A successful investment-banker in an elegant Zegna suit, a lawyer about town in an elegant two-piece affair, a politician on television in a formal suit-and-tie: all these members of the male species depend on their suiting and style to gain them standing and instant respect in their public life. Wearing an impeccably tailored suit is already a statement of affluence and impeccable taste, while the cut and style speak volumes about the wearer even before a single word is spoken.
The suit became commonplace in late 17th Century France. Louis XIV, the ultimate emperor of style led the charge towards a more casual and comfortable attire for men during his 72-year reign, shifting the style of male clothing from the doublet, hose, and cloak, the fundamentals of a man’s wardrobe, to coats, vests, and breeches – the three predecessors of modern male attire.
Suits are the ultimate business statement making an impression at interviews, in boardrooms, during cocktails and formal dinners. Why? A suit is still seen as a way to gain respectability and a man wearing a well-fitted stylish suit means business.
Here’s a peek at this year’s latest and greatest looks to add that uber cool factor to your suiting. (click on the ‘i’ button on the top right corner for more info):
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So how do you pick the best suit for you?
Sailing past the French Riviera in a Salvatore Ferragamo suit
1. You need at least one fantastic suit in your wardrobe.
If you don’t have much money then probably the one item to make a large one off investment in is your jacket. Don’t feel shy spending at least $500 for a great suit – even more if you can afford it. Then substitute it with a couple more light-weight suits and jackets in the $200-$400 range to help mix things up.
2. Always make sure your suits and shirts fit well around the collar.
Don’t buy oversized collars, they come across as slack and lazy. And too tight, well, we all need to breathe now don’t we??
3. Match the suit to your lifestyle
Some men can easily mix patterns, suits, stripes, loud pocket kerchiefs, silky shiny materials, hats, tophats, and blinged up cufflinks. Some cannot!! It’s important to find the style that suits your personality, fits your career (bling in a conservative law firm certainly won’t go down that well!) and helps you ease forward in the game of life.
Ties are the one accessory for men that can really be personalised and allow you to express yourself and add some color and diversity. Ties can be suited up or dressed down with jeans and a white shirt (open top button and loose knot). Wander into second stores to dig up some classic and vivid ties with vibe and spirit, and perhaps spend a bit more on some nice new (perhaps black or red) versatile ties.
5. Find the right fit for your body:
* If you’re a big guy:
Remember there’s more of you to love, so wear your bulk with pride. Wear lightweight, suits built from heavier textiles will only add weight. Soft, worsted wools are your best friend. Choose darker colors which give desired slimming factor plus they’re classy and classic. If you’re going to stripe it, make it a solid vertical to create a sleek, slender visual. The jacket: Two buttons are optimal – they won’t draw attention to your bulky frame and stay single on the vent, which will give you the extra room you need minus the extra attention.
* If you’re tall and lean
Add weight with heavier fabrics – on a tall, skinny guy, lightweight fabrics will hang and make you look all the more frail. Heavier wools like tweed or a heavier weight worsted wool that hold their form is the smart decision; and give you much-needed proportion and the appearance of additional weight. Colours – opt for the greys and classic browns – Lighter colors, will add weight to your overall look. Jacket? Three buttons create height and length, tall guys, with their longer torsos, can pull this look off successfully. Keep it classy with the single vent – Although taller, slimmer men tall, skinny men have two options for the vent: we advise that you stick with a single-vent or ventless jacket which is always the classier choice.
* If you’re slight and shorter than average
Avoid loud patterns – The print of an overly bold pattern screams for attention and will only draw attention to your slight frame. Subdued, chilled out colours and small stripes, if any, will be far more stylish for you. Stripes – For shorter men, the next best thing to a shoe with a higher sole is a suit with vertical stripes. As stripes run top to bottom, they tend to draw the eye upward. Plus, they also lengthen your frame by elongating the look of the suit; giving you the illusion of appearing taller than you really are. Go for double vents – Small guys, the double-vent jacket was created with you in mind. The dual slits (or vents) along the side emphasize the outside lines of the body; in doing so, they establish an attractive, longer silhouette that complements and lengthens your frame.
More about suits …
The Bespoke Suit:
These are custom made by a tailor from a pattern created entirely from the client’s measurements, giving the best-fit and free choice of fabric. Some of the most expensive suits in the world are painstakingly hand made by an increasingly scarce breed of extremely skilled tailors.
These tailors know how to make suits that hide physical flaws and highlight attributes, without sacrificing comfort. Machine use is minimal, and each and every nuance of a client’s spoken and unspoken needs are met and often exceeded. Brioni, Attolini, Kiton, Luigi Borelli and Caraceni are some of the best known names in Italian bespoke suits. Some of the world’s most expensive suits are the Kiton K50s exclusively tailored by Senor D’Orsi, one of the finest tailors in the world. He makes not more than 50 suits in a year, each costing up to 50,000 USD. The fabrics used on a bespoke suit are usually the best, mostly worsted wool for business suits. These fabrics are used in the counts of 80’s and 90’s, or super 100’s, super 150’s and higher. The counts in the range of 80’s and 90’s also feel great and usually last longer than higher counts made at even the best clothing manufacturers. For those who can afford it, a bespoke suit made in the super 150’s fabric can be an absolute asset. It feels fabulously comfortable to wear and looks even better.
Made-to-Measure Men’s Suits:
Not every one is privileged enough to get a bespoke suit made, but there is a range of suits which is nearly as good. With made-to-measure suits, (a pre-made pattern modified to fit the client, with a limited selection of options and fabrics is available) it is possible to achieve a degree of customization because the tailor takes up to 25 measurements of an individual body, and these are then sent to the factory. Here, alterations are made to already available basic patterns in order to achieve the best fit possible. Special requests like extra pockets, specific fabrics and linings, and a certain design and style can be accommodated. Some of the best fabrics, threads and interlinings are used, which helps guarantee a quality suit. But the production is assembly line, and many tailors work on the suit at different stages of production, unlike the single tailor for the bespoke suit. Ermenegildo Zegna su Misura does some of the best fittings in the made-to-measure industry. A good deal of technology goes into the making of these suits and their fabrics. Some Zegna suits use fabrics like Micronsphere which has all the great qualities of a worsted but is also stain-resistant, or Cashco, which is a blend of cashmere and cotton, making it an all-weather fabric.
Off-the-peg Designer Men’s Suits:
Though these cost about half that of a good made-to-measure Italian suit, they are still worth the money. The first and foremost advantage is speed, no agonizing fittings and long waits for the suit to get ready, and if chosen carefully, an off-the-peg suit from Prada, Armani, Versace or Gucci fits quite well and is unbeatable for casual elegance and comfort. The trick is to shop around for the right size, cut and look. What is more, off-the-peg suits are good for those who are looking for variations and for different types of fabrics and styles. The beauty of an off-the-peg designer suit lies in its ability to change from season to season, and to bring in a hint of casual flair to the conservative world of men’s business clothing.
Ready to Wear:
These suits are mass produced, least expensive and most common. You’ll find them in department stores and they’re a good option for the budget conscious shopper. If you’re diligent in shopping carefully and following the tips above on getting the best fit for you, these suits may allow you to look suitably elegant in business attire and save your pocket at the same time.
In all, wearing a tailored and well fit suit could do wonders for your love and work life. A man in a fabulous suit is a great creature to cast your eyes on; he commands respect without even uttering a word and he walks confidently, with grace and sleek power, which is why here at MenStylePower, we’re highly motivated to encourage all dudes to suit it up.
What Thomas Merton said in the first part of the 20th Century is still relevant today. You can’t ignore “… men in bowlers and dark suits with their rolled-up umbrellas. Men full of propriety; calm and proud, neat and noble.”