Q & A with PG editors : My First Suit — Where Do I Start?

Sonya Glyn NICHOLSON

Q & A with PG editors : My First Suit — Where Do I Start?

Hello PG, 

I stumbled upon some menswear sites recently (including yours) and decided I want to start dressing better and build a wardrobe to help me go further in different walks of life.

The problem is I’m 26 and just starting out and I have no idea where to begin. There’s too much information out there to make sense of it all. Can you give me a specific (solid) plan to get  started on the right foot?

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Dear reader,

This is your journey and your body is your palette. Here are seven things to do to get started with a serious look that will make you look like you aren’t just a beginner. The rest should come naturally, as you enter into a world that can change so much for the positive in your life.

1 – You can start with a suit in your exact size either from an affordable (yet good value for money) brand like Suit Supply or Boggi. Choose a navy blue or gray worsted wool suit with a fabric weight which is versatile enough to wear throughout most seasons of the year. Avoid the neophyte mistake of choosing black for the color of your first serious suit. Once you own two good suits, you will start feeling nice about how you are dressing (suit-wise). Suit Supply and Boggi will give you affordable options and will help you begin learning what you like and don’t like in regard to fit and style. See the PG Suit Review for other options.

2- Look up the word “lapels”. For your suit to look like a quality suit, make sure the lapels on your coat are not too skinny. Skinny lapels (i.e., lapels slimmer than 3.25 inches) can make a suit look cheap. Read about the dreaded Collar Gap and make sure your suit coat does NOT have one before you buy. For more advanced study, read Seven Things to Look for in a Suit.

3 – Find a good shirt and make sure the shirt collar is large enough to tuck under your suit coat. Your silhouette is more streamlined when you can’t see the outline of the shirt collar when wearing your suit coat over your shirt. The shirt sleeves should be long enough to “show” a little underneath your suit coat sleeves, when you are wearing your entire suit.

4 – Be strict about hemming your trouser legs so they just touch the top of your shoes. You’ll be surprised to notice how many people neglect the very simple act of getting an alteration tailor to hem trousers (an oversight which is one of the main telltale signs of a careless dresser).

5 – If possible, don’t wear a belt — it cuts the body in half visually. Instead, wear trousers that fit around the waist and do not need a belt, or wear suspenders to secure your trousers in place. Although a question of personal taste, suspenders appear to be making a comeback for men of all shapes and sizes.

6 – Buy beautiful socks from companies like Bresciani. Buy ties from places like Howard’s ParisCalabrese 1924, and study Viola Milano photos for endless combinations of shirt, tie and suit looks.

7 – Finally, buy starter shoes from Carmina (made in Spain), Cobbler Union (distributed in the USA, made in Spain) or J.Fitzpatrick Footwear (distributed in the UK, made in Spain). These shoes are nice at affordable prices ($300 – 600). Never skimp on shoe quality.

I hope you find these examples useful as a way to get started. Take your time and enjoy your path, but most of all don’t worry about the judgment of others and be kind to yourself along the way as your experiment with different options–because dressing well is a process, not a destination.