How To Buy, Clean and Care for Men's Suits

Image of suit and shoe

Put on a good suit and you will look and feel good instantly. A suit is one of the most classic and essential pieces of any man's wardrobe. Whether you work in a corporate environment that requires you to wear a suit every day or only wear a suit a few times a year for special occasions, buying a suit is an investment and one that you should take seriously. Here are some things to think about when it comes to selecting and caring for a suit:

Buying a Suit

  1. Determine how often--and when--you will wear the suit.  If you wear suits every day, do an inventory of what is already in your closet, so you can determine what else you need.
  2. Think about the image you want to project. For corporate offices, you will want to select a very plain suit that will enable you to fit in with the office culture, while people who work in less formal environments may opt for a suit with more flair to convey more personality.
  3. Think about how much you are willing to spend on this purchase.  If you're on a budget, avoid trendy cuts and patterns, as these will quickly go out of style.
  4. Stick with basic colors like black, brown, blue, olive or gray, which can easily be worn with different ties to change the look.
  5. Be sure to coordinate your shirts with the tie and suit. Look for crisp whites or classic striped patterned shirts that will set off the suit well and will be in style for a long time. Your shirt and tie don't have to match your suit, but the color should complement it. For instance, a tie with a red or gold background can be worn with a navy, gray or black suit to give it some punch.
  6. If you have favorite shirts, ties, and shoes, bring them with you when you shop for a suit so you can see how the suit will look with these accessories.  Keep in mind that the types of accessories you choose can allow you to update the look of a suit easily.  If you want to show your fashion flair, consider accenting a conservative suit with a trendy tie, shoes and a belt.  Different color and/or patterned shirts can also change your look instantly.
  7. Another way to change the look of a suit is by breaking it up into separates. Pair the jacket with a different pair of pants. Use the pants alone or with a sport jacket to make another outfit. This is a particularly good way to make your clothes go further when you travel.
  8. Shop at a better men's store so a salesperson can help you determine your size and some appropriate choices for your needs.
  9. Go for a good fit above all else. Try on different cuts and sizes to find the one that best suits you.  You need to be comfortable in your suit and want to be sure you can move well in it. Remember to walk around in the suit and try moving your arms to see if the jacket is comfortable through the shoulders and back. The fit of the jacket is particularly important since this is a difficult piece to alter. Sit in the pants, and try putting your wallet and keys in the pockets to make sure there is room for them. Keep in mind that pants usually have extra fabric so they can be let out, or taken in, as needed. Check to see how much fabric there is if the pants need to be altered.
  10. Try on some expensive styles to see how a well-tailored suit feels.  If you like the quality but find this is out of your price range, ask the salesperson if they have seasonal sales or discounts at any time of year.  You can also look for high-quality suits at off-price stores and outlet shops.  Remember that classic suits don't change a lot from year to year, so see if you can find last year's models marked down.
  11. Don't just buy something on sale, though, if it isn't the right fabric or the right fit.
  12. Remember that sleeve and leg lengths can be tailored, but the shoulders and lapels can't be changed.
  13. Check the fabric and consider the season. Worsted wools and wool crepes are a good choice for warmer weather, while gabardine wools and flannels are heavier.  A suit made either of 100 percent wool or a 50 percent wool blend is always a good choice.
  14. Bring a family member or friend with you when you shop to provide a second opinion.

How to Care for and Clean Your Suit:

  1. If you take good care of your suit, it should last you a long time.
  2. Don't overload your pockets, which could strain the seams.
  3. Unbutton your jacket before you sit down. Also pull the pants up at the thigh when you sit so you don't pull the fabric too much.
  4. Brush your suit with a clothes brush when you take it off to keep it clean and looking good.
  5. Hang your suit on a good wooden hanger and store it in a bag to protect it.
  6. Avoid cramming it in between lots of other clothes, which could cause it to wrinkle.
  7. To prolong its life, dry clean your suit only a few times a year or as needed.
  8.  To keep your suit looking crisp, have it pressed in between cleanings.


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