For most guys, finding the perfect suit can be difficult and slightly intimidating. Until a few years ago, I was no exception. My first suit was a hand-me-down from my Dad–a light grey, that was a little too big, and way too boxy in the shoulders. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know enough about fit or style to put my finger on it. The suit was worn two or three times, then hidden in the back of my closet for years. Luckily, I didn’t have the occasion to wear a suit again until I was quite a bit older, and had done the research to figure out what I needed.
It turns out, I wasn’t the only guy who felt that way. Many men shy away from buying one for exactly this reason. Buying off the rack can result in an ill-fitting suit that you’ll rarely wear, and buying custom seems like it requires a lot of knowledge about lapels, buttons, and vents that most of us don’t have. So, what’s a guy to do?
You can do what I did, and head to DXL to find the perfect suit…and get the right fit.
Choosing the Perfect Custom Suit
I went to my local DXL store without a real plan in mind–knowing only that I wanted a suit with a contemporary look. Something that didn’t look dated, but that I’d still be able to wear a few years down the road. Stylish, not trendy. I worked with two associates, who were able to understand my needs and suggest specific styles and fabrics. I already own a standard blue suit, and it fits well, so I wanted something that was unique and interesting. A modern-looking suit, made with classic fabrics. Luckily, they knew exactly what I was talking about, and were able to present me with options.
3 Types of Suits Every Big Man Should Own
After explaining what I was looking for, my measurements were taken and we talked fabric and colors. Navy, grey, and black are the suit colors usually recommended for any guy, in that order. Looking for something a bit more fun and less formal? Try browns or other colors you might not see as often. If you don’t have a navy suit though, consider starting there. It’s versatile and can be worn for just about any occasion.
The Measurement Process
The process of getting my measurements was a breeze. Then I was brought a sample jacket, pants and shoes to try on to get a better feel for fit. Again, more exact measurements were taken. We talked about what I wanted in a jacket (natural points on the shoulders), and made sure that the fit would be exactly that.
The dark brown I went with isn’t a color you’d normally see off the rack, which was what I was going for. My plan was to find something unique and versatile, that could be worn as an entire suit, or just the jacket with jeans. Once I figured out the color and fabric for both the suit and the lining, I had a few questions.
What kind of suit style is “in” right now? What are big men buying?
A lot of guys are looking for patterns, like windowpane and glen plaid. Patterns are in style right now, so that’s what a lot of customers are asking for.
Why is getting a Made-to-Measure suit better than getting one off the rack?
With a Made-to-Measure suit, you’ll get a better fit than just buying something off the rack. It is designed specifically for your unique measurements and style. It’s also a more personalized experience for guys with expertise from people who understand how to fit bigger bodies.
After a few more questions from me, the next step in the process was choosing the right buttons for the suit. Don’t worry, if the choices seem too overwhelming, you can leave it to the suitmaker to choose buttons for you. They’ve already matched buttons with certain fabrics, so if you want to leave it to the pros, you can.
Pant Style, Vents, and Pick Stitching
After choosing the buttons, the hardest part was complete. We decided on flat-front pants, as that was more contemporary, and a jacket with side vents, which are great for guys who aren’t fuller in the back. If you prefer a more traditional look, opt for the center vent, or no vent at all. The sign of a tailored suit is the detail, and in many cases, that is expressed through pick stitching. Pick stitching is the detail that you’ll find along the lapel line, adding something additional to the suit that will be noticed close up. It’s a nice touch that can help complete a suit.
The final step in completing my order was to choose a personal label to be added to the interior of the jacket. The label can be whatever you want it to be, and according to my associate, she’s seen just about everything. I chose a name (which I’ll share when I get the suit back), and that was about it.
All in all, the associates at DXL made the experience of getting fitted for my suit really easy. They listened to what I wanted, and translated that into a modern, great-fitting suit that I can’t wait to receive.
Check back in November when I’ll reveal my new suit.
Photos taken by Tyler Jacobs
Article written by Bruce Sturgell
Bruce Sturgell is the founder of Chubstr.com, a style blog that helps guys to find, create, and share their own personal style with the world by offering them articles, resources, and reader photo submissions.
Bruce has been featured in the New York Times, Refinery 29, The Huffington Post, The Cut, The Sydney Morning Herald, MSN, and Le Monde for the unique and interesting content he’s created through Chubstr.