How to Buy a Great Suit

Every man needs that one perfect suit in his wardrobe that provides effortless style for every formal occasion. Unfortunately, the challenge of getting all the elements right means at you’ll often end up compromising on at least one of them – be it fit, colour, material or style – and ruin the whole effect.

The obvious solution is to go for tailor-made personalisation, but unfortunately Savile Row remains out of reach for many of us. To help you find what you need without breaking the bank, we’ve put together a list of handy tips to help you navigate the world of high street suit shopping.

The first step is to get measured. Most high street stores will check your collar size, arm length, chest and waist to make sure the suit doesn’t gape unattractively or look overly stretched. Make sure the size is right and that you’ll have room to breathe by moving your arms forwards and sideways and bending your elbows. You don’t have to be able to compete for a gymnastics medal, but if you’re struggling to raise your hand, it’s time to consider trying the size up.

Once you’re in a suit that feels right, there are a number of checkpoints to look at to ensure the fit works across the whole suit. Some are obvious, like checking the trousers aren’t too long and that the jacket doesn’t gape when done up, but there are some subtler signs to watch out for.

Slighter men might be tempted to go for padded shoulders to broaden them out, but this tends to have the opposite effect – making you look like you’re playing dress-up in Dad’s clothes. Make sure the shoulders of the jacket end where yours do, and that about an inch of your shirt cuff is visible after the sleeve.

After you’re sure you’re onto a winner, you can move onto the finishing touches of shirt, tie and cufflinks. The man in the suit is a classic style staple which needs very little embellishment, so don’t disparage the appeal of a crisp white shirt. Far from being boring, plainer materials serve to keep all the focus on you, while bright shirts and ties can easily prove distracting. Nothing conveys professionalism like an impeccably fitted suit, so keep everything else as simple as possible for maximum impact.

To make shopping for your suit go that little bit smoother, apply for an American Express credit card. With the opportunity to earn membership reward points on virtually every purchase, plus a range of other exclusive card holder perks, including access to the Preferred Seating scheme, it’s the most rewarding way to pay.