Suiting Basics: What to look for in a quality suit.
Have you ever wondered why some suits look good on a guy and some don't? Well, the most important element to looking good in a suit is the fit. A properly tailored and well fitted suit will look good on anybody and everybody. An expensive designer label suit won't look good if it's not properly fitted to you body. Conversely, a less expensive suit will look more expensive if fitted properly.
With that said, let me show some basic things to look for in a quality suit. Once you understand these basics, you will be more knowledgeable when selecting suits, and you will have a better understanding of "off the rack suits" versus bespoke suits.
Off The Rack: If you are a person of average height, size and shape, you might be fine with buying suits off the rack. Very little tailoring is needed so you will save on alteration fees. While "off the rack" suits will save you on alteration fees, you will not have any choice in customizing your suit. But with so many designers and options to choose from, it shouldn't be a problem finding a designer or brand that fits your body type and your taste. If you choose this route for your suiting needs, it will be worth your time to explore and educate yourself on what designer or label best fits your needs.
Made To Measure: If you don't easily fit into "off the rack" suits, "made to measure" is a great way to have a suit made to fit your particular fitting needs. Most of the higher end designers and labels offer a made to measure program. Not only do you get a custom fit specific to your body, you also get to choose a lot of options such as fabrics and colors, lapels, pockets, 3 button closure versus 2 button closure,etc. I feel made to measure gives you the most bang for your buck. You get a much nicer suit then off the rack but you are not paying the high price of a custom bespoke suit. And once you are measured for a particular brand, they will keep that information on file to make future purchases much easier.
Custom Bespoke: If you really are a suit nerd like me (I say that as a compliment), and really appreciate all the custom work and hand detailing in making a fine bespoke suit, then custom is the way to go. A custom suit is built from scratch with all your measurements and all the features and functions that best compliment your body type. You will work with an experienced tailor do decide what works best for you and you will have 100% say in exactly how your suit is made and fitted for you.
The stitching that you see along the edge of the lapel and edge of pocket is called pick stitching. It's hand sewn and is a sign that your suit is not just a factory made suit. Does this make it a better suit? Not necessarily, but suit nerds like me appreciate the hand sewn craftsmenship.
Working button holes on the sleeves is another sign of hand sewn craftsmanship. Besides looking good, this actually serve a usesfull purpose. Large faced watches can benefit from having a few of the buttons undone to allow more room for larger size watches.
Suit linings and vest backs can be fun to play with by picking fun patterns or colors. This is your chance to make a statememnt or to show off your personality.
I absolutely love the look of side fasteners on suit trousers. Side fasteners replace belt-loops which gives the waistband a very clean and dressy look. And speaking of waistbands, I never wear a belt with my suit trousers. I prefer the clean look going beltless whether you have belt-loops or not. For extra style points, wear braces with your suit for a refined look.