The perfect suit

To make a good impression in business, you don’t have to buy an expensive suit, but it does pay to get the fit just right. Olive Gachara gives her top tips for finding the perfect suit.

Your suit plays an important role in defining your character so a good deal of thought should go into its selection. Regardless of whether you buy a 50-dollar or a 2000-dollar suit, it is the way you wear it and the way you carry it that matters most. This all boils down to how well it fits. The perfect fit is not as elusive as it seems, though it is not always easy. If the jacket fits just right the trousers are too small, or vice versa. The rule of thumb is to get a jacket that fits well, and alter the trousers to fit. Bear in mind that a suit is a wardrobe staple that should last about five years, and it is imperative that you make the right purchase. Below is a list of the various elements that will help you to identify a properly fitting suit. Happy Shopping!

1 The Collar
The collar should sit smoothly around the neck without bunching up, and drape smoothly down the back. About half an inch of your shirt should show above the collar.

2 The Shoulders
The shoulder seam should extend slightly over the natural shoulder to allow for a smooth drop of the sleeve down your arm without any straining or hanging around the armpit.

3 The Chest
There should be enough ease to move around in your suit. Your jacket lapels should sit flat on your chest with just enough room to insert the flat of your palm when standing.

4 Sleeve Length
To get the correct sleeve length, bend your hand – the sleeve should sit just below the wrist bone. This gives an allowance for a quarter or half of an inch of the shirt sleeve to be seen.

5 Jacket Length
Stand straight in your jacket, with your hands hanging by your side. Your jacket should fall just below your buttocks with the jacket vents lying flat.

6 The Waistline
Trousers should fit comfort-ably around the waist (use your tailor where necessary). Leave an allowance of one finger inside the waistband for natural expansion when you sit. It is important to note that the trouser can be adjusted one size up or one size down without altering how it falls.

7 Pleats
While pleats flatter ‘O-shapes’ (see below) most, it is ultimately a fashion choice. Make sure your pleats lie flat when standing.

8 Trouser Length
Stand straight and have your tailor measure your full length from the waist to the floor. For a full break, deduct one inch.

NOTE:  When selecting suits (or any other clothes for that matter), stand, sit and walk around in the clothes before buying, to get a feel of how they fit in different positions. This should ensure that you don’t regret your purchase once you get home.

Your body shape and suit cut…
Suits generally come in three cuts. Picking a suit cut that complements your body shape leaves less need for alteration and ensures a better fit. The cuts are:
1 V-Shape which is the more athletic build with broader shoulder and arms, and a tapered waist. This body shape sits better in an Italian- cut suit.
2 H-Shape where you are straighter through the trunk. This body shape would sit best in a British Contemporary-cut suit.
3 O-Shape is where you carry most of your weight around your waist/stomach area. This body shape sits better in an American-cut suit.