When it comes to building a good business wear wardrobe, a top-notch classic suit forms the foundation. While one can purchase a suit of decent quality without breaking the bank, think of this purchase as an investment in your career and allocate a fairly handsome budget for your buy. To make the most of your buy, take note of the following guidelines while shopping for business suits.
Wool, polyester and wool/polyester blends are the most common suiting fabrics. A blend of wool/polyester is considered to be the best buy as polyester increases the fabric strength and reduces shrinkage, stretching and wrinkling. Wool helps in increasing the fabric absorbency, making it better suited for winters and warm, humid weather.
If a fabric regains it’s shape with little or no wrinkling after hard squeezing and scrunching for 10 seconds, it passes the wrinkle resistance test and the fabric is considered to be of high quality and finds use as suiting material.
When diagonal wrinkles appear angled across the top of the sleeve, then understand that too much fabric is induced into one side, which will create difficulties in pressing out the wrinkles.
Always opt for a loose fit over a tight fit and have it altered where necessary, as buying the right size does not always result in a perfect fit. A good fit can camouflage minor imperfections in fabric or construction, but a faulty fit can make even the most expensive suit look cheap and tacky.
Shoulder pads should lift and appear natural, instead of appearing large and lumpy. The shoulder seam should lie across the tip of the shoulder bone and not be gathered into wrinkles and small folds. Stay away from suits with curled lapels.
The jacket lining should have an ease pleat at the back, in the centre and along the bottom hem. For women, the skirt lining should cover the coarse edges of the waistband and be hemmed separately. The jacket collar should lie smooth and snug at the back of the neck and the top of the collar should lie about one inch below the top of the shirt collar. The sleeves of the jacket should end at the shirt wristband when the arm is held in a bent position without being binding. When the arm is lowered, about one inch of the shirt sleeve should be visible.
Suit skirts should glide smoothly over the stomach and buttocks and be long enough to cover the knee when seated.
Suit trousers should be long enough to prevent socks from showing while walking, and there should be a slight dent or break in the front crease. If the trousers are too small the waistline pleats will pull to the side, the pockets will be pulled open and the fly won’t lie flat. If the trousers are too large, a bulge appears under the buttocks.
Always choose cooler hues with medium to dark tones, with dull, muted to medium intensities and strong colour contrasts. Black, navy blue, flannel grey, charcoal, french blue are classic colour choices. For a contemporary look, opt for shades such as taupe, maroon, forest green, wine, aubergine and olive.
If you’d like to try patterns, start with timeless ones like Glen plaid, windowpane plaid, Glen check, houndstooth, gingham, herringbone, tweed, and later progress to bolder patterns like Scotch plaid, argyle or the pinstripe as per your comfort and personal style.