Recently I had the chance to go and get my first ever tailored suit, and let me tell you, it was a game changer!!
In high school, I was the guy wearing baggy jeans and ripped Green Day t-shirt’s with the really cool metal chain that linked my wallet to my jeans (Ya, I was that guy).
Even when I sang opera, I never got a tailored suit, mostly because I was cheap and didn’t think it really made a difference. I bought cheap suits and tuxedos from discount stores and tried to get employees wearing these, even though I knew they were too big and gave the impression that I didn’t care.
I was so thrifty that in university I bought an entire tux for a whopping $89.
Needless to say I wasn’t exactly shocked when t started falling apart a year later and had to be thrown out.
A few weeks ago I had to suit up for a speaking engagement I had booked and needed to be presentable (speaking for corporations will do that).
So I went out and got my first tailored suit. It blew my mind!
When I walked out on stage to present in front of 1,500 people, not only did I look great (or so I was told), but I felt great too. The suit fit incredibly well, I got a ton of compliments on it and getting a custom suit was an experience I will definitely be repeating in the future.
The whole experience had left me wondering why no one had ever told me what a great feeling getting suited up could be, so I wanted to share my insight about what you need to know before getting suited up.
Determine your budget and be as generous with it as you can, as it will dictate quality and longevity of your investment. As I found out, $89 doesn’t last for long (I wore it twice).
Suits that are less than $1000 are typically made with a synthetic chest piece that lines the front of the jacket and is glued to the suit fabric, which will not last as long or look as good with frequent wearing and dry cleaning.
Also be aware of fabric quality with price point suits, as they can sometimes have a synthetic blend in the fabric. 100% wool fabrics will last longer.
Suits over $1000 are often made with better quality fabrics and will have half or full canvas chest pieces that are made with horse hair and are sewn into the chest piece. A canvas chest piece will breath and mold to your body, which will look better with time.
Stay away from trendy, fast fashion suits, they are not made for longevity and will not look as good over time. Look for suits that have classic styling, for example you want a jacket that has two buttons, notch lapels and side or centre vents and trousers with a flat front (no pleats).
Pants with pleats are dated and not flattering.
Depending on your body type, you may want a trimmer fitting suit, but make sure that you are not going super trendy with a skin tight suit that is too short in the jacket and trousers.
You want a suit that fits your body comfortably and is proportionate to your size. If there is pulling or breaks in the jacket, it is too small and not the right fit.
Whether your purchasing your first or second suit, it should be navy, blue, charcoal or mid-grey. These colours can be worn year round and to most events and work environments.
Black should not be the first suit you purchase, unless you’re in a bridal party or attending a funeral, as it is too formal for most situations.
Lighter colours are seasonal and should not be worn in late Fall/Winter. Also stay away from trendy colours and bold patterns, as they may go out of style quickly. Add these to your collection, once you have all the basics covered.
Quality of fabric and construction are two of the most important things you need to pay attention to.
Do not get caught up in fancy brand names, as you are often paying for the name and not quality. Also beware of department store suits, they may have familiar brand name, but those names are often licensed and not made to the same level of quality that you may be used to by that brand.
As mentioned before, you want a suit that is made of 100% Wool, if it is blended with another natural fibre such as silk, cashmere or mohair that is okay, but try and stay away from synthetic blends. A small percentage of lycra, such as 2%, is common and not terrible, but anything more than that is not recommended.
Tailoring is your friend. Some places will charge extra for suit tailoring, do not forego tailoring because of the added expense! I have extra long monkey arms & legs, so I always need to have the sleeves and pant legs tailored to fit right.
It doesn’t matter if you pay $300 or $3000 for your suit, if the tailoring isn’t right, it looks like crap.
Invest in your over all look and don’t cheap out on something as important as having the correct sleeve or pant length. If you’re going to spend the money on a suit but are trying to cut costs on the tailoring, don’t. This is like buying a Porsche and then putting regular gas in it.
So where should you go? Well depending on what city you live in there are a ton of options.
I live in Vancouver, BC and visited Bobbie who runs Haberdasher & Co. I choose them for a few reasons:
1. They are all expertly trained in every aspects of men’s fashion, from tailoring to comprehensive wardrobe building.
2. They provide top quality Canadian made clothing and accessories, using fine European fabrics for all of our clothing. (I LOVE supporting local)
3. Tailoring is included in the price of all regular priced merchandise. (For all of those people wanting to cheat out on the tailoring).
4. They sell confidence and compliments. I love this. If you’re going to spend some cash on a nice suit, you want something people are going to appreciate. Again, its like buying a nice car: you buy it for you, but the bonus is how much everyone else enjoys it.
5. They LOVE what they do and want you to love how you look. When I first met Bobbie, I was taken back about her passion for men’s fashion and dressing right. This is crucial. Find someone who is almost more concerned about how you will look than you are.
Wherever you live, look up your local custom suit shop, go in for a free fitting and just feel what its like to wear a well fitting suit, its a game changer.
**Comment below on where you get suited up so people in your city can check them out.**