Although the average annual sales for menswear grew by 17.4% between 2010 and 2015, that doesn’t always mean that every professional knows how to look their best. A custom tailored suit can do wonders for your overall appearance and confidence level, but buying one for the first time can feel a bit intimidating. To get the most out of your bespoke clothing, you’ll want to prepare a bit before you buy. This post should serve as a beginner’s guide for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the process.
When buying your first custom tailored suit, ask yourself…
What’s the occasion?
Before you buy your first custom suit, you’ll need to figure out exactly why you need it. It may seem like a silly question, but it may actually play a big part in the style of suit and materials you choose as well as the overall amount you should spend.
If you need a suit for a wedding, funeral, or other special event, your needs may be different from a suit that you’re buying for your first professional job in the corporate sector or for a court appearance. Whatever your reasons for buying a suit, be sure to communicate them to the retailer and tailor. From there, they’ll be able to make recommendations as far as style and features. For instance, they might recommend a three-piece suit for a more formal occasion or a specific type of men’s dress trousers that will help you achieve the look you want.
What materials will be best?
If you’re under the impression that all men’s suits are the same, you may be in for a rude awakening. Just the possible fabric choices alone might overwhelm you! Ultimately, for your first bespoke suit, you can restrict your material options to merely a few, but there are countless others out there.
Worsted or lightweight wool (like 120S), mohair, or flannel are typically thought to be viable options for a first suit. These fabrics are suitable for all seasons but come in different weights and textures, meaning that you’ll be able to find one that works well for the type of suit you have in mind. Your tailor will be able to point you in the right direction and show you examples to help you decide.
Do I understand custom tailored clothing jargon?
Believe it or not, there’s actually an entire tailoring lexicon. While you don’t have to understand every term, there are some that you should be familiar with when you set out to buy a tailored suit.
- The vent, for instance, refers to the slits on the back of a suit jacket, which can be single, double, or non-existent depending on the style.
- The pants break (or trouser break) refers to how much of the bottom of your pant legs touches your shoes; you may have a full break, a half break, a quarter break, or no break at all, depending on your build and the style of suit you’re after.
- You should also know the difference between a single- and double-breasted suit and the type of lapel you want (i.e., shawl, notch, or peak).
Of course, your tailor will be more than willing to show you examples of how these choices would look on you, but it helps to at least familiarize yourself with what these terms mean and learn to recognize them when you see them.
When you visit a retailer with on-site local tailoring services to look at their finest men’s suits, you’ll want to go in with as much information as possible. By having a good understanding of the kind of suit you’re after, you’ll be in a better position to communicate your needs to your tailor.