Beware of the sales guy
He’ll tell you whatever you want to hear—that everything looks great on you, that the store’s tailor can fix any suit. And you can almost be guaranteed his sense of style will be different from yours. For all these reasons, you need to know as much as possible about how a suit should fit and what kind of suit you’re looking for before you walk through the door. Remember, you’re the boss, not him.
Know why you’re buying a suit
Are you hunting for a suit that you’re going to wear to the office once or more a week? (If so, keep it dark and classic.) Or are you looking for a suit you’ll wear a few times a year to weddings and funerals? (Black or navy is a safe bet.) Is it a suit you’ll wear to job interviews? (If so, you want to be well dressed but not better dressed than the guy interviewing you, so nothing too pricey.) Or is it the kind you’d wear with sneakers and a T-shirt, or wear just the jacket with a pair of jeans? (Think designer, not Brooks Brothers or Hickey Freeman.)
Start at a department store
When you’re ready to start shopping, grab a friend who won’t hesitate to provide you with a blunt opinion, and head to a store like Barneys or Saks or Bloomingdale’s. You’ll be able to view a variety of brands instead of just one. Once you’re inside, do a lap of the suit floor by yourself. See what styles are carried—what grabs your attention. Look at prices. Ask for a salesman when you’re good and ready.