How to buy your first suit: an expert's guide

How to buy your first suit: an expert's guide

We asked a style professional at G2000 for tips on picking the perfect formal wear

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Young Post cadet Neel Chawla tries on a suit at G2000 Black.
Photo: Jonathan Wong/SCMP

Every man needs at least one suit, but they don’t come cheap so you want to get it right. Young Post spoke to Tomer Kong Ka-long, a suit consultant with clothing brand G2000 Black for advice on how to spend your money wisely on a suit, and how best to wear them for formal occasions.

Fitting

When checking the fit of a suit, the key points to look at are: the shoulders, waist, wrists, and ankles.

The shoulders of the jacket should be equal to the width of your shoulders. A loose fit will make you look unprofessional.

The jackets should also fit you properly around the waist. There should be enough space to insert two fingers above the button and just tight enough to create a couple of ‘whiskers’ across the front when buttoned up.

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Sleeves should be two finger widths past the wrist for shirts, and one and a half fingers for jackets. If you can see the inner shirt at the wrist, that’s about right.

Trouser legs should have around one crease at the ankle.

It can be tempting to buy a bigger suit to make room for growth, but while an extra inch or two might be all right, more than that would be no good.

Make sure you fit your trousers right.
Photo: Jonathan Wong/SCMP

Colour

An easy rule of thumb to follow is: the darker the shade of your suit, the more formal it is. Blue works in most cases.

Solid colours are a safer choice than ones with a pattern.

Black is seen as very formal, and should be reserved for special occasions such as weddings or funerals.

The exact shade can be left to personal taste, but the shirt, jacket, and tie should not be too close in colour. Also, avoid shirts with a colour too close to your skin tone.

Jacket and pants should be from the same set with the same colour and pattern.

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Suit components

There are many components to a suit.

A jacket, trousers, shirt, tie, belt, and socks should all be worn together when attending a formal occasion.

Trainers and white socks should be avoided. Instead find a smart pair of leather shoes to match your ensemble.

When choosing a tie, it should only be as wide, or thinner than the lapels of the jacket (the part on each side of the jacket right below the collar which is folded back).

A properly tied tie will have a “dimple” or small crease below the knot, and it should reach down to your belt.

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Formal wear

Shirts should be tucked in and buttoned to the top.

Never do up the bottom button on your jacket, and remember to undo all buttons when you sit down.

Maintenance tips

If you want your suit to last a long time, you need to take good care of it. Most suits are dry clean only, but always check before washing.

Note, however, that dry cleaning your suits can reduce its lifespan because of the chemicals used in the process.

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Another thing to remember is to always wash jacket and pants from the same set together, or they might fade at different rates and end up being different colours.

Wool will shrink when wet, so avoid being out in the rain when wearing a wool suit.

Polish your leather shoes to keep them shiny, and take care when you walk so as not to scratch or scuff them.

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Accessories

Pocket squares or handkerchiefs are an affordable way to add a pop of colour to your outfit.

Avoid wearing a sports watch. Formal watches should have a leather or metal band.

Backpacks do not go well with suits, both appearance wise and because the straps will cause the fabric to crease around the shoulders.

A suit can easily be dressed down for a more casual look.
Photo: Jonathan Wong/SCMP

Casual wear
If you’re going to a more casual event, you don’t have to wear the full suit. You can leave your tie at home and have the top buttons of your shirt undone. Or if you want, you can swap the suit trousers for a pair of jeans or khaki trousers for a more laid-back look.

Just make sure to check the dress code of where you are going before dressing up.

Edited by Nicole Moraleda

*Correction: Kong's name was mispelled in the print version of this article. The correct spelling is Tomer Kong Ka-long. We apologise for any embarrassment caused. 

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Time to suit up

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