Five suit buying essentials every man must know: and yes never listen to fashion experts!
Unless you are interviewing for a job at Ralph Lauren, never listen to a fashion expert when making business dress choices. Your strategy should focus on looking that you belong rather than appearing you have arrived. Your suit is your uniform and for you to succeed this idea is crucial for achieving your goals. Look at this as a classic battle between the fashion police versus the brand professionals. This means that how you are perceived always outplays how you look. When one remembers this, your personal brand will soar.
In order to make the right impression to those you meet, here are the five essentials that should serve as the practical guide when buying your business suit.
Essential 1: Seek Out Quality
If you think this is just a sales gimmick, you’re wrong. People can instantly discern the good from the bad. Brooks Brothers, for example, has set the standard for how people of influence, power and success should dress. (See video). They are known for their conservative lines that are exactly what you need to communicate if you want to be seen as a power player within your industry. But their suits can be pricey. Remember however there are always sales and a suit is an investment in your career — it’s better to have five great suits than twenty mediocre ones.
Essential 2: Choose the Right Style
A suit jacket should have flaps on the pockets, and the pockets should always be straight and not slanted and the lapels should not be too pronounced. Your pants should have the traditional 1.75 inch cuff. The vent in the back of the jacket should be in the middle (American cut) and not vented on the two sides (English cut). If you are short or overweight, never buy a double breasted suit. And if you do choose a double-breasted suit, always keep it buttoned!
Essential 3: Color is Critical
Tantillo’s rule: The darker the suit, the more authority you will have and the older you will look, even if you have the face of a baby. The first suit you should buy is a blue suit. The next should be a blue pinstripe, the third a charcoal gray and the fourth a dark gray pinstripe suit. You should start off with at least five suits and rotate them, so they do not wear out. In the same vein, when you arrive home immediately place your suit on a hanger, so that it does not lose its shape.
Essential 4: Fit is Key
Make sure that your suit is tailored the correct way. Your suit jacket should fit as though it was made for you. Develop a relationship with the store’s tailor. Not only will a good tailor tell you whether the suit works for you, he will transform the way it fits.
If you can manage it, bring an older man with corporate experience along as your suit-buying mentor. The fact is, sales people cannot always be trusted to put you in the right suit, and a mentor of this sort will help you fine tune the guidelines above. Never underestimate the power of a suit to help propel you to ever more exciting and professionally rewarding heights.
Essential 5: Go Brand Yourself
And finally, business dressing is all about your brand. If you remember that the suit is the uniform that reinforces your brand rather than a fashion statement which can work against your brand, you will be far ahead of the game. First and foremost your packaging is defined by your clothes or should I say — your uniform. Dressing for your colleagues and buying a suit for the “brand sensitive” is more than art — it is a science and the way you can “Go Brand Yourself!”
John Tantillo is a branding and marketing expert who is known as The Marketing Doctor. He is the author of “People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and on online Udemy course: “Go Brand Yourself, The Secrets of Branding for Personal and Professional Success.”