Men’s Fashion – How to Buy and Fit a Suit

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 208,042
    Men’s fashion expert Matt Landsberg demonstrates how to buy and fit a suit.

    Matt Landsberg

    Matt Landsberg

    Starting out in structured finance and asset-backed securities, Mattrealized the money isn’t always greener working for someone else. He decided to make a180-degree turn, leave securities(and security) and start Eric Finn Custom Clothiers. Working with and learning from master tailors, Matthas built a successful custom clothing company, catering to the needs of numerous executives, politicians, attorneys, and professional athletes (and anyone else that appreciates perfect fitting clothes). Matt offers BBG some insight on the benefits of making a good impression.

    Hi, my name is Matt Landsberg, I am president of Eric Finn Custom Clothiers. We make custom suits, custom shirts, and a host of other custom garments for Executives, Attorneys, Athletes and Professional Entertainers. We have been featured in a number of area publications including the Washington Post and probably a dozen other publications, and serve primarily Washington D.C., New York and Miami.

    Today we're going to talk about how to purchase a custom suit, how to have it fit well, what to look forward when buying a custom suit, including quality aspects of it, if you choose to have something made custom, how to find a good tailor, and ultimately, how to take care of your suit. Next, we're going to talk about, and we're going to show what an ill-fitting suit looks like. Here we have got Brice wearing a shirt bought off the rack, that's a little too big in the waist, that's a first glaring issue I see. So, here he has got all kinds of extra room, and if you were to tuck it in there would be all kinds of blousing, and it would look fairly poor. What you want to do for this is take this to your local tailor, a quality tailor that works on clothes frequently, and have it adjusted. It's not something that cost tremendously a lot of money, but probably around $20-25 per shirt. The other thing I see here is the sleeve is pretty long on Brice. He has got a lot of extra bunching here, and so you can have this shortened as well by a qualified tailor. The other glaring aspect I see is a watch. He has got a larger watch, and that the cuff, the cuff doesn't cover the watch. What you can do with your tailor as well is have them take off the button and reestablish it where its slightly bigger, so it slides over the watch. In the shoulders it fits pretty well, and in the neck it fits pretty well also. Ideally when I get about one finger there, if its too tight, obviously you can strangle yourself, if its too full, it looks sloppy. Next thing we will do is talk about the suit, and how it should fit the jacket. So, this jacket as a whole is just a little too big for Brice. First thing I notice is it's too full on the chest here. So, you've got a little bit of buckling, especially if he is not standing completely straight, you've got all kinds of extra fabric here. It's not too bad in the shoulders, but just a hair big, you might be able to see that I'm pinching a little bit of extra shoulder padding, ideally that shouldn't be case. The biggest and most glaring issue about this suit jacket is he has got way too much room in the waist. A lot of times when somebody buys a suit off the rack, it's going to be too big in the waist. If you don't get a quality tailor to adjust it, then that's going to be too full, but again, this is something that can be pulled in on the side of the jacket. The sleeves of this jacket are too short. You can even see the button, and again, the shirt sleeve is too long, but the jacket is too short. Ideally what you want to show is about a quarter inch of shirt sleeve underneath the jacket sleeve. In this case, again, because the shirt is not coming over top of the watch, you can't see any sleeve at all. Again, these are all things that should be considered when buying a suit, and once you have the suit having them altered properly. The other thing about this suit jacket is that it's too long. Tailoring is very much about balance and proportion. The jacket should cut the ware in half. So, from behind the neck to the floor, if for example that's 60 inches, your jacket length should be about 30 inches. This one is too long, and it makes Brice's legs look shorter, so there is lot of illusion there. So, this is one of the things where you can have the jacket shortened, or ideally if you're buying off the rack, you know it's a look forward with the right jacket length. Next thing that's very glaring about this suit, and we see it frequently is the trousers he is wearing are too long. You can see here it's buckling both in the front. So, there is not even a proper break as it should be, but it's all together buckling. If he turns 90 degrees here, you can see how it is in the back, it's buckling and it's dragging along the back. That's another very simple thing for a tailor to fix, but it's one of the things that really needs to be paid attention to, and it shows you're paying attention, you're polished to your overall appearance. Here we can see that the trousers are too short, some people might refer to this as high water, or wearing high waters. This is one of those cases where the trousers clearly need to be lengthened, and in this case a good two or three inches. Here you can see from the back how high it is. Now, ideally its going to go basically right above the heel. Once that's corrected, you shouldn't have a problem. Now, if you're buying something off the rack and it's significantly short like this, you might want to check the inside of the trouser to make sure there is enough fabric where it can be let out. One last thing I am going to show, turn Brice 90 degrees here, is frequently, and this suit particularly isn't too bad, but a lot of guys you see a collar roll right here. That's another fairly easy thing to fix, again, take it to a qualified tailor, and what they're going to do is lower the collar and take out this extra fabric, so everything lays smooth around the back. Next we're going to show how a suit should fit properly.