How to make a suit look good

Few young men ever have the need for a suit before they leave college, and even then, their first suits are likely to be purchased off-the-rack in department stores, with “tailoring” consisting only of hemming the pants. They simply don’t know how much they don’t know.

So, to all those men, young and old, who want to know what they’re doing when looking in a three-way mirror and examining themselves in a suit, here are the tailoring basics that you should know.

Start with the shoulders. The edge of the padding in the shoulders in the jacket should not extend beyond your shoulders. If it does, the jacket’s too big. Waist: If you have one, so should your jacket. Many off the rack suit jackets are not tapered at the waist, so your tailor will have to make this adjustment for you. Sleeves should break just at the wrist and allow a little bit of shirt cuff to show.

When you return to the store to pick up your suit, try it on again, stand in front of the 3-way mirror and look for final adjustments. It is exceedingly rare for me to accept a suit after its initial tailoring effort, especially if multiple adjustments were made.

The suit should fit perfectly. It should lay flat across your chest, should button comfortably without any indication of pull across your waist and should have no visible bulges or ripples in the fabric. This can make a $100 suit look better than a $3000 one on its best day. For more info, just visit your local tailor. They’re generally happy to talk to new customers.

-James, College cheat codes

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