Luck has nothing to do with finding the perfect suit. There are many things that you can do before, during and after shopping to ensure that the suit you get will look perfect on you, whether you are a man or woman. Leanna Tran, the owner of Allure Alternations, and Mario Duarte, the owner of Memorial Tailors and designer for the Houston Rockets’ Power Dancers, both offer their professional advice on getting a suit that is a perfect fit, no matter your shape or size.
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Buy for your type
Both Leanna Tran and Mario Duarte agree that you should take your body size and shape into consideration when shopping for a suit. Today, there are suits to fit any body design, but if you have a significant size difference between the top and bottom halves of your body, for a better fit, Mr. Duarte recommends shopping for business suit separates, which are available in many suit stores.
Look for sizing at certain spots
There are certain areas on your body where a suit should fit properly. Mario Duarte notes that you need to pay close attention to where the pants and sleeves fall as well as the fit of the jacket. The jacket should comfortably fit around your largest part, which is the chest for women and the shoulders for men, but it needs to be loose enough to fit a blouse underneath and as close-fitting as possible around the waist. The sleeves need to fall where the wrist break is on men, but they can be a 1/2-inch longer on women. All pants should ideally fall to the peak at the top of your shoes.
Choosing the right colors
Your suit should be a reflection of your type of work. Leanna Tran has some advice on choosing the color for the suit and accessories that make both a perfect fit for your job. If you are in a professional setting, conservative colors for your suit and accessories are always best, but in some jobs, you want to be noticed. Salespeople may be able to wear accessories and suits with lighter colors. Accessories should match your job description and pair well with your suit. Women can wear scarves as men wear ties to add a little personality and color to their suits. Other accessories, like shoes to match your suit and a professional haircut, also round out your look.
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Consult with a tailor
Some tailors offer consultations. Memorial Tailors is one that has free consultations to help you to determine if the suit you bought from a store can be tailored to better fit you or if you should buy another. When you get a new suit, Mario Duarte warns against wearing trendy suits that don’t look good for your body type, like flat-front pants. Even if you don’t have the right body type, a tailor can do wonders to make such pants look better on you, but do not expect miracles because if you buy a suit that is too small, there is only so much material that a tailor can let out, but a suit that is too large is easier to have taken in. Leanna Tran recommends always visiting a tailor with your suit to get it altered to a perfect fit.
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Stick with brands that fit best on you
The fit of suits can vary between brand labels, but if you have found a brand that works for you, stick with it. Leanna Tran offers the examples of brands that cater to certain sizes. Men’s Warehouse is good if you need a suit for a medium or large frame, but smaller men may have more success finding a suit at Banana Republic or Brooks Brothers. Women’s quality suits may come from stores like Saks Fifth Avenue or Dillard’s. Regardless of the quality or off-the-rack fit, a suit should be examined by a professional eye to ensure that you have the ideal suit.
Crystal Hessong ia a freelance writer and a lifelong, fourth generation Houstonian. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.