Especially in the current changing economic climate, many young men are finding themselves searching for jobs or interviewing in areas unrelated to their previous employment. The competition can be fierce, and one of the most well-known ways to get such an edge is through proper dress when approaching potential employers. A suit has become essential to more men than ever. Buying one, however, is not typically as easy as walking into a store and pulling one off the rack.
First you need to decide how much you want to spend, which is intricately related to how often, when and where you will wear the suit. Suits can cost thousands of dollars apiece, but you don’t have to spend that much.
When you start looking more closely, you will see that there are suits, suit pants, and suit jackets. Buying suit pants and suit jackets separately can save a little money, especially if you can find one or both on a sale. The problem with buying them separately is that they are not typically taken from the same cut of material, so they may be slightly different shades (including black) and/or may change colors over time so that they no longer quite match. If you are looking for something cheap that you may only wear once or twice, this is probably the way to go. For just a little more money, however, you can get a suit that should last longer and that can be a very versatile part of your wardrobe.
Now you can decide where to purchase your suit. There are department stores that sell suits off the rack, and these can be great deals, especially if there is a clearance sale. If you want one that is perhaps a little better quality and need some help with fit, a men’s store such as Men’s Wearhouse might be a better choice. You also might need one of these specialty shops if you are tall or heavy; regular department stores have a much smaller selection and are less likely to have an expert on hand who can help you with fit.
With regard to fit, be sure the sleeves reach just to the base of your thumb, allowing about ½ inch of the shirt to show. The pants should end just above the heel, not letting any fabric drag on the floor. Shorter, heavier men should avoid pleats and cuffs as well as double-breasted jackets.
The other choices you run into when purchasing a suit don’t matter quite as much. It is best to choose wool, which is also the most common fabric you will find. A gray or black is a good color choice for a first suit; it is appropriate for most occasions. Also note that a sport coat or sports jacket is not the same as a suit jacket. The colors, fabrics and textures of such jackets will probably not match suit pants as you might expect them to. Sports jackets should be in contrast to pants rather than part of a matching set as in a suit.
When considering your budget, also note that you will need to buy at least one button-up shirt with a collar as well as a tie. You will need dress shoes and dark socks. And you may need to pay for tailoring. Men’s stores will often do the tailoring on site, but you will have to pay for it. Tailoring services are available nearly everywhere, but the costs can vary dramatically, so do some shopping there as you shop for the suit.
All in all, purchasing a suit that will last you a while together with a couple of dress shirts, ties and other accessories will probably cost about $450. The confidence you get from dressing like a professional will carry over into that job interview, and you will find that the time and patience it takes to buy a suit is well worth it.