Get your first business suit right with these tips
Select a suit according to your body type and not what’s trendy
Formal attire is a given when you are going for a job interview. But when an MNC insisted that the candidates wear suit (trouser and coat), Ana Amir was in a quandary. After all, the sale season was over and the 22-year-old chartered accountant needed to buy a ready-made suit, at full price, which was an expensive proposition. She visited a few multinational retail outlets, before she found the suit of her choice at an H&M outlet in Mumbai, a high street fashion clothing chain. “The tailoring cost is too high for a suit, so I decided to buy a ready-made one,” says Amir, who chose to go with the “conventional” black for her first suit because “it will work everywhere”.
S Shrikanth, 30, head, business development, Loylty Rewardz, a loyalty solutions provider for companies, agrees with Amir about the choice of colour. Preferring only dark colours, Shrikanth has to wear a suit frequently for client meetings.
Four months ago, he got his fourth suit made from a local men’s boutique. “After buying a readymade suit for the first time, I realized that the blazer doesn’t fit me. My shoulder and chest fall in a very awkward body size. After that, I opted to get my suits tailored,” explains Shrikanth. Another mistake he almost made with his first suit was to opt for a bright blue colour. “My father gave me a dressing down and told me I should go for a darker shade. He told me I could experiment with coloured shirts to match the blazer,” he says.
Texture and colour of a suit remain very important decisions for Shrikanth, just as they are for corporate lawyer Anupam Prasad. The 35-year-old bought his first suit, a ready-made black one in Bengaluru. Of course, the colour choice was also a professional demand. Over the years though, he has accumulated 10 suits in his wardrobe, which include a dark sky blue one and a blue and black chequered one. He’s on a lookout for a suit in maroon now.
Prasad, partner, IndusLaw, selects his suit based on the client he’s meeting. “If it’s an IT client, I may take little more liberty with colour. If I am going to traditional firm, and I am not judging anyone, I wear a formal colour like black or grey,” says Prasad.
Although, Prasad doesn’t have to wear a suit everyday to the firm, he prefers wearing it. “Of course, substance matters and if you can’t help your client, it’s pointless, however well you may be dressed. But we work hard, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t dress up well,” he says.
Having worn suits for so many years, Prasad advises on buying a cotton mix fabric, which is comfortable, easy to maintain and wrinkle-free. Even Amir recommends stretchable fabric, especially when it comes to trousers, as it’s comfortable to wear while sitting for a long duration.
Atul Apte, design head, formal wear, Raymond Ready To Wear, suggests looking for a well-fitted performance suit, which is wrinkle-free, when you are choosing a suit for the first time. While soft tones of Melange greys and classic navy always work, with workplaces becoming contemporary, newer tones of blues are something one can explore.
In terms of material, Apte says that it’s a myth that pure wool suits are not suitable for the Indian climate. “In fact, a superfine 100% wool, which is a natural material, is much more comfortable and breathable than a polyester-rich material,” he explains. Though, getting a customized suit will always be an expensive option, Apte says they fit as per your body type resulting in better drape. So invest in it specially if it is your first suit.
How to select your first suit
Be clear for what occasion the suit is required.
Buy fine count 100% wool content or a wool-rich suit—it’s elegant and breathable too.
Buy a classic navy for its versatility—it can be teamed up with a wide range of shirts.
The lapel should perfectly sit on the chest area, while the jacket shoulder should be neatly resting on the shoulders. A clear half-inch shirt show in collar and sleeve is a signature of a well-fitted suit. Pair it with a trouser which preferably has a plain front and hem, and rests just below the ankle on the shoes.
Select a suit according to your body type and not what’s trendy. Slim cuts for a lean body and comfort or regular fit for stout body type.
—Atul Apte, design head, formal wear, Raymond Ready To Wear
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