While custom-made bespoke men’s suits guarantee the very best fit, and made-to-measure suits are almost as good, there is usually a price to pay. Most men’s suits these days are sold off-the-rack, meaning they are manufactured in a range of standard sizes in the hopes that enough buyers will be able to find a reasonable compromise.
The upside is that there’s no waiting – you can walk into a store, try on a suit, and walk out again with it. And if you know your measurements, you can even buy online and try the suit in the comfort of your own home and see how a range of your own accessories will go with it.
If you go for an off-the-rack men’s suit, try for one that can be adapted to fit you better. Some men’s shops and most tailors will be able to adjust some of the key elements of an otherwise standard suit. These minor alternations, which can really make a difference to the overall look, include:
• Shorten the sleeves on the jacket (but they can’t usually be lengthened because there’s not enough material in the existing sleeve or the lining).
• Shorten the trousers (and lengthen them if there’s enough hem)
• Remove trouser cuffs (and add cuffs if there’s enough hem).
• Take in the waist of the trousers.
• Make the jacket waist slightly more nipped (this is quite a major alteration – darts are added to take in the jacket and give you a V-shaped looking torso rather than the more boxy look of most off-the-rack suit jackets).
Bear in mind though that there are limits to how much any jacket can be tailored to either take in or let out fabric along its various seams, and the shoulders in particular are difficult or impossible to alter. So spend time to get the best possible fit in the first place – or use a bespoke tailor.