I've realised in recent times that there is a growing interest among men in wearing suits and I must say, this is to be applauded.
In a wider, global context, wearing a suit is deemed as the norm and not intimidating (click here for Lim’s tips on wearing a suit in Malaysia’s hot weather) – it simply boils down to an appreciation for oneself, which translates to the image of you as a person who looks into details both personally and in the office.
When it comes to tips for wearing a suit, the web offers plenty of advice. I’d like to offer 3 fundamentals that I strongly feel set a strong foundation for wearing suits.
This refers to how the suit sits on the body. I put this as the top priority to look out for over anything else simply because, even if given the most precious and highly priced suit in the world but it looked rather inappropriate in size, then it will look like a borrowed suit.
If a suit does not fit properly, I would advise you not to wear it.
Even if it’s made with lower quality fabric but if it fits well, it’s still better than the other way around. Fit is the first thing to look out for when buying a suit and should not be compromised.
Choosing fabrics with a higher content of wool is a worthwhile investment in the long run. After all, a well-made suit coupled with quality fabrics will last you for years to come.
Fabrics that are blends (like polyester) will be warmer to wear as it does not have breathing properties like wool.
There’s a misconception that in Malaysia’s warm climate, it’s not possible to wear wool. However, I beg to differ.
Wool has insulation properties, and the fiber of wool is very much alive like human hair. When it is warm, the wool fiber relaxes to allow for better air circulation. And as the weather becomes cooler, the fiber contracts to prevent the flow of air.
Uniquely, wool provides the best structure and weight in making a suit.
I recommend choosing suits with a higher content of natural fibers over synthetic ones.
Most men place design as their first criterion when shopping for a suit and for some, the label or brand of the suit is of utmost importance.
However, having the right fit and the right quality of fabric for a suit trumps design.
When we talk about design, it includes the colour and all other elements of how a suit will look, i.e single or double-breasted, lapels, pockets, vents and sleeve buttons.
There are simply too many individual elements to talk about here, but if I could offer one piece of advice: choose a design and make it work to your advantage.
For example, when deciding between a single or double breasted design, understand the difference between the two.
Single breasted jackets suit most body shapes and sizes and are appropriate for most occasions, from casual to business and black tie soirees.
Because of the additional fold at the front of a double breasted jacket, men of a larger frame are not advised to choose such a suit. Instead, they should opt for a single breasted suit jacket as the double breasted has an additional frontal bulk and promotes a horizontal bias at the mid-section to make one appear even larger.
Most men have their priorities mixed and will often place design at the top of the list. However, if you were to follow the fundamentals as listed here, you’ll soon be donning the ultimate fit while looking polished in any suit that you wear.
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