We have a love/hate relationship with mens’ suits here at the Maine Headshot Studio. A great suit makes you feel and look like a million bucks. An ill-fitting, baggy suit, or one that is too tight or small says to the world a variety of things to the world, none of them flattering, like “I just found this suit at Goodwill and it only cost $5 bucks!” and, “It’s been ten years since my last job interview and I think this tie and and powder-blue poly jacket are kickin’.”
Now…we’re photographers, and our uniform of choice at the studio is a bit more casual and work-minded (I end up laying on the ground on more shoots than I care to admit). So, we’ve enlisted the suit experts at Josephs menswear (located in the old Port in Portland, Maine for over 40 years). They know suits. Stylist Lara Watterson was eager to tell us what you need to know about what makes a good suit. She had a lot to say, so we’ve boiled it all down to the five most important things to keep in mind when buying your first suit.
1. Pick a simple solid color. Navy and Charcoal are great choices and can be mixed and matched with a variety of shirts and ties. More important for me (and possibly for you) they can be worn often without looking monotonous. Save the black suits for funerals and the pinstripes? Fine….if you’re a 1920s banker.
2. Pleats and pant cuffs are out, flat front pants are in. Pleats have a lot of extra fabric which in most cases makes you look bigger than you actually are. And really, who needs that?
3. Slim-fit suits are becoming more popular and with good reason. If you’re in shape, a slim suit shows off that fact well. If your shape is not quite as svelte as it was in college, a slim suit will still take a few pounds off. Conversely, baggy suits will just hang off you poorly and generally will make you look like a 12-year-old wearing his father’s Sunday duds.
4. A medium-weight wool suit is great for a solid year-round use. Once you get this essential you can experiment with heavy wool for the winter and light wool, cotton and linen for the summer.
5. Fitted, fitted, fitted. Few people can ever find a perfect fit off the rack and if you want to look your best, get a suit tailored to your measurements. A tailored, fitted $500 suit often looks better than an unfitted $2000 suit. Most shops do in house tailoring so there is no excuse!
When in doubt, seek out someone that knows more than you. There are plenty of local clothiers with staff ready and willing to make you look your best. For those of you in the southern Maine area, head over to Joseph’s and talk to Lara. Find them on the web at www.josephsofportland.com.