How to Buy Discount Men’s Suits Online (and Look Good Doing It)
You don’t need to break the bank to look good in a suit, but you do need to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it when it comes to standing out in a favorite blazer.
Nowadays, with so many styles, patterns, fits, and even philosophies about how a man should wear his respective suit, buying one online can be a daunting task. How much should I spend? How do I know it will look good on me? How do I even know it will fit me when it arrives? Heck, how do I even know how a suit’s supposed to fit me? What will I do if I got the wrong sizes? What looks good and what doesn’t? And why does this guy look like he belongs on the cover of GQ in his simple black suit but I look like a schlub in mine?
You may have a plethora of questions about the online suit buying experience (or even just any general suit buying experience for some men), and worrying about the answers can either wipe out any semblance of fun in picking your next suit or force you to go straight to a custom tailor and fork out money you don’t need to spend.
With that in mind, simplifying the entire process by starting with two very basic tips can set you off on the right foot to finding a quality discount men’s suit online.
Know YOUR Fit (and Style)
Modern fit, classic fit, slim fit, “European” fit, classic, and the list goes on. There’s a plethora of fits today, each designating their own look and style. But what do they all mean? And which one do you pick?
Truth be told, one brand’s slim fit suit can look entirely different on you than the same category of suit from another brand. In reality, deciding on a fit is really just a template for crafting your own desired style. What catches your eye when flipping through a magazine or storefront? And then, can you recognize the design features that are making it all stand out to you? For example, if you like a suit that appears more snug around the shoulders and body of the jacket paired with pants that are more slim and tapered down at the ankles, then you’re probably eyeing the trendier slim fit. Maybe you like some of those design features but the slim fit template feels a little restricting for you. Perhaps a more “modern fit” style suit is a better option, which tends to only feature a more full jacket and pants, with slimming adjustments to each that are more moderate than the all-out slim fit suit.
Peak Styles, for example, sticks to four common fits suit buyers can work with/from. And while different brands and labels may have different names for these styles, this is a good framework to expect as far as today’s available fits go:
The traditional fit suit is built with room to move in the muscle of the arms and chest of the coat as well as arms that are on the longer side and a jacket back that is longer as well. Noticing a trend here? The pants match, carrying some extra room in the thigh and seat, along with a wide leg opening.
This isn’t your full-on big and tall style necessarily, just a style geared toward the guy who wants room to move around and finds some of the trendier, slimmer suits constricting.
As mentioned, a modern fit suit is going to take some design ideas from slimmer styles while maintaining a traditional shape. Here, the shoulders and chest are slightly pulled in as well as just a slight taper of the pants bottom from the outside of the leg inward. These are just a couple of slight tweaks that can make a major change to your suit’s overall look and feel.
“Slim fit” is probably the most popular name you’re going to hear when looking at different suit styles and names. But the name doesn’t mean designers just make small versions of existing suits; they’re tapered and altered in very specific areas to achieve that slimming, streak look.
The shoulders and body of the jacket are going to be more snug than a traditional suit with a shorter jacket and shorter arms than usual. A general rule of thumb is that the jacket bottom, while shortened, should still at least come down to the middle of your butt. As for the pants, they will fit normal around the thigh with a more gradual taper down to the bottom.
As you’d guess by the name, the skinny fit is going to be the most slimming style of the bunch. The jacket body, the shoulders, and the muscle of the sleeves will fit tighter while the pants will be more snug throughout the thigh and down to the leg opening. Much of this is achieved by pulling these areas in from both the inside and outside of the legs, thighs, arms, etc, whereas the same alterations on a slim fit suit, for example, will only be made on one side.
The word “template” is key when considering which fit is your go-to, because no matter which style you desire, you should account for visiting a tailor to make alterations. For example, most suits come off the rack nested, which means the pants are constructed to a specific waist size and general outline with unfinished bottoms. Or maybe you have broad shoulders with a slimmer waist that calls for a tailor bringing that coat in around the midsection to create an even sleeker fit.
Remember, every man’s body is different. So while you may recognize when you see a suit you like, your own style will start to grow from learning how those specific designs do and don’t work with your specific build. Which brings us to…
Know. Your. Sizes.
For some, your measurements can inform which style or fit is best for you. And knowing those measurements — your chest size and waist — need to be your first step in shopping for a suit online.
You can find your chest size — which you'll need to determine your jacket — by taking a soft tape measure and running it around your chest right below your armpits. If you fall on an odd number you are best to round up. For example, if you fall on a 37-inch chest, rounding up to fit a 38R would be best. Almost all suits come in Regulars (R), Longs (L), or Shorts (S) for jacket length. A good guideline is 5'7" and shorter are Shorts (S), 5'8" to 5'11" are Regulars (R), and 6' and taller are Longs (L). Meanwhile, you most likely already know your pants size, as the pants waist for your suits will be the same as the appropriate waist size you should be wearing for your everyday jeans.
Buying the fanciest, most expensive suit you can find won’t do you any favors if it’s ill-fitting. In fact, this is exactly why and how you can look and feel like a million bucks if you buy the right discount men’s suit online. Get your sizing and fit right and you’re going to look good. Period.