What do James Bond (especially the Sean Connery interpretation), John Wick, Thomas Crown, and Tony Montana have in common? They are known to rock the suit and to do it in such a way that it was an integral part of their cool and sexy persona.
If wearing suits are a part of your brand, even if it plays a small role, I have put together a quick list on what to consider when choosing a suit and how to let it work with your brand. Trust me when I say, nothing is more detrimental to your credibility than not taking the time to invest in a proper suit. So, in honour of the late legend Sean Connery who, as Bond, elevated the elegance and sexiness of the suit, I’ve put together a quick guide on the three important factors or the three F’s when purchasing a dress suit: Fabric, Fit and Finish.
There is a saying in the sewing and tailoring industry that the garment is only as good as its raw ingredients.
The fabric determines how your suit will look and feel, and how long it will last over time. Here are some of the most common suit and recommended fabrics.
- Linen (great for summer)
Avoid a synthetic blend. For off-the-rack suits, check to make sure that the jacket and trousers are the exact same material and colour.
2. The Fit
There is no visual forgiveness for an ill-fitting suit. Fit is everything when it comes to the suit. Should you purchase your suit ‘off-the-rack’ or ‘ready-made’, make sure the shoulders fit well. A well-fitted shoulder lies flat. Keep in mind that there are certain parts of the suit that can be tailored such as the paint leg. However, the shoulders cannot be tailored after the fact.
The jacket collar should rest against your shirt collar. The hem of the jacket should hit right around the middle of your hand — at or just past where the fingers meet the palm. The shirt cuff should be visible beyond the jacket cuff about half an inch. The pant cuff should rest on the top of your shoe, just enough contact without being slouchy.
3. The Finish
What I call the finish includes details such as the shoes, shirt, neckwear, buttons, accessories etc..
- You can’t go wrong with a classic white shirt. It matches almost anything and it is the most formal. However, don’t hesitate to try colours such as light blue or lavender.
- Belts and shoes should match in colour.
- The two-button suit has a classic look. However, you can go for a three-button suit as well.
- In the case of ties, you can’t go wrong with plain colours or small repeating patterns like dots or stripes.
- Classic watches with brown or black leather straps or stainless steel/metal watches
Now That You Know The Rules, Let’s Bend ‘Em and/or Break ‘Em Strategically
If you want to add some fun, pizzazz and some oomph to your brand, here are some suggestions:
- Be bold and purchase a suit in a radical pattern or bold colour,
- Think about other materials like velvet.
- Personalize your style with meaningful jewellery such as rings, bracelets, a necklace etc.
- Rock a fedora or a hat.
- If your brand is modern and fun, try some funky footwear that lends to your brand story. I’ve seen a nice suit paired with some converse on an entrepreneur/athlete.
- Eschew the tie, and unbutton the shirt.
If you decide to purchase a made-to-order or bespoke (a suit made from scratch) suit, invest in a great tailor that understands the importance of the fabric, fit and finish.
I personally believe that a man should own at least one made-to-order suit. As G. Bruce Boyer, former fashion editor of Esquire and GQ so eloquently says:
“Buy the absolute best you can afford… A cheap suit looks cheap even when it’s brand new, while a good one retains its appearance after years of wear.”