Suits 102: 4 Things You Should Know to Look Exceptional in Any Suit

Suits 102: 4 Things You Should Know to Look Exceptional in Any Suit

All Images: Brooks Brothers website
Now that you have an idea of what a proper fitting suit should feel like and how to check for fit, let’s discuss the remaining three characteristics of a suit—quality, style, and color.


What increases the quality of a suit are the materials used and attention to detail during construction. If you are shopping for a high-quality suit, think 100% wool, cotton and cashmere lined with an equally luxurious fabric like silk. When it comes to construction look for blazers and skirts that are fully lined and pants that are partially lined, at least.
However, if your budget cannot afford a high-quality suit, then that is okay. Go with what works within your budget because suits do not need to break the bank. You can find nicely constructed suits at an economical price point. Suits in this category are usually made out of a blend of fabrics like cotton, polyester, linen, and viscose and lined with similar fabrics. A combination of a good fit, flattering style, and nice color can make up for a lack in quality.


Selecting a style of suit is usually the fun part. There are so many silhouettes from which to choose — wide leg, cropped, high-waist, slim fit, the list goes on. To simplify things, ask yourself these three questions. 1) What style will I get the most use out of? 2) Can this style be worn in every season? 3) Does this look nice on me?
If this is your first suit for work, then try to stay away from what is trendy and opt for a style that is timeless, like a flared pantsuit or a pencil skirtsuit. Flared pants and pencil skirts are so versatile; both are universally flattering and can be worn year-round. If you have a bunch of suits and you want to add more to your collection, then focus on what flatters your body.


Color is paired expertly with style so give them equal thought. Bright colors are ways to express your personality while neutral colors are usually more professional and symbolic. For instance, navy is calming and signifies trust. Black is sleek and portrays elegance. Patterned suits like pinstripes are another beautiful option. Grey pinstriped suits are very popular and are not just for men; they look just as good on women. Color is genderless, so think about what image you want to portray, first. Then, choose a color that flatters your figure and complements the style of the suit. Black and navy are top choices.
If you’d like to go a little further and master suiting, here are additional things to consider.

Suits 101: 4 Things You Should Know to Look Exceptional in Any Suit

Suits 101: 4 Things You Should Know to Look Exceptional in Any Suit

Image: Brooks Brothers website
At some point in your life, you will need to navigate the world of suits to buy at least one that is good for work and more. To help make your search for a suitable suit go well when the time comes, let’s discuss the basics—fit, quality, style, and color. Those are what we call the four characteristics of a suit. Once you have a better concept of them, the suit world will magically become demystified. This is a two-part guide; part one focuses on fit since it’s crucial.


Fit is the way something conforms to the shape of your body. In a sense, it is measured by how a garment hits your body in all the right places and feels comfortable while looking nice on you. A proper fitting suit can take you a long way, thus making it very, very important. If an item doesn’t fit properly, then most likely you won’t feel confident when wearing it. And suits are commanding! They are sophisticated, casual, captivating, and sleek.

In general, there are things to look for when determining the proper fit of a suit. However, keep in mind that fit varies by style. Here are further details to know about fit and simple ways to test for it.


Sleeves: The shoulder seam of a suit jacket (where the sleeve is set) should fall slightly off the top of your shoulder to just before the rounded part. That placement allows for free arm movement. If the shoulder seam falls before, or higher up on your shoulder, then the jacket will be tight and restrictive in the arm area.
Movement test: With the jacket on, hold your arms out wide then cross them high in front of you. Almost like you are hugging yourself but make your arms boxed. If you feel like something is pulling or tight, then try a larger size.
Body: The jacket buttons should not show any signs of tension or pull when buttoned up. That is a sign of ill-fit, in this case, the jacket is too small. Also, the jacket lapels when buttoned make a V-shape. This V-shape should not be too wide. That is another sign the jacket is too small.
Size test: Button up the jacket then look at it from the back in a mirror. If there is a lot of room in the back, then the suit is too big. If your back is bulging, then the suit is too small.


For pants, fit is focused in the waist, hips, and crotch areas. The fit in those areas should be more relaxed this is where tension shows. If this area is too tight, it will also be highly uncomfortable. Your Waist is probably the trickiest because most people have a slimmer waist. So, pants can fit in the other areas but your waistband can be too big. A simple fix is to have the waist taken in by a tailor or use a belt.
Comfort test: Try sitting down in the pants before purchasing to see how it feels in those areas. If it’s tight, go up a size.
Leg Length: Very long pants will drag on the ground and get holes over time. To prevent against this, make sure your pants stop at least 2-3 inches above the ground with heels on. Two to three inches is suggested because weight fluctuates and this provides some wiggle room. (weight loss = longer length/weight gain = shorter length)
Length test: Walk around in a pair of heels with the pants on. If they drag on the floor, then get them hemmed.

5 Easy Tips for Mastering the Pantsuit

5 Easy Tips for Mastering the Pantsuit

CG Images
We love a good pantsuit on a woman. We like how it adds an extra layer of inimitability and power. Take Hilary Clinton for instance, she is always in a colored pantsuit while taking on the Good Ol’ Boys club. Janelle Monae is known to sport a flashy, stylish pantsuit, and as of late, Blake Lively has been rocking beautifully designed pantsuits to promote her newest movie. Wearing a pantsuit can be a powerful branding tool or just an easy wardrobe option. If you are thinking about buying one or trying to find new ways to wear ones you already have, then here are 5 things to consider. 

1) Think About Color

Black, navy, grey, pinstripe—all good neutral colors and staples to have. As you grow your collection, feel free to add vibrant colors and fun patterns. The only caveat, vibrant colors can be showstopping, so you are less likely to wear a colorful suit as often as a neutral suit.

2) Balance Proportions

Give balance to your pantsuit by keeping things proportional. If you are 5’5″ and wearing a pair of baggy, low slung or wide leg pants, then try wearing high heels in order to elongate your legs and prevent yourself from looking frumpy or swallowed up by your clothes.
Sarah Ann Murray, Image by Wyane Tippetts
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3) Tailoring is Important

Take your suit to a tailor, if you can afford to. Tailoring is an extra expense, but it’s well worth it. It can turn an average suit into a bespoke suit. However, if you choose not to visit your local tailor, then create a tailored look by sticking to structured pantsuits and slim fitting tops. 

4) Contrast Pulls It Together

Use a contrasting blouse or pair of shoes to accentuate your look. When wearing a pantsuit, try to pair it with either funky shoes and a plain top or a fancy top and plain shoes. Or keep a monochromatic color scheme and throw-in a variant with your shoes. For example, imagine a woman wearing a black pantsuit, plain black blouse and red heels. Sleek, right?

5) Spice It Up

Experiment with your look. Don’t be afraid to add a bow tie, suspenders, a brooch or scarf to your pantsuit. For those of you who wouldn’t dare to accessorize with any of the above, try wearing printed tights under your pants or layers under your suit jacket, like a vest or cardigan on top of a button up.
Whatever color or style of pantsuit you wear, always wear it with confidence! Choose a suit that makes you feel comfortable, strong and—most importantly—yourself. Check out the gallery of ladies mastering the pantsuit.
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