Suit case: your suit selection manual

If you want to convey style, power and class, a suit is what you should wear. Here's how to select one that brings out the best in you

Whether it’s Oscars, boardroom or the ballroom, the best way to make heads turn is by wearing a stylish suit. The elegance, style and cheer ‘glam-quotient’ of a suit is unmatched by any other garment.

But even a suit can fail to make the impression, if you don’t know how to choose the right one. Choosing a suit is an art and here we tell you how to master it.

Follow suit

man in a suitKnow the different kinds of suits to choose the best one for you.

  • The full dress: These are tails or tailcoat. They are long jackets, often worn for dinners. Another name for tail coat is dinner coat. It looks great on tall men, but is now rarely worn.
  • The Mandarin suit: This is the stand-up style coat with no lapels [collars]. Commonly known as the ‘jodhpuri’ coat, you can wear it for weddings or other such occasions.
  • The Tuxedo: The most common, straight-fitting coat that can be worn to most occasions by most body types. It is also known as the ‘black tie’.
  • Pinstripe: It’s one of the most stylish of the suits. The fabric used for pinstripe suits are of premium quality and are ideal for business meets or at work where you need to have a serious-looking appearance.

Suits can be worn in two styles:

  • Single-breasted: Suits of this style have a symmetrical front with buttons at the centre and an option of leaving coat buttoned or unbuttoned, which makes the style a favourite for most men around the world. It is the preferred corporate-world style.
  • Double-breasted: They are coats with a cross-over centre to button, which means one side of coat overlaps the centre and buttons across to the other side. This usually gives a fuller look in the chest area and one should wear these coats buttoned at all times while standing. The style looks great on slimmer men.

Suit yourself

London-based Jasweet Singh, who has been in the suit-tailoring business since the last 22 years, gives you some buying tips

  • The first to consider is the occasion—is it for a wedding, interview, travel or business?
  • For work, go for basic suits. Do not experiment much with cut, style or colour. Dark suits like black, charcoal or dark blue with amplified pinstripes look chic for presentations.
  • To wear for a wedding—yours or someone else’s—a white suit makes a lasting impression.
  • For travel, get a suit in wrinkle-resistant fabric. Neutral colours [grey, beige or black] are good for the go.
  • If you rarely wear a suit, go for the ‘all-purpose-suit’ in grey or black in a straight cut.
  • Wool is the first choice of fabric if you are wearing it abroad. For the Indian weather, suits in micro-fibre or linen go well.
  • Suit should compliment your skin colour: Wheatish skin, beige and coloured suits; fair complexion, white and grey; dark skin, navy. Black is classic and suits all complexions.
  • Go for quality fabric that fits perfectly.
  • Tailored suits are better than off-the-shelf ones due to the better fit.
  • Corduroy is in and looks chic for formal and casual occasions.
  • An affordable, yet good fabric option is a blend wool and polyester.


“To make a look more fashionable, it is very important to wear accessories as per the occasion”, says designer Ashley Rebello, who gives you a few tips on stylising your suited-look.

  • A dignified-looking briefcase or leather binder adds grace.
  • A chic pen adds elan.
  • Any jewellery like gold or silver bracelets should be worn light and non-flashy.
  • A good formal watch is a must. A sports watch with a suit is forbidden.
  • A good pair of cufflinks on a full-suit complete the look.

Suits for women

woman in a suitDelhi-based designer Seema Batra, shares some tips for women

  • Season’s trends in women’s suits include skirt suits with fitted and shaped jackets.
  • Asymmetrical, non-collared and portrait necks are in vogue.
  • Trends in women’s business suits haven’t changed much over the decades. The peplum jackets [long jackets] with pencil skirts are still a rage. This style is best accessorised with skinny belts, jewelled brooches and ladylike gloves [to be worn only for parties].
  • Dress up your look with a high-heel pump. Add a silk brightly-coloured scarf and delicate jewellery, preferably pearls and diamonds.
  • Classic colours for women’s suits are black, navy, and grey.
  • A suit with a pattern should be conservative with no lapels.

Dos and don’ts

  1. Keep your shoes clean and polished, always.
  2. Prefer black, as black shoes go with all colours. But they come in glossy or shiny, polished or plain matte. The formality of the shoes depends on the level of shine; keep it matte as far as possible.
  3. Avoid large flashy belts; opt for matte, thin belts.
  4. Avoid wearing sports or big chunky shoes, especially those with square toes. Choose something classic that stands the test of time.
  5. Do not wear jeans or corduroy pants with a suit.
  6. Don’t overload your pockets; it tends to enhance the seams.
  7. Keep your hair neat. If it is long, tie it up.
  8. Unbutton your jacket and pull the pants up at the thigh when you sit to avoid stretching the fabric too much.
  9. If you are short, don’t wear a long jacket; it makes your legs look short. Avoid wearing fat ties, wide lapels.
  10. If you are overweight, don’t wear a loose-fitting suit, it makes you look fatter.
  11. If you are athletic, don’t wear tight-fitted suits, you will look pigeon-chested and small.
Roma Kapadia
Roma Kapadia has an English Honours Degree and is an avid reader. Her interests include travelling, styling, photography, and cooking. Her motto is to share her experiences, thoughts, beliefs and knowledge through writing, which she finds exciting and therapeutic. She lives in Mumbai.


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