If Talking Head’s David Byrne and Louie C.K.’s agent in the eponymous titled show have taught us anything, it’s that suits can take a comic and ridiculous appearance when worn incorrectly. While those examples are hopefully far from yourself, it doesn’t take much to make a suit look alien from yourself; tailoring addresses those details, making a suit that fits your contours and look as natural on you as a duck in water.
Keep the Cuff Clean: The cuff of your jacket is one of the biggest indicators between an amateur and a pro. Make sure your cuff stops at the break of your wrist, leaving about a quarter to a half-inch at most of the shirt underneath.
Save the Tents for Camping: A good suit shouldn’t tent, fold or bulge while it’s on you—that’s why there are buttons for sitting. A suit should lie flat and smooth; if you have the waist for it, take the jacket in, helping to assure the best fit possible; taking in the sides will also broaden the shoulders.
On the Rise: Your rise is usually one of the more individual aspects of the suit; everyone has their own particular preference. Make sure you stay within your preference; nothing looks worse than someone who’s well aware of the fact that they’re wearing the wrong pants.
Mind the Shoulders: Big shoulder pads are great for football and hockey, no so with your suits. The shoulders of your jacket shouldn’t extend any further than they have to and they should never slouch. The jacket should rest firmly around the shoulders as if hugging them and should feel like you’re snapping a puzzle-piece into place. While tailors do work some magic, they can only work with what they’ve got; try not to buy suits where the shoulders don’t fit.
Hip to Be Square: A pocket square is a great accessory to show some contrast and balance with your suit. Match them with your shirt and tie and make sure they’re offset from your suit. Dark colors like a bold navy or midnight blue are great for lighter colored suits like camel or taupe.
To Cut or Not to Cut?: People have gone back and forth for years over whether or not to cut the stitching of the pockets—put in to prevent people from ruining their aesthetic or jackets with unsightly bulges. But what’s the point of a pocket if you can’t use it. What we advocate is responsible pocket use; that is, only fill those pockets with flat items like business cards or a money clip.
Keep it Simple: Not even Shannon Sharp pulls off every Shannon Sharp suit. While a bold pattern might be a gamble, classic simplicity never is. If you are looking to step out a bit, herringbone and glen plaid are more than satisfactory to make a big impression without becoming a spectacle.
By adhering to these simple tips, you should be able to make sure that you own the suit and not the other way around. Making sure the suit fits as snug as your shadow will assure that you’re wearing the powerful piece of attire that a good suit can be.
About Author: Ted Corbitt writes about Men’s Style and Men’s Fashion and Styling Tips for Balani Custom Clothiers.