How to do this without making a $200 mistake.
(Trust me, I’ve made them.)
There is a difference between buying an inexpensive suit that looks great, and wearing an off the rack Men’s Wearhouse cheap piece of crap. Here’s six rules on how to go about finding a great suit for under $200.
1. Stick with Kenneth Cole, Alfani Red Label or Calvin Klein. They’re cut slim to start, but you will absolutely have to get it tailored. If you’re not going to get it tailored, don’t even bother buying a suit. This is your suit, it should be customized.
2. Go Grey or Navy Blue. Black is way less versatile. Easy on the stripes. Pin-dot if you can find it.
3. Two Button Jacket. Flat Front Pants. No exceptions. Disproportion is what will make your suit look cheap. Three buttons shows too little of your shirt. But at the same time, Kenneth Cole and Alfani sets the pair of buttons high enough that you don’t show too much shirt.
4. Get it during a Macy’s Sale, or… at Overstock.com – Don’t pay full price. Ever. If you’re going the online route, try on as close to identical suit (same brand) at a department store.
5. It has to fit in the shoulder and jacket length. If it doesn’t fit there, it won’t fit anywhere. Put the jacket on. Stand close to a wall and slowly lean your shoulder in it. If your shoulder and the shoulder pad hit the wall at the same time, it fits. Let your arms hang at your sides. Cup your hands. If the jacket falls into your cupped hands but doesn’t bunch up, it’s the right length.
6. Find a great Tailor. Don’t have the alterations service at the store bring in your jacket and pants for you. Your tailor should be like the person who cuts your hair… you should have a good relationship with them. They’ll get to know you, know what you like, and what you don’t. The thing about hair is that it grows back… bad alterations don’t. Go find a good tailor by asking around at work, and don’t be afraid to ask your female co-workers too. Bring the jacket in at the sides, the pants so there’s a 1-inch break on the leg, and the jacket sleeves up so you’re showing a 1/4 inch of shirt cuff.
Follow those rules and you can get a dynamite suite for under $200. My personal favorite is a navy blue Kenneth Cole pin-dot that I got on Overstock for… $100.