4 Tips on Buying the Perfect Suit for Prom & Graduation

Lifestyle The List
By: Kristina Guerrero | Jimmy Rhoades Posted: 5:23 PM, Apr 18, 2018

Springtime is graduation time, which means a new crop of degree-wielding job seekers will be going to interviews trying to make a great first impression. Many of these young men and women might be sporting their first real suit, so what better time to learn how to snag the perfect suite than right now! Tailor Cooperative's George Spencer has some tips on what to look for in the three main suit-purchasing categories. 

1. Off-the-Rack 

Good suits usually start at around $400. Any cheaper than that, and you're likely looking at jackets that get their structure from fabric fused with glue, which gets warped and lumpy over time. The hallmark of a good suit is canvas construction. If a salesperson doesn't know which suits have canvas, there are some tells.  

First, check the button holes. Occasionally you can see a little bit of natural fiber poking through between the stitches. And the lapel should have a gentle roll, we don't ever want it to look like a hard, creased fold. For alterations, plan to spend up to half the cost of the suit. 

2. Made to Measure 

The entry-level is about $700, and the manufacturer constructs a suit from a bank of patterns using your unique measurements. It's quite literally made to fit you specifically from your body out. Some online vendors post tutorials on how to measure yourself, but George recommends leaving the tape measurer to the pros. 

3. Bespoke 

Bespoke means the entire suit is made entirely by hand. The red flag for this category is fake, online bespoke at super-low price points. If it seems too good to be true, it likely is. If someone's claiming bespoke for less than $5,000, we'd start to raise an eyebrow. The payback for investing in quality is that well-made suits can last decades. 

4. How to Make Your Suit Last a Lifetime 

Once you've purchased the right suit for you, use the tips below to make your new threads last decades!

Pick the right hanger: Do not use a wire hanger. Choose a wide hanger with structure, so the shoulders of the jacket hold their shape.

Hang it in a garment bag: No matter how clean your house is, dust will settle on the shoulders over time. Hang the suit in a garment bag. It also deters moths.

Don't over-wash: Washing a suit does more damage than actually wearing the suit. The chemicals used in dry-cleaning are actually very harsh on fabrics, and shorten the life of suits. So invest in a $25 steamer. The steam will kill odor-causing bacteria, loosen the fibers of the fabric, and get the suit in fighting shape for the next wear.

Get a suit brush: Just like a carpet looks great after the brushes on your vacuum cleaner fluff it up, so too will a boars hair suit brush spruce up your duds.

Use it for what it's for: Don't go all James Bond and do parkour in your suit, or play a pick-up basketball game, or have a go on your daughter's skateboard. You want to avoid a ripped seam or a tear in the knee. 

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