Every man needs a suit, period. Whether you’re 18, 28, or 48 it’s an essential. But for many, suits are a whole new territory that is foreign and often times scary. What should my first suit be? Should it be black, grey, blue? Should it be two-button, three button, peak lapel, notch lapel? Should I go to Ralph Lauren, H&M, or Thom Browne? There are so many questions that can make buying your first suit into a terribly unpleasant experience. We personally feel that the first time you slip on a suit should be an empowering experience. It should make you feel like a proper man and should make you feel ready to take on anything whether it’s that big meeting or that cute girl eyeing you from across the room.
First things first. You need to get your measurements right. When looking at your first suit you’ll most likely be dealing with suits that have a shoulder measurement and a length, 40 Regular or 42 Long, for example. There are a couple things you could do here. You could go in and get measured by a tailor, which is what we suggest. This way you can get a ton of measurements that will help you when buying just about any garment, not just a suit. If you choose this, go in and get a neck, shoulder, chest, stomach, hip, sleeve, jacket length, waist, and trouser length. The tailor will know how to properly do all of these and you’ll end up with a nice list of your measurements on paper. The other option is to measure yourself, and when we say this, we mean to get a friend to measure you. Don’t actually measure yourself because too many things can be thrown off. Refer to the slightly awkward video below on what to measure and how.
The next step is figuring out what type of suit you want to look for. We suggest going two-button in grey or navy because two button suits are more flattering and will never go in and out of style like the one or three button. We also suggest that the suit be solid or have a subtle pattern which means no pinstripes; keep it simple. Too often people buy a black suit as their first suit, but black is actually less wearable than either grey or navy. We also suggest you go with a wool suit, and don’t be fooled by less expensive cotton options, because every man should have a wool suit. So now that we’ve narrowed it down to a grey or navy two button wool suit, that still leaves tons of options.
So what should you be looking for, and where should you be looking for it? First, we don’t suggest going to Tom Ford or Thom Browne for your first suit. If you have the resources, then great, but if you’re like the rest of us you’re looking for something a little more manageable. We suggest going for something in the $500 range. This way, you won’t be getting a crap suit that will fall apart in a year or two, but you won’t be killing your bank account with a garment you’re not ready to appreciate. In terms of fit, we suggest something that we would called classically tailored. Not super-fitted ala Thom Browne, but something that is flattering to the form. You should wear the suit, the suit should not wear you. But as the Italians say, “You should know you’re wearing a suit.” We also suggest going in store for your first suit; don’t order online. We’ve picked out 4 reasonable suits that are easy to find in stores. Enjoy.
J. Crew Wool Herringbone Ludlow Suit, $560
We all know that J. Crew has been killing it of late, so you had to expect them to fall on our list. This herringbone suit is so refined, making it perfect for both business and pleasure. Sleek lines, quality Italian Wool, and fully lined, this is a perfect starter suit. It’ll last you a long time if properly looked after, and you’ll be happy you bought it.
Brooks Brothers Brookease Travel Suit, $600
This is the most expensive suit on the list, but it’s meant for the man that will use his suit the most. If you’re the type of guy that will be traveling a lot for business, or maybe you’re just the guy that doesn’t know how to look after a suit, then you might want to look at this wrinkle-resistant option. It’s also got a classic fit that isn’t too tight or too loose, which means it’s not going to go out of style any time soon. You’ll be able to find this at any Brooks Brothers near you.
Banana Republic Wool Navy Suit, $475
Banana Republic has been doing some solid stuff recently, but because of J. Crew’s domination, they haven’t gotten the press they’ve deserved. This is a perfect option for someone looking to get into suits for the first time. It’s got a modern cut that will be flattering for those athletic or skinny types, but it doesn’t try to reinvent the suit. It will look good in any situation.
Club Monaco Wright Suit, $488
Club Monaco looks to be on the verge of making some major moves. They’ve been killing it lately, and their fall collection has got some serious pieces in it. They’ve hopped on the Mad Men bandwagon thanks to their menswear designer who helped to start the 1950’s style craze at Brooks Brothers Black Fleece. Their Wright suit comes in Prince of Wales check, grey flannel, and nailhead. It’s got a little bit of the Thom Browne fit without going overboard and little details like functional buttonholes and real mother-of-pearl buttons are what make this our favorite first-suit option. It’ll be available later this month in stores, and we expect you to check it out.