Sunday, 5 August 2012

FAQ 2017: The GQ Guide to Suits | how to choose the right suit for your body

Different types of suits design:
Learn to suit up properly and everything else follows.
Whether you're an office guy who needs to look sharp for the competition, or a creative type who dresses up because he likes to, the suit is the basic building block of looking good. It's a timeless, ever adaptable, sometimes maligned, but never improved uniform. Consider the roots of that word: uni, as in a universally good idea to save your ass from the danger of too much choice; form, as in the opposite of formless, sloppy, or unfocused. We'll get to the specifics of lapel widths and armholes and vents and how to do it right, but let's first agree that this is where dressing like a man begins. Get the basics down and then you can lose yourself in perfecting the details—what the ever dapper Tom Wolfe once approvingly called the sartorial "mania for marginal differences." And that's when things get interesting.
Types of suits for men's body types
1. What the Twenty-first- Century Suited Man Looks Like
Check out Christoph Waltz here and you'll see more than just a sharp-dressed man—you'll see a completely contemporary man. What's the secret? The trimness of the suit? Sure. The elegance of the details? Totally. But look a little closer and you'll notice what's not here: no aggressive plaids, no I'm-the-man pinstripes, no four-button jacket. Instead, the message is smart, confident, thoroughly put together. He makes a statement by not making one—or at least looking as if he's not trying so hard to make one. Like the best in modern design, his suit is simple and streamlined, perfectly crafted. That's the look you want.
2. More Than Ever, It's About Fit
That's our mantra here at GQ. It's what we preach every issue. Doesn't matter what kind of suit you're investing in, whether it's $200 or $2,000, flannel or seersucker, two-button or three. We've seen plenty of guys who've bought the right suit and let it hang off them like an NBA rookie on draft night. And we've seen men in cheap but well-tailored suits who look like a million bucks. The thing's got to fit right, or else there's no point in wearing it. Question is, what's the right fit, and how do you get it?
A. Take It from the Top
A good suit should hug your shoulders, not slouch off them. Most guys think they're a size larger than they are—say, a 42 regular instead of a 40. When buying a suit, go ahead and try sizing down. When you pull on the jacket, there should be a firmness to it. You should snap to attention and stand taller. If it doesn't fit right in the shoulders, don't buy it.
3. Wanna Step It Up? Nail the Finer Points
You know how a suit should fit. But what about all the details that define the style of a suit? You've got countless options. Here are the ones that matter most, the ones that make for an infallible suit.
F. Start with the Lapels
Nothing does more to dictate a suit's character than the lapel. We like a slim one, about two inches at its widest point. It's modern without being rock-star skinny.
G. Go for Two
We swear by a two-button suit jacket. Sure, a three-button that's cut well can do the job, but a two-button is much more consistently reliable, no matter your shape or size. We typically opt for ones with low-button stances, because they create a long, slimming torso. They're foolproof.
H. Ticket, Please
Ticket pocket? Sure. If you're into more of a British-dandy vibe, go for it.
I. Cause a Flap
We like a traditional flap pocket. There's something a bit too '90s about those slit pockets.
J. Feel Free to Vent
Finally, don't ignore the back of the jacket. It plays an integral role in a suit's character. Generally, we prefer a center vent; it's unobtrusive and keeps the lines of the suit clean and simple. Side vents, like these here, make more of a statement. They're a bit more...rakish.
4. To Cuff or Not to Cuff
Designer Michael Bastian on how the right call can make or break a suit
"I like cuffs on pants of just about any fabric. Of course, when you're dealing with heavier corduroys and tweeds, the cuffs serve a purpose: They give the pants some weight, so they fall better. I say, if you're gonna go for a cuff, go for it; make it at least an inch and a quarter deep. As for the break, 90 percent of guys keep it classic, where the front of your pants hits the top bit of your shoes and the back of them touches the tops of your heels. That always works—but if you know what you're doing, then you can play around a bit and show a little ankle. Bring a pair of shoes to the tailor's to get the length just right and always follow that old rule 'Measure twice, cut once.' It's easy to go a little shorter, but it's impossible to go a little longer."



My First Suit: The Keeps-on-Ticking Hand-Me-Down
Kirk Miller
Miller's Oath, N.Y.C.
"I got this really simple two-button summer khaki by Paul Stuart that was a hand-me-down from Goodwill. It was beat-up, with scuffed elbows, and basically it was really badass. I must've worn the jacket for a year straight. It was a 37 short, which almost no one but Paul Stuart makes. It's funny, actually, because I almost gave it away the other day—but then I thought, 'No, no! I can't give that away.' "

5. How to Suit Your Shape
Shelly here is about five feet four and, well, not exactly runway skinny. But even without hitting the gym, he looks like a new man by choosing the right suit. Anyone who's short or a bit heavyset should take notes.
Before
An overly roomy suit—even a pricey one like this—makes you look sloppy.
Avoid long suit jackets. They actually make your legs look shorter.
Excess fabric, especially below the knee, adds pounds.
After
Be honest with yourself. Admit you're short and buy short-length suits.
Wear a pocket square. It brings the focus to your chest, not your belly.
A lower button stance creates long lines, essentially stretching you out.
Show some cuff to lengthen the look of your arms.
• A pant leg with very little break will help you look taller.
Big man, solid shoe. Choose shoes that have a substantial sole. You need something to anchor your weight.


After
Be honest with yourself. Admit you're short and buy short-length suits.
Wear a pocket square. It brings the focus to your chest, not your belly.
A lower button stance creates long lines, essentially stretching you out.
Show some cuff to lengthen the look of your arms.
• A pant leg with very little break will help you look taller.
Big man, solid shoe. Choose shoes that have a substantial sole. You need something to anchor your weight.

Three Styles That Help You Stand Out
No. 1: The New Slim, Trim Double-Breasted
• If you want a double-breasted suit to look modern—and not like something from a gangster flick—keep it short and trim. And avoid Dick Tracy-grade shoulder pads, too.
Keep the jacket buttoned (including the interior button). It doesn't hang well when undone.
• And unlike with single-breasted suits, unless you want to look like a singer in the '80s R&B band, go for a higher-cut six-button suit instead of a low-slung four-button model.
My First Suit: The Green Monster
Nick Cave
"The first suit I ever bought was from a secondhand place in New York when I was on tour there in the early '80s. It was three pieces, lime green with an orange check. I have no idea what it was made of, only that it melted when you would nod off and the cigarette would fall on your trousers. And I was actually imprisoned in it. I was busted buying drugs on the Lower East Side, and I was thrown in a holding pen in this ridiculous lime green suit. And I was thinking, Jesus, I wish it wasn't lime green. And of course, the one other white guy in the cell runs up and goes, 'Fuck, it's Nick Cave!' And what's more, we had a gig that night. We were staying at the Iroquois hotel, and when the sergeant said, 'Nick Cave, c'mon, make your phone call,' I asked him to call the Iroquois. And he says, 'Can you spell that?' And I'm like 'I... R...' 'Nope! Next!' So I was there for three days, and I missed the shows, sitting there in my lime green suit."

6. Get Thee to a Good Tailor: It's the Wisest Money You'll Ever Spend
The right tailor can make a $100 suit look like $1,000, and he can make that $1,000 suit worth every penny. There's not a GQ shoot where we don't enlist our tailor, Joseph, to nip, tuck, and alter a suit. For your purposes, the trick is knowing what needs to be done and then knowing how to manage your tailor. Don't let him tell you how much of a break you want in your trousers: You tell him. You're the boss. Here's what a good tailoring job will run you.
$40/Sleeves
Most suits are cut too full, including the sleeves. Have them narrowed. It makes a difference.
$30/Cuffs
Tailors hesitate to shorten sleeves. Be adamant—your sleeves should end at the break of your wrists.
$35/Body
Jackets need to be brought in at the waist, to create that V effect.
$35/Pants
Have your pants slimmed an inch from top to bottom. Then shorten them. The narrower the pant leg, the less break you need.
The Essential Can't-Go-Wrong Gray Two-Button Suit
"This is basically the man's version of the little black dress. I call it the no-brainer suit. It works during the day; it works at night. It works at every occasion you'd wear a suit to. But you do need to make sure you're getting the right shade of gray—not one that's light and summery, and definitely not a somber charcoal. You want a gray that's right down the middle. When in doubt, wear it with a white shirt and dark solid tie and—like Cary Grant here—you're always going to be the best-dressed guy in the room"—Jim Moore, GQ creative director
7. Go Short—Shorter Than You Think
Your Suit Is (Probably) Too Long
You might have noticed, on the runways and in our pages, that guys are wearing much shorter suit jackets these days. And it's a look we like. Partly because it goes with the slimmer, trimmer suit style, and also because most guys wear their suits too long.
Here's the deal: You should be able to easily cup your hands beneath your suit jackets. Going full-on Thom Browne short isn't for everyone, but there's no denying the impact of this wave. The average suit at J.Crew or Club Monaco is cut considerably shorter than it was five years ago. The days of the average guy wearing a three-to-five-button suit are thankfully behind us.

8. That Year-Round Suit Ain't Cutting It Anymore
We like to think that you should dress like you eat—seasonally. Not only is it a way to bring some variety to your wardrobe; it's also sensible. When the temperature drops, reach for heavier, warmer fabrics. When it's hot and humid, keep your suiting lightweight and pretty much cotton exclusively.
9. Freezing Your Ass Off? Conquer Winter in Style
Flannel
The man in the gray flannel suit. You can't get more timeless—and flawless—than that.
Corduroy
You don't want too fine a wale (so people mistake it for velvet) nor too wide (which can look a little too Greenwich, Connecticut, Christmas party).
Tweed
Perfect for those transitional months when you can skip the overcoat and just throw on a scarf with your trim-cut tweed sports jacket.
 10. ...And When It's Muggy and Miserable, Keep Your Cool
When the temperature surges past seventy or so, it's time to shelve your wool suits and go lightweight. Yes, khaki is probably the best-known of the summer suits, but don't limit yourself: Designers are doing a range of cotton options, including navy, black, and even plaid. Whether you have the cojones to pull off a white one is your call. Other go-to cotton options include seersucker (go with gray or pale blue stripes) and whipcord (which has ridges like corduroy—without the fuzziness). Finally, there's linen, the lightest material of them all. Just make sure yours is cut sharp and slim, unlike the stuff you see flopping in the sea breeze in the Florida Keys.
Three Styles That Help You Stand Out
No. 2: The Young Man's Three-Piece
• A three-piece suit announces itself loudly and clearly—which means you sould opt for a relatively subdued shirt-and-tie combo to provide balance.
Fitwise, think about the vest. It should hit at the belt buckle (not dip past it), and it should wrap snugly around your torso.
Mix it up. Ditch the jacket and stride around the office in just the vest (very manly, indeed). Or you can always leave the vest at home and wear the suit as a conventional two-piece.
My First Suit: The Italian Job
Paul Smith
"The first suit I ever got had a name—it was called the San Remo. It was three, possibly four buttons, with very high lapels. It was in the style of all those movies like La Docle Vita and ones by Antonioni. I suppose I was 15 or 16, and it was, what, 1856? Let's just say it was in the '60s. And to be clear: I didn't buy it; it was paid for by my parents, probably because we had to go to a family wedding. I remember it was sort of a mucky green—lovat, as we'd say in England. I wore it with a cutaway-collar shirt with strong stripes—what we used to call London stripes—and a dark narrow tie. And my hair looked ridiculous. The trend was to put a lot of Brylcreem in and do it up in a quiff—you know, like Mastroianni in La Dolce Vita. I thought it was pretty cool."
11. It Might Get Loud...So Mute It
We dig a patterned suit, but when we show one in the magazine, or wear one ourselves, we like to keep it subtle. Our aim is to inject a bit of personality without making the guy look like a buffoon. Two examples:
Don't Look Like Pee-Wee Herman
Right now, we really like a shadow plaid suit, like the one here. It's more of a suggestion of plaid than a full-on one, like a classic Prince of Wales. It's easy to wear and offers just enough oomph.
Go for a Thinner Pin
For pinstripes, we tend to avoid bold Wall Street stripes and go with either a fine-line pinstripe (tightly spaced superthin stripes) or a solf chalk stripe on a heavyweight flannel, like the one on the right. Both will elicit compliments, not guffaws.
The Style Guy
When it comes to suits, Glenn O'Brien insists on one of a kind
I got my first bespoke suit in 1996. I couldn't find the linen suit I wanted, so I ordered one from Anderson & Sheppard, whose style is slim and soft in structure. While being measured, I discovered how asymmetrical I am: this shoulder lower, that arm longer. On delivery, I realized that my best off-the-peg suits can't compete in fit. In '97, I ordered a three-piece suit, an endangered species then. I was impressed when they brought in their waistcoat man for the job. Bespoke is expensive, but you're getting skilled labor, not advertising pages. You dictate the fabric, specify details like pockets, working buttons, bohemian linings, etc. Why not wear something you won't encounter in the street? I've been wearing my pin-striped denim suit from John Pearse for years, and this fall I'll debut a leprechaun green velvet from Adam Kimmel.
12. Rock a Suit That Rocks
Mark Ronson explains why he quit dressing like a Beastie Boy and started suiting up
"I think style is influenced by the music you like at any given time. At 13 to 15, I was happy listening to the Happy Mondays and going to raves, so I was wearing baggy striped pants and platform rave shoes. Then, from 18 to 26, it was pretty much Beastie Boys 101: shell-toe Adidas. But I started wearing suits every day after I did a GQ shoot inspired by French New Wave films. When Madeline [Weeks, GQ's fashion director] told me New Wave would be the inspiration, I watched alain Delon in Le Samouraï and Jean-Paul Belmondo in Breathless. After the shoot, I was just like 'Shit, I want to dress like this every day!' I think I ended up somewhere between French New Wave, the Beatles in '64, and the jazz musicians on the back of all those great Blue Note covers.
"In 2008, I was producing a record by the Kaiser Chiefs and wearing suits every day. But I was living out of a hotel and eventually ran out of clean shirts, so I had to wear a polo and a pair of black jeans. Nobody would pay attention to me that day. Finally I was like, "Oi! What the fuck? Listen to me!' And Ricky from the band was like, 'Why? You look like a teenager.' People look at you differently when you grow up and wear clothes that fit you better."

"My suit game changed completely after doing my GQ shoot. It's really a golden moment when your suit fits nice and slim, and that includes your shirt and tie and even your shoes. It all needs to slim down—that realization was eye-opening for me.—Kobe Bryant
Three Styles That Help You Stand Out
No. 3: The Winning Peak Lapel
• For the best-fitting peak-lapel suits, stick with two-button models. They create a more fluid shape. Three-button ones tend to be too boxy.
These are elegant business-to-evening suits. Leave the sneaks and tee in the closet.
Want to one-up the dude in the office next to yours? This is the power suit that'll do it.

13. Don't Get Taken to the Cleaners
Chances are you're servicing your suit too often
Do it infrequently. Dry cleaning can be brutal on suiting fabric. A suit is an investment; you want to preserve its integrity.
• If it's looking creased and wrinkled, take it in to have it steam-pressed. This is especially good for cotton suits, which wrinkle more easily.
• And if you're in a bind—or just in some funny hotel in a foreign city—hang it up in the bathroom, blast a hot shower, and close the door for ten minutes. It'll look—almost—like new.

The Cheat Sheet
• A suit's gotta fit right or it isn't worth wearing.
• In order to make sure that it does fit right, find yourself a good tailor.
• You'll never go wrong wearing at two-button suit with a fairly narrow lapel. It's both classic and completely modern.
• Flat-front, relatively trim pants; very little break at the ankle.
• You should be able to easily cup your hands beneath the hem of the jacket; if you can't, it's too long.
• Show some cuff. It's the mark of a (well-dressed) gentleman.
• Dress with the season—cotton suits in summer; tweeds, flannels, and corduroys in winter.
• If you're going to wear a patterned suit, keep the patterns subtle. You want a smart suit, not a kooky one.
• If you ever can afford to get a bespoke suit, get one made. It's worth every penny


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