What is the Perfect Suit? I get asked this all the time – and it is a very valid question. The perfect suit for one man may not be the same for another. It can depend on the personality, size, shape and skin tone of the wearer.
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Is there such as thing as The Perfect Suit?
For the purposes of answering the question, “What is the perfect suit?”, we will take it to mean the single most versatile suit that you could buy.
It’s kind of like asking “what is the best all-round car?”. You will end up with one that does not have the best fuel economy, the most room, the best boot capacity, the most comfort, the fastest acceleration, the highest top speed or the best safety rating. What you will get is one that scores well for all, or for the majority, of categories.
It is the same with the perfect suit. You will find suits that are more appropriate for certain events, that better reflect your personality, or that flatter your shape better than others. But those suits won’t score highly in the other categories.
So, is there one suit that will look great for literally any occasion? Well, to be honest, yes, there is!
What is the Perfect First Suit?
And maybe sadly, predictably or boringly, I’m going to say a three piece navy suit is the perfect suit. It may not be as business-like as a sharp pinstripe suit or be as eye-catching as a bright turquoise suit, or as sombre as a charcoal or black suit, but there again, you would not wear a pinstripe suit to a night out (unless it was with lawyers!), or a turquoise suit to a funeral or a black suit to a party (unless you were going as a Blues Brother).
For pure versatility, the navy suit wins hands down. It looks equally at home paired with a bright tie at a wedding or at a funeral worn as a two-piece with a black tie, worn as a two-piece, open neck on a night out in a cocktail bar, or with black shoes and a red tie for a day at the office.
Best Suit For Every Occasion
Is a navy suit the best suit for all occasions? Definitely not. But it is the one suit that you can wear on any occasion by dressing it up or down and accessorising to match the event. And, of course, the addition or removal of the waistcoat to go between two-piece suit and three-piece suit can make all the difference to the look that you create.
So, when a client comes in for a consultation and says they are looking for their first suit, I always recommend a three piece navy suit. I take them through the various use cases, and they usually leave having ordered their perfect suit – well, their perfect first suit at least.
After that, you can achieve very different looks by the addition of different waistcoats. Blue check, yellow, red, stone colour, the choices are almost endless. And with the waistcoat being the least expensive part of the three-piece suit, you can achieve a variety of different looks for a fraction of the cost of buying multiple suits.
Top Tip: If you are lucky enough to have an off-the-peg shape, you can get great value and a great choice by buying your suits for the high street.
If you like to have a bit of fun with your clothes and specify exact features like the suit lining, contrast button holes or features that are unique to you, then you are looking at a made to measure suit. If you have a shape that tends to require a lot of alterations, or if you just want the absolute best, the you may want to consider a bespoke suit. This will give you the absolute best fit and it will be a one of a kind suit, made just for you, but it will cost a little more.
The Perfect Suit – Accessories
Not only does the navy suit make the perfect suit for the first-time buyer, it can also be paired with different accessories to create a variety of different outfits.
The shoes you wear can drastically change the look and feel of a suit, and a navy suit looks great with black, brown or tan shoes or even something more adventurous like a purple.
Top tip: If you are wearing a belt, try to match the colour of your belt to the colour of your shoes. This creates a coordinated look and makes for a very smart ensemble.
Does the perfect suit have a perfect tie?
Again, this is going to sound safe and boring but yes, a red tie is always a winner with a navy suit. Again you might want to match your tie colour elsewhere in your outfit – your socks for example are a great way to add a bit of personality to your suit, and if they match your tie then so much the better.
Your tie doesn’t have to be plain. It can be a Paisley pattern or stripes of shiny and matt versions of the same colour to give it a bit more interest. However, as far as ties are concerned, avoid cartoon characters or whacky ties – we’re not in the 90s anymore.
The Perfect Shirt?
Again, the versatility of the navy blue suit means that you have the choice of many different colours of shirt to create different outfits. White, pale blue and pink being the standard and most obvious choices. You really can’t go wrong with any of these colours. Then there are blue and white stripes or a fine check – a gingham works if it is a more casual look with an open neck.
Top Tip: If you struggle to find a shirt that fits well, made to measure shirts are around the same price as a decent branded shirt these days and will fit you perfectly.
With your shirt, make sure the collar is the right size. Not so tight that it is choking you and not so loose that you can get your hand inside. The perfect shirt, when fastened should be loose enough for one finger to easily fit inside. This fit will ensure a great look when wearing a tie.