Gray Suit by Robert Sheie
So. It’s time to buy your first suit. This is a big, potentially scary move. Suits, well, they represent business. They’re the sort of thing you wear on interviews, and perhaps never again. Maybe you wear them all the time. Regardless, all people entering the professional white collar world should own a suit.
I find my suit to be my most versatile purchase. I’ve worn it several different ways for job interviews, work days at my casually-dressed internship, and for events with foreign dignitaries. Changing how I wear it (and what I wear it with) alters the sorts of events my suit is appropriate for.
As I’ve got a lot to say on the topic of suits, here’s part one of the series!
Pay attention to the material and where you buy your suit from
Wool makes a good suit. It lies well, and is relatively easy to care for.
My suit is made of merino wool. It’s light in weight but warm, and can be mixed with materials of varying weight. I can wear it with a silk top just as easily as an oxford shirt or a thicker wool sweater. If you hang it up after each wear, it doesn’t wrinkle.
A wool suit, if properly fitted (more on that later), will lie well and compliment your body. It typically isn’t clingy (make sure your suit is lined).
As great as H&M is for fast fashion, this is generally not the place to buy a business suit/blazer. Often the material is a cotton or jersey, or the cut is more of a tuxedo (or both). These are great for clubbing or for casual days if you’re like me and love a good blazer. But this doesn’t work for an interview suit/potential job attire. It comes across as cheap. Jersey blazers can be appropriate for once you have the job, as they are comfortable! They are like wearing classy sweat shirts. But make sure that they fit in your employer’s dress code (either expressly stated or implied).
I recommend shopping for suit separates, especially if you have a difficult to fit body. I find that department store suits, while nice (brands like Calvin Klein and Tahari offer classic, yet fashion forward looks), just don’t fit.
I have had very good luck with suit shopping at Banana Republic. Not only can you buy suit separates, but they offer the same material across their regular and petite departments, so if you really have to mix and match, you can. Their suits are reasonably priced when mixed with sales (and if you buy at outlets, even better). They are still expensive, but when taking good care of the suit, you will have it for a long, long while.
It’s never a good idea to buy black pieces from different stores, as there are different grades of black. It doesn’t match, and your professional look will be undermined by a black jacket that is not the same as the black trousers or skirt. If you do want to mix and match, make sure that they are in a similar colour family and of a similar weight/material. I prefer a matching suit that I can pop with colour and pattern.