A Gentleman’s Guide to Buying a Suit (That Fits)

How to Get the Right Measurements and Add Your Own Personal Style

buy a suit

Rapper/actor LL Cool J once said, “Man made the money, money never made the man.” Boy, was he right.

It’s almost heartbreaking to see a young man, or a man of any age really, walk into a job interview or a special occasion wearing an ill-fitting suit. It screams nothing more than, “Help me!”—especially when he usually looks cool and put together.

To avoid being that guy, here are some tips for getting heads to turn as you “make money moves” in a proper-fitting suit.

Editor’s note: Faithfully Magazine may earn a commission on purchases you make through our linked affiliate partners.

How Your Suit Should Fit

Grab a measuring tape like the one shown above for $6 at Amazon. (Photo: Rawpixel/Unsplash)

A well-fitting suit is like catnip to women. Just ask around. And it all starts with knowing your measurements, body type, and what color combinations suit you best.

Goal: Get your measurements.

What you’ll need: a few minutes, a friend, paper and pencil (or your cellphone), and a soft measuring tape like this one.

Start with your chest and lay the measuring tape around the fullest part, bringing it back around to exactly where you started. Record that number.

Next is your neck measurement. Place one finger parallel to your neck to allow for ease, bringing the measuring tape back around. Record that number as well.

Now, taking the measuring tape, lay it across your center back and keep it straight, taking it all the way down to your wrist. Record that as your shirt length.

Next is your waist, which is easy and done the same as your chest measurement.

Lastly, with a pair of pants on, nothing baggy, lay the measuring tape where both pant legs meet just at the crotch and bring it down to the floor, stopping at the top of your shoes. That’s what is referred to as your inseam—write that number down.

So in the end, you should have the following info: chest, neck, sleeve length, waist, and inseam measurements. Keep these handy for when you go shopping.

Here’s a video on how your suit should actually look and feel once you’ve mastered your measurements.

Personal Style for Your Suit

Perry Ellis 2 Piece Slim Fit Black Textured Suit
Perry Ellis 2 Piece Slim Fit Black Textured Suit ($200)

Not every suit style is for everyone, but there are a few that are a must-have for any man’s closet.

The classic black suit is great for formal occasions and can be broken up into a plethora of other fits just by mixing the jacket and pants with other shirts and pants that you currently have.

A navy wool suit that is still breathable is always great for job interviews when paired with a white shirt and black shoes. I prefer mine to be a slim fit with no more than two buttons in the front.

Cotton khaki suits are great for warmer seasons and always pair well with a patterned shirt and clean white tennis shoes. Give it a try.

Lastly, nothing says “I mean business” more than a double-breasted suit in pinstripes or a solid fabric.

Accessories for Your Suit

(Photo: Alisher Anuarbek/Unsplash)

The finishing touch to any fit are the shoes, socks, belt, watch, and of course, tie. There are so many options in terms of prints, colors, and patterns that all you have to do is choose one.

Socks are easy, just make sure they match, or just stick to basic black. Red evokes power and goes great against darker shades like black and navy, topped off with a white shirt.

Pastels and prints like florals, plaids, and stripes work well when done in a subtle way like a slim-fitting tie or pocket square. Also, try reaching for a lapel pin or tie bar to gain some extra style cred.

With shoes, keep it simple and stick to black or brown—black for formal settings and brown to warm up your look. Stay away from anything with a square toe. And you can never go wrong with a pair of penny loafers.

Check out some of my recommendations for suit accessories below.

TIES

BOW TIES

(Photo: Sonny Ravesteijn)

SHOES

(Photo: Rosie Fraser)

ACCESSORIES

(Photo: Nick Karvounis)

BELTS

SOCKS

(Source: Pinterest)

Have a question about this article, or need further advice? Email me.

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    Written by Mark E. Menzie

    Mark E. Menzie is a fashion designer who divides his time between New York City and Newark, New Jersey. He’s constantly featured in blogs and magazines such as Fashion Bomb Daily, Glamour, GQ, New York, Seventeen magazine and WWD for his work as a fashion designer, along with his unique sense of personal style. Visit his website at markmenzie.com.

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