Purchasing your first suit can be a process more detailed and intricate than the actual suit itself. A quality suit is a right of passage and major wardrobe milestone for a man, and your first suit could be more important than you could ever imagine. It could be the suit that lands you your first job, which eventually turns into a fulfilling career. It could be the suit you wear on your wedding day, which eventually turns into a fulfilling marriage. Hopefully it isn’t the suit you wear to your funeral, but even then, you’ll want to be casket sharp. No matter how or why you find yourself buying a suit for the first time, it’s usually for a very good reason.
When it comes to buying their first suit, many have no idea where to start, which often leads to faulty judgement and a regretful purchase. No worries, we’re here to help. For some expertise advice, we teamed up with our friend Diego, the founder and creative director of Dandy in The Bronx, a virtual portal to all things relating to Men’s Fashion & Lifestyle.
To shield you of the embarrassment of making a bad suit purchase and spare you from being the laughing stock of a networking event or cocktail party, here are five rules of thumb for purchasing your first suit:
1. DON’T start with black
The most common mistake to be made when purchasing your first suit is assuming that black is the best default color. Relying on black as a safety color may work in all other areas of your wardrobe, but not in your suit section.
Black suits aren’t very versatile. They should only be worn at Black Tie affairs… or funerals. Contrary to popular belief, black isn’t considered an appropriate suit color for the workplace. Take Diego’s Advice. “If you’re going to work, you’ll want to stick to navy, brown or grey.” Black is too strong of a color for those situations, unless you’re among the fashion cult of minimalists who ONLY wear black.
“At the end of the day, its all about your style. But if you’re purchasing your first suit, you should definitely start with the color navy,” said Diego. “You can wear a navy suit to work, to a wedding, to a bar, or even to a high-profile job.”
2. DON’T Sacrifice Quality for a “Bargain Deal”
Essentially, your purchasing a suit to look like a million bucks, so don’t expect to get the look of an A-list celebrity on a Z-list budget. A good suit will always cost money, and the suit you end up with will depend on what sacrifices you’re willing to make.
There are a bunch of suits you can buy for under $500 and still pull off the dressed to impress look you’re in search of, but of course, you’re bound to look even better in a $1,5000 number. Diego advices sticking between the $200 and $500 for your first quality suit. “H&M suit sets can be as low as $200, but you can also get good quality at Banana Republic for $500. I’d stick between those two.”
3. DON’T leave your tailor out of the equation
It’s not really your suit until your tailor molds it to fir your body. According to the Dandy in the Bronx curator, “You can go to your local laundromat or visit your tailor. Either way, you’ll need to get it cut to suit you.” Get it?
Break out your internet access and prepare to commit to some serious alteration research. These people will be your best friends. Shop around and see who/what works for you, because suits never fit 100%. “Unless you’re in an emergency situation, make sure you set aside time to have your suit tailored,” said Diego.
Before you head to the tailor, try to move around in your new suit — if you find that hard to do, it doesnt fit. Also, try hugging someone in the dressing room to make sure your suit is rip-resistant.. but be sure to ask for permission first.
4. DON’T ignore the element of versatility
You’re spending a lot of money on this thing, so you’ll want it to be as versatile as possible. You may consider only purchasing a suit jacket, or the suit’s pants, but not buying a suit as a complete set robs you of potential combination opportunities in the future.
Once you’ve acquired a few pieces, you can try some of diego’s favorite fashion combos, like wearing a tuxedo jacket with a casual v-neck white tee and slacks, or pairing shorts with a suit jacket for a millennial “business on the top, party on the bottom” look.
Even consider having your tailor add suspender buttons to your pants — they arent expensive, and you may want the opportunity to try out suspenders with your outfit.
5. DON’T trust the salesperson.
Especially when she’s a flirty woman. Chances are, she’s only swaying you in the direction of her best commission opportunity, not a suit that complements your personal style and frame.
Also, if they tell you buttoning the all of your buttons will make the suit look better on you, DON’T believe them. Diego encourages his followers to only fasten one button! “Never button the whole thing up,” he says. “It looks too stuffy! It’s more ‘chillax’ to only utilize one button. The suits not supposed to define you, its supposed to accentuate you.”
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