Men’s Suits

Wednesday, 12 November 2008 | Tags: , ,

Nothing says business like a well-tailored suit. Finding a good ensemble at a reasonable price can be challenging, so arm yourself with this knowledge to help you on your way to suit success.

The Basics

  • A suit’s fit is very important:

    • The collar should sit closely against the neck.

    • The sleeves should run cleanly right down the arm.

    • The chest should be tailored to fit snug, but you should be able to take a deep breath with it buttoned without feeling constricted.

    • If it doesn’t fit right in the shoulders it can be expensive, to fix so try a different style instead.

  • To allow for more movement, some suit jackets have a vent in the back. If you have a slim build you may not need it.

  • To fit pants, it’s more important to get a comfortable fit in the seat and crotch than in the waist, which can easily be altered.

  • Suits made from 100% wool are the most recommended. It breathes well and is least likely to wrinkle. Worsted wool is made from longer fibres so it’s more durable and has a smoother, crisp look.

Style Tips

We talked to suit expert Wes Purdie of Harry Rosen for some suit style tips:  

  • For your first suit, look for something a little darker in colour. This will allow you to wear it for work, or for most special occasions.

  • A flat-front pant is a classic style. It provides a cleaner, trimmer look.

  • For 2010, jacket lapels are a bit narrower. In accordance, you want your tie to complement the lapel. The rule of thumb is to wear a wide tie with a narrow lapel, and a narrow tie with a wide lapel to create balance.

  • If you already have a range of suits for professional wear, consider something in a lighter colour; something more unique but still professional.

  • Fit: it’s important for the jacket to sit well on the collar and shoulder area. No wrinkling or pulling of fabric.

  • Sleeve: the length of the sleeve should hit you midway between your wrist and your top thumb knuckle.

  • Cuffs: Your shirt cuff should be sticking out beyond your jacket sleeve about 1/4-1/2 an inch. If you’re wearing a French cuff, be sure to add cuff links to polish off the look. 

  • Jacket: only ever do up the top button on a two-button single-breasted jacket. The bottom one is there more for aesthetics.

  • Style: if you work in a contemporary environment, the rules are out the door. You can be creative and do things that are more unique. Think how you’ll look without the jacket. Try a patterned shirt in a deep purple or other unusual colour. Maybe wear a sweater on top.

  • Identify your personal style. You’ll be surprised at what looks good on you, but make sure you feel comfortable wearing it, and feel fantastic.


We recruited some soon-to-be-graduating business students and outfitted them in these suits:

  • Hugo Boss: $1,000
  • Armani: $2,000
  • Christian Dior: $5,000
  • Tommy Hilfiger: $500
  • Arnold Brant: $700

Style Test

  • The Dior suit caught our eye for quality and design, though there was concern over its modern style not fitting into a more conservative workplace.

  • The Hilfiger was an instant no. It looked like our testers were wearing their dads’ suits.

  • The Arnold Brant, the designer name with the lowest profile, had the most style. It was sharp, classy and looked like it meant business.


In the end, we think it’s important to pick a suit that fits you, your budget and the place you work. You may have to spend a little more for quality and fabric, so think of it as a long-term investment. But don’t let a swanky label fool you into thinking it will look good on you, and remember to factor tailoring costs into the final price.




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