A stylish business suit does not have to break the bank. If you follow these tips you will know what to look for and how to buy the right business suit.
When it comes to how good a suit looks the main indicator is fit. If a suit does not fit well it is a tell-tale sign that it is cheap or that the wearer didn’t put any thought or effort into it.
Go For Business Suit Separates
In order to get the best fit from an off-the-rack business suit try going for suit separates. A lot of online suit retailers now sell jackets, vests and pants separately. This way you can get a much more custom fit, especially if you have a body shape that is not typical. For example if you have broad shoulders you may need a larger jacket but require smaller pants, and suit separates give you the flexibility to find the closest fit you can without going custom.
No Shiny Fabrics
In most cases a shiny fabric indicates that it is a synthetic material, and therefore cheap.
While some shine might work with a fashion forward statement suit, for a business suit you will most likely want to stick to something more traditional, elegant and professional.
The best fabrics to choose for a business suit are wool and wool blends. Wool is a very versatile suit fabric as it will keep you warm in winter but still breathe in summer and is very comfortable to wear. And if you need to cut costs try a wool blend so that you can get some of the benefits of wool while saving some money.
Stick To Traditional Colours, Mostly
The traditional colours for business suits are navy and grey/charcoal, and most of the time you should stick to these. However, you can spruce things up and show a bit of flair and personality by adding patterns and textures to these traditional colours. You can also choose a black suit, but they can sometimes be too much for daytime wear and can look harsh on some skin tones.
Always remember to choose a suit colour that works with your complexion and hair colour. If you are going to buy online in order to get a good deal on a suit you should still go into a store, even just one of the big department stores, and try on a few different jacket colours to see how they look on you.
Depending on the type of work and office you could veer from the traditional colours and try a blue suit if you like a brighter colour or earthy tones like tans or olives if you like warm colours.
Be Stylish, But Also Comfortable
Because some men wear their business suits 9-5, 5 days a week, it is important to have a comfortable suit. Now that is not to say wear a loose or baggy suit, as a bad fit will make the suit look cheap. But rather it is another reason to make sure you get the best fit you can, no one looks good in an ill fitting suit be it too loose or too tight. This is another reason why buying suit separates is a good idea if you are on a budget.
Also remember to consider the type of fabric. If you work in a place that gets quite hot in summer find a suit with natural fibres, such as wool, wool blends and cotton, for breathability. And if you work in a cold environment go for a warm suit fabric. You can read our guide to suit fabrics to help you choose the right option for you and your budget.
Find The (Sliver) Lining
A lined suit jacket looks more expensive. Usually a hallmark of a bespoke suit, it is now becoming more common for off-the-rack suit jackets to feature linings.
Often a suit jacket lining will be a bold colour like red or purple, so it is a great way to add a subtle hint of colour that only pops when you move or take your jacket off. A colourful lining can make a suit look very stylish and expensive.
Upgrade The Buttons
One of the easiest things to change on a new suit jacket to make it look more expensive is to upgrade the buttons. Usually cheaper suits will have simple plastic buttons, so to give it a bit more flair you could invest in some new buttons and get a tailor to swap them out. While they might seem pricey for buttons, they are a fraction of the cost of a bespoke suit and can really elevate the look of a suit.
So, Can You Buy An Off The Rack Business Suit?
Absolutely yes. But try to find the best fit you can, choose a quality fabric and make a few decisions and changes that can elevate your suit.
So you don’t have to win a mega powerball jackpot in order to afford a new suit. Just make sure you pay attention to a few key areas and you should be able to find an affordable suit that looks great:
- Try suit separates for a more custom fit
- Stay away from shiny and cheap fabrics
- Go for traditional navy and grey, but mix up the patterns and textures
- Aim for comfort and a good fit
- A lining can make a big difference to the look
- Upgrade the small things, like buttons
If you are in the market for a new business suit check out our recommended suit retailers who offer great ranges at all price points, plus also often have special offers so you can get a great deal.
Also remember that the shirt, tie and accessories you wear can help create a stylish outfit regardless of how expensive your suit is.