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The time has finally come to buy a new suit, and while shopping in person can be less risky for some, there are a lot of perks to buying a suit from an online retailer. Buying a suit online entails a lot of considerations, thanks to the seemingly endless options available, but we’re here to make the whole process a tad less intimidating.
Before you start browsing, you need to make sure your measurements are correct, first and foremost. Even the smallest discrepancy can affect how a suit looks on you, which can then distort your true size range on the retail site or result in an ill-fitting made-to-measure suit. Second, determine what dress code your suit needs to comply with. Are you shopping for a suit to wear to a beach wedding, or are you dressing up for a fancy dinner? These considerations and more can determine the entire make-up of your suit, from material and color to fit and style. Once these details are nailed down, you can start your search online.
Keep reading for Brides’ picks for the best places to buy suits, as well as expertise from menswear stylist and fashion expert Peter Nguyen.
What to Look for When Buying Suits
Retailers that have a decent selection are more likely to offer exactly the type of suit you’re looking for. However, if one offers a large selection of suits but doesn’t have an easy way to filter them, it could make the shopping experience more difficult and overwhelming. Look for retailers that have both a deep selection and easy filtering tools for that online shopping sweet spot.
It’s important to choose a retailer with a reasonable return policy in case it does come down to needing to send back your suit. However, one tricky thing about buying custom clothing online is that most places won’t let you return your item if it’s been made specifically for you. We did find several custom suit retailers that offer free returns, which are included on this list, of course.
One way to prevent returns altogether is through a “Try Before You Buy” program, which is something Amazon offers to its Prime members. Some retailers offer free alterations or remakes if the custom suit you receive doesn’t fit properly. (However, if you’re on a tighter timeline, that might not be a viable option, since it can add weeks to your schedule.) Additionally, others may offer free virtual consultations to help you measure yourself (like Proper Cloth) or even free alterations in their brick-and-mortar stores (such as Nordstrom and Black Lapel).
Sizing for Different Body Types
“It’s vital that a brand also has different sizing for different body types,” Nguyen says. “If a brand doesn’t offer tall or short sizing, I would steer clear. A well-fitting suit is all about proportions. If you’re on the shorter side and get a regular-length suit, the sleeves and body will be too long. You’ll end up looking like a boy wearing his dad’s hand-me-down.”
If you need to measure yourself for a suit at home, Nguyen recommends watching a tutorial on YouTube and having someone help you measure yourself. “It’ll be very challenging to try to measure areas like your shoulders or arm length properly, which are important for suits,” he explains. “If you can, I would even go to a local tailor and have them measure you to get accurate.”
“The first place I look is the shoulders,” says Nguyen. “You want the shoulder seams to line up as close as possible with the peak of your shoulder bone. If it’s falling off, it’s a sign that the jacket is too big. If your suit is too small and tight, you’ll start seeing stress/pull lines along areas like the buttons, arms, and thighs.” Nguyen also mentions that it should be tailored enough “to allow for you to have comfortable movement without you swimming in fabric.”
According to Nguyen, you can get a solid suit for a few hundred dollars online. “I probably wouldn’t go lower than $400,” he advises. “As you go lower, you lose a lot in terms of fabric and fit, which are especially important when it comes to suiting. It’s better to have one great $500 suit than two mediocre $250 suits.”
Why Trust Brides
Erika Reals is the Associate Fashion Commerce Editor for Brides. For this article, she spent hours researching the various suit retailers and judged them based on five criteria: variety of styles, quality of products, range of size offerings, shipping and return policies, and ease of purchase. She also consulted fashion expert Peter Nguyen, men’s fashion writer and personal stylist, for his suiting recommendations and styling tips.