How to Buy a Suit: The Best Rules to Follow

Buying your first serious suit can seem challenging with so many options, but it doesn’t have to be. Just follow a handful of rules and tips. Pick your budget, know your measurements, and the environment where you plan to wear it. You should also pay attention to a few minor details. More on that later.


Buying a suit can be a time consuming task, especially if you are not familiar with the world of men’s fashion. However, with the right guidance, buying a suit can be an enjoyable experience that results in a well-fitting and stylish outfit for any occasion. In this article, we will provide you with some tips on how to buy a suit.

1. Know Your Measurements

Going to the suit shop or tailoring and asking for a Size M jacket won’t get you far. The first step in buying a suit is to know your measurements. This includes your chest size, waist size, and inseam. You can do basic measuring yourself, but I highly recommend asking your tailor to measure you to ensure precision.

Knowing your measurements will help you find a suit that fits you well and flatters your body type. 

How to Buy a Suit: Know Your Measurements

You can only skip the measurement part with an off the rack suit. Try on different suits and pick the best fitting one, remember, you should always go slightly bigger than slightly smaller, as a talented tailor can alter a bigger suit for your body type.

When you find the perfect suit, you’ll probably still need to make some alterations to the jacket as it is nearly impossible to have a perfectly fitting off the rack suit.

2. Set Your Budget

Suits come in a wide range of prices, so it is important to set your budget before you start shopping. A bespoke suit can be quite an investment, but there are also more affordable alternatives that can still look great. There are three main categories when it comes to suits, ranging from lowest to highest in price: off the rack, made to measure, and bespoke.

Decide how much you are willing to spend before you begin your search, so you can avoid uncomfortable conversations at some stores. Suits can be expensive but always think of them as an investment into your future. The feeling you have when you have a well fitting suit is unmatched, this extra confidence is what you need when securing a new job or on an important date.

How to Buy a Suit: Determine Your Budget

If you’re a young guy just starting your career, you may want to consider a suit in the price range of 300-600 euros. However, if you are the Vice President of a large company and want to make a statement in the office, I suggest investing in a bespoke suit.

The cost of such a suit will depend on the fabric you choose and the rates of the tailor, but if you find the right tailor, it will all be worth it. Additionally, some tailors sell shoes and belts too. So, you can buy a complete outfit in one place. Or, they can give you their personal opinion on what you should buy, after all, they are one of the best dressed professionals.

3. Choose the Right Fabric

Suits come in a variety of fabrics, including wool, cotton, linen, and polyester. Wool is a popular choice for its durability and versatility, while cotton and linen are lighter options that are ideal for warmer weather.

Polyester is a budget-friendly option that is also easy to care for. However, I am deeply against having a polyester suit, as it can look cheap on you, your body can’t breath under the fabric and it will do more bad than good for you. 

Two Suit Jackets on Racks in Store
Photo by Alexander Naglestad

Consider the occasion and season when selecting the fabric for your suit. If you are not sure which fabric to choose, we’ve written an article on the topic: The Best Suit Fabrics for Men: Complete Guide

4. Pick a Style That Suits You

There are several styles of suits to choose from, including single-breasted, double-breasted, two or three-piece suits. Single-breasted suits are the most common and versatile, while double-breasted suits are more formal and have a classic look.

Three-piece suits include a vest and are ideal for formal or business environments. 

How to Buy a Suit: Pick a Style That Suits You
Kent Handmade Plaid Cashmere Suit by © Ralph Lauren

There are also three well known styles including the American cut, the Italian cut, and the British cut. Stay tuned because we are planning a separate article on the topic, until then, check out this infographic to find the right cut for you.

British American Italian Suits Comparison
British American Italian Suits Comparison by Bespoke Unit

5. Consider the Fit

The fit of a suit is perhaps one of the most important factors to consider when buying a suit. A well-fitting suit should be comfortable but also fit snugly to your body without being too tight or too loose.

Pay attention to the length of the jacket sleeves and pants, and the waist and chest measurements.

How to Buy a Suit: Consider the Fit
Green Double Breasted Suit © Rocketry

If necessary, take the suit to a tailor for alterations. As said at the measurements, it’s rare to see off the rack suits to look perfect on you, but it can happen. However, I recommend contacting a few local tailors who can make the necessary alterations to your suit.

6. Think About Colors and Patterns

Suits come in a range of colors and patterns, from classic black and navy to bolder shades like burgundy and green. Consider the occasion and your style when selecting the color and pattern of your suit. A solid color suit is versatile and can be worn for many occasions, while a patterned suit can be a bold statement piece. 

How to Buy a Suit: Think About Color and Pattern
Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Pearson in © The Gentlemen, 2019

Think about the environment in which you plan to wear your suit. Is it the office, is it a summer wedding, or a casual everyday suit? We’ve also made a few articles helping to choose the right suit for the right environment.

7. Accessorize

Complete your suit look with the right accessories. A tie and pocket square can add a pop of color and personality to your outfit. Also, consider skipping the tie for a more relaxed look.

How to Buy a Suit: Pick the Right Tie and Pocket Square

Dress shoes and a belt should complement the color of your suit. For the final details, consider a formal watch and cufflinks for a touch of sophistication.

How to Buy a Suit: Pick the Right Belt for Your Suit

FAQs About Buying a Suit

So, How to Buy a Suit?

In conclusion, buying a suit doesn’t have to be that difficult. By knowing your measurements, setting your budget, selecting the proper fabric and style, considering the fit, and accessorizing appropriately, you can find a suit that will look and fit perfectly on you and you can feel like a true gentleman wearing it.

Don’t worry if you’re not a fashion guru; most suit stores have capable staff who will assist you in selecting the perfect suit. You just need to find the right store.

Striped Shirt Navy Blue Suit Outfit

Remember, if you want to dress like a modern gentleman, a well-fitting suit can make all the difference in your appearance and confidence for any occasion.

Keep reading: Men’s Clothing Essentials That Will Make You Look Smarter

How to Buy a Suit: The Best Rules to Follow
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How to Buy a Suit: The Best Rules to Follow
Ready to level up your style? Our guide on how to buy a suit is a must-read. From nailing the perfect fit to choosing the right fabric, we've got you covered.
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Midway Gentleman
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