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10 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Buying a Suit

The world of suit-shopping is full of red flags, but if you know the signs, you can avoid these potential pitfalls.

By Madeleine Kim

Buying a suit is a bit like choosing a life partner: You start by seeing what’s on the market and trying a few things on for size. Once you find something promising, you take it home. You’re open to making improvements where necessary, but at the end of the day, you know that great chemistry tailoring has to be there from the start—so if the fit isn’t right, you move on.

Much like dating, the world of suit-shopping is full of red flags. But if you know the signs, you can avoid these potential pitfalls with ease. Here are ten common mistakes people make when buying a suit—and how to avoid them.


Compromising on comfort.

Myth: Formal suits are inherently stiff and uncomfortable. Reality: A great suit will make you feel as good as you look. The Yiyan blazer has knit panels sewn into the back seams, so you get the crisp, polished look of a classic wool suit, plus the comfort and ease of a stretchy garment. Want even more stretch? Try a jardigan (our famous jacket-cardigan combo) or a knit jacket that’s like tweed, but comfortable.


Expecting a perfect fit right off the rack.

When it comes to buying a suit, fit is perhaps the most important factor. And while finding the right size is a great start, it’s rare to find the precise fit you’re looking for without a few alterations. That’s why many of our suiting pieces are marked “tailor-friendly,” which means they can be hemmed easily. In some cases, we also include extra seam allowance so the garment can be lengthened.


Attempting shoulder alterations.

While working with a tailor is helpful in many cases (see above), we don’t recommend altering the shoulders of your suit jacket, which is difficult to get right and usually quite expensive. Instead, find a jacket that fits you in the shoulders, then tweak the rest as needed.


Writing off wool.

Often, people hear “wool” and immediately think of rough, itchy knits. But most of the wool on the market today bears little resemblance to your grandmother’s scratchy sweaters, and when it comes to suiting, wool is often an indicator of quality and longevity. Another misconception is that wool is only for wintertime. Not so! Wool has both cooling and insulating properties, so it feels breathable in the summer and cozy in the winter.


Not snipping the vents.

You know that little X-shaped stitch that sometimes shows up on the vents of a new suit jacket? That’s there to help the jacket hold its shape during shipping. Once you decide to keep the jacket, it should be snipped and removed.


Equating “suit” with “business formal.”

Love suits but don’t work in a business formal office? You’re in luck: The definition of “suit” has expanded significantly over the past few years to encompass not only classic suits, but also more casual sets like the Hyo jacket and Shane pants, made from our relaxed-yet-polished Everyday Twill.


Underestimating underpinnings.

Unless you’re going topless under your suit (which we’re all for), the underpinning you choose can have significant bearing on the overall effect of your outfit. Keep things classic with a crisp white button-down, create a Power Casual look with a T-shirt, or introduce some interest with a printed silk top.


Limiting your styling possibilities.

Once you’ve found a suit you love, it’s time for the fun part: getting creative with styling. Don’t limit yourself by only wearing the matching jacket and bottoms as a set. Try your blazer with wide-leg jeans, pair your trousers with T-shirts, and make the most of the suit you spent time and money selecting and perfecting.


Settling for dry clean-only.

Not only is dry cleaning expensive and bad for the environment, it’s also just a hassle. Make your life easier by relying mainly on machine-washable suiting pieces, and save your dry-cleaning budget for those truly special styles whose intricate designs mean they require a more delicate touch.


Shying away from color.

We won’t pretend that you’re going to get just as much use out of a lavender suit as you would a navy one, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from color altogether. To get a unique look without sacrificing versatility, try slightly less common neutrals like olive and mink, which will help you stand out from the gray and navy suits in the crowd. Once you have a great neutral suit or two in your wardrobe, you can have a little more fun and buy that red tweed jacket or those blush pink pants.

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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