How to look good in a suit: The basics

15 March 2019

Being professional tailors, we at Hemingway know every trick in the book to getting your suit look on point because believe it or not, it is possible to get it all completely wrong.

There are so many aspects to a suit but sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming with so many things to think about, starting from the top with your shirt collar right down to the bottom to your shoes.

Yes, it can be daunting however Hemingway have made this process much simpler by putting together a basic guide on how you can nail the suit look every single time.

Colour

The key to looking good in a suit is to go back to basics and ask yourself a key question, “What occasion do I need the suit for?” Once you know the occasion whether this is a wedding, a date or for work, you can then consider what suits you best and what you feel most comfortable in. Every gentleman is different in terms of build, skin tone, hair colour - the list goes on. With this in mind, you can start making the important decisions starting with what colour suit you’re going for.

Although black is a common colour and the rule is that you can never go wrong with it, avoid this colour when purchasing your suit unless if the dress code states otherwise. Colours such as navy blue or charcoal grey are perfect suit colours that are versatile and ideal for almost any formal occasion. Also with navy and grey, almost anything goes well with these colours which makes the whole process of choosing the right shirt and tie much easier.

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Cut

So now you have the colour sorted, the next step is to decide on the type of suit you’re going for. With every suit, there are two styles; the single-breasted suit which is the most common suit type and and the double-breasted suit which brings across a more formal look. If you’re a novice in wearing suits and only wear them for special occasions, Hemingway recommend sticking to a single-breasted jacket, however if you’re the daring sort who likes to push the boundaries, opt for a double-breasted jacket.

If you’re wanting to go extra formal, you could always go for a three-piece suit which includes a suit jacket, trousers and a waistcoat. However, it is important to remember that the three-piece suit must be worn correctly and without any gimmicky accessories such as a flat cap or a pocket watch, so avoid looking like you’re about to step on to the set of the next Peaky Blinders episode. Remember, less is more and your waistcoat is the main accessory with the three-piece suit.

Fit

Now for the most important bit - the fit. There are certain aspects of the suit which should fit a specific way and if they don’t, this will instantly be noticeable. First and foremost, your suit jacket should be the right length and a good way to determine this is by hanging your arms loosely by your sides in your natural stance. If the hem of the jacket is roughly in line with the middle of your hand then this is the perfect fit.

Now to pay particular attention to the key areas of the suit in which you should check that these fit correctly…

Shoulders

Starting with the most important, this area all depends on the gentleman and is something that a tailor cannot amend. Make sure the shoulders aren’t saggy or too tight that you can barely move and always go for the size lower than what you usually are with your suit jacket.

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Chest

When your jacket is buttoned up, the lapels should be flat on your chest and if they aren’t, you definitely need a different size. Your lapels shouldn’t be too big or wide or even too skinny - somewhere in between will be just about right.

Torso

With the jacket buttoned up, your thumb should be able to slide in where the button is and if it fits snug, then this is fine. If it’s loose, the jacket will probably need taking in slightly at the back.

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Arms

The arms of your jacket should roughly show around half-an-inch of the shirt cuff and should hug your arms. Don’t worry too much about the length or the width of the arms as a good tailor can sort this out. 

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Trousers

If there’s too much fabric through the leg, ask your tailor to taper your trousers as this will create a cleaner and slimmer line. Your suit trousers should fit like your jeans would and the key to this is a tapered leg.

Written by your team of experts at Hemingway Tailors
Written by your team of experts at Hemingway Tailors
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