Guide to the Perfect Men's Suit

Men's suits, to the uninitiated, seem to belong in a secretive world full of pinstripes and tailors. It's not surprising, conside used for suits, it can get difficult to fully describe one if you're not used to it. Here's some of the jargon that you can expect to hear from both your tailor and the department store salesman.

Lapels are often mistaken for the collar because of its position. The lapel is that pair of triangles of fabric that extend from the front of your collar into your chest area. Though they're not paid a lot of attention, the kind of lapel on a suit has a large influence on how it will look.

Notch lapels are the classic choice on suits; there's no way that you can go wrong when you have those two equal notches on your suit jacket. An edgier, more modern option, meanwhile, is the peak lapel, which has the upper lapel extending some way further than the lower one. Try the peak lapel if you want something slightly out of the ordinary of if you are dressing up in a tuxedo. For more information you may also want to read the post on Mens Suit Labels.

As a good rule of thumb: A good suit should show about a half inch of shirt cuff when worn. Though the adage still works well today, you now have a much wider range of options to work with when discussing the sleeves on your suit jacket.

You could, for example, go with a slightly shorter jacket sleeve that shows even more cuff. This is fairly common with European tailoring, which plays with the lengths of the different limbs. Longer jacket sleeves are also becoming common, especially since more and more people are wearing their suit jackets over regular short-sleeve tees – to create a sportier and more casual look.

At the back of the suit jacket – right over your derriere – is a slit or pair of slits. These are the vents of the jacket; they don't contribute much to the jacket style-wise, but they do help in hiding or accenting certain assets, as well as making movement easier.

Single vents, commonly known as center vents, are the classic, and all-around favorite option for suits. It's very hard to go wrong with center vents, and chances are that your tailor will recommend it. Double vents or side vents are a great way downplay a larger-than-usual butt or unusually small waist.

The type of buttoning and the number of buttons used are one of the most noticeable characteristics of a suit. Choose the style that best compliments your body type. Besides the number of buttons, experst speak of single-breasted and double-breasted suit jackets. Although still used, the later was once popular in the late 80s. Today most suits are single breasted.

Three-button jackets and blazers, once considered a relic of the 90's, are making a big comeback especially on the American market. A three-button notch lapel blazer makes you look every bit the respectable Wall Street banker. Go for the three-button option if you have the regular body type and a well-proportioned physique.

Vertically challenged guys, meanwhile, will want to go for the two-button variety. Having just the two buttons exposes more of your shirt and tie, which is why it's a popular trick in men's fashion to make guys look a bit taller in the torso. A close-fitting two-button peak lapel jacket has been a very popular look in magazines these last few seasons.

Learn the lingo before you even take your first trip to the store. A tailor or salesman will be more likely to take your preferences seriously when they see that you know what you're talking about.

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