How To

5 things about suits you have completely wrong

By on April 14th, 2015

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about wearing suits. And in today’s typical work environment, where so many men are wearing dark jeans and polo shirts, these myths are easily reinforced.

And so this week I want to take a closer look at the typical complaints men have of wearing a suit. Here are 5 things about suits you have completely wrong.

Myth #1: Suits are always uncomfortable

Truth: We all have memories when we were young and the parents would dress us up in a heavy wool suit. It was invariably a low quality fabric and so yes, it was a little scratchy, didn’t feel very good against your skin, and you couldn’t wait to get out of it. Fast forward to your high school graduation and your first real job interview, and not much changed. Right?

You developed the perception that suits were always uncomfortable.

But the truth is that there are suits and there are suits. The latter are comfortable and do feel good when you wear them.

What it really comes down to is the quality of the fabric. A high quality wool can actually breathe relatively well. And it’s going to feel light and slick, almost like a silk. If it is summertime or you live in a warm climate, you can always look towards cotton and linen-blend suits to help keep you comfortable.

The takeaway is that suits are not inherently uncomfortable. If you look for high quality fabrics, it is entirely possible that you’ll find something just as comfortable as your casual clothes.

Myth #2: Dark suits are all there is

Truth: There’s a time and a place for a dark suit. And if you only own one suit, it should honestly be of a darker hue. The reason being, is that it’s just going to end up being a more versatile suit for you.

But it’s easy to think that this is the only way suits can be. But remember, a suit is just a style of clothing, the color can be anything you want it to be. So, take a look at some of the interesting fabrics out there. Sharkskin, plaid, windowpane, houndstooth, etc. You have plenty of options besides charcoal and black!

Myth #3: You can’t stay cool

Truth: Ask me about my experience as a groomsman and the first word that will enter my mind will be hot. Indeed I rocked that rental tux like a pro, but what I’m talking about here is the temperature.

When you need to look just like 5 other groomsman, that usually means you will be renting a tux from one of the big chains. So, yes, I was guilty of many of the bullet points in Myth #4, below.

But what I really remember was that I was sweating bullets more than the groom! Under all that heavy wool, I felt like I was in a sauna. And that’s the same reaction most guys have when they think about wearing suits, that they will be hot and scratchy and all around, uncomfortable.

However, fine woolens and cottons and especially, linens, are all very comfortable fabrics. It’s the lower quality fabrics that you find in off-the-rack stores that are going to feel heavy and coat-like. And remember to actually feel the fabric. Does it feel light? Does it feel comfortable? Always touch a suit fabric before you buy. 

Myth #4: It’s easy to find something that fits

Truth: Odds are that your suit doesn’t fit. That’s the harsh truth. If you own a BE suit, you’re obviously exempt :).

But if you’re still wearing an off-the-rack suit, one of the following items is probably a trouble spot:

  • Your jacket is too long
  • Your jacket is too short
  • Your arm hole is way too big
  • Your lapel wasn’t sized proportionally to your body
  • Your pants have too much of a break at your shoes
  • Your pants are baggy

This is just a short list of what we regularly see when we work with new clients. And it’s the reason that I spend so much time blogging on a wide range of topics because we want to start putting good information out there and help you look your best. Even if you don’t end up shopping with us, you’ll at least be better educated when you work with another clothier. Custom clothing can be tough (it’s the reason why we don’t sell suits online) and we want to make sure that we help you to find someone that can help you.

Myth #5: You should treat your suit like a prized possession

Truth: One of the things I always notice in James Bond movies is how willing Bond is to absolutely destroy his suit! You’ve seen the movies, haven’t you? One moment Bond is at a baccarat table and the next, he’s in a full sprint or kneeing a bad guy in the gut in self-defense. And he’s doing all of this in a dinner jacket (aka, tuxedo).

Growing up, we are all taught to wear your nice clothes to “such and such event.” That our nice clothes are to be treated as though they are prized possessions.

I’m certainly not suggesting you take to changing the oil in your car wearing your BE suit (please, please don’t do this!), but what I am arguing for is that you remember that your bespoke suit or custom shirt are still just clothes. That you shouldn’t be acting any differently when you wear these clothes. Instead, you should be living in your suit just as you would with your gym clothes or what you may wear to a baseball game on opening day.

Clothes are just clothes.

I can’t remember who it was that said the following quote – if you recognize it, please email me – but this gentleman said that “style is all about putting care into how you dress yourself, and then completely forgetting about what you’re wearing.”

I think Bond would agree.

Wrap up

Did I forget something? What are some of the other big misconceptions about wearing suits? Let’s hear them in the comments below.