make sure that the lapel lays flat on your chest. Please I beg you, NO large butterfly lapels unless you are a pimp. Look for the small pipe-like stitches around the outside which are as close to invisible as possible.
Arms and sleeves: The sleeves should not be too short, but you do want to show some of your shirt sleeve. The basic rule of thumb is that the jacket sleeve should end at the point where your hands meet your wrists, this will allow you to show a quarter inch of your shirt sleeve; make sure that you don't feel like you're wearing a straight jacket and that you have free movement of your arms. As a test, bring your arms out straight in front of you, and try sitting in a chair and pretending you're writing or eating. Here you must decide, do you want to be comfortable or stylish?
Buttons: two, three, or four are all "normal", but always leave the bottom one (or 2 if you have a 4-button) undone. If you have an athletic build, a low button stance (lower down the suit front, below the lapels) is best. If you are husky, look for a higher button stance (above the beer belly, below the lapels) this will minimize the appearance of your very large GUT.
Vests: don't bother with one of these unless you're a CEO or anemic and always cold. These are for advanced suit-wearers only. However, I will walk you through a 3-piece suit on a later post.
Vents: the flap of cloth below the waist at the back and should cover your ass; one, two, or none (slits or vents) are okay, but remember that the larger-assed among you men should take two vents, and the flat or skinny-assed should choose no vents; either way, the jacket should still fit properly and not stretch out over this part of your anatomy. Look in the mirror and be honest about your fat ass, plain and simple.So basically, you don't want to look like this from the back. Thank You George W. Bush for setting a WONDERFUL example of what not to be and what not to wear!
There is more to come, remember this only covers the jacket part of the suit.