Have you ever considered buying a suit online?
Considering that 54% of men need to touch a product before buying, you probably haven't.
Chances are you don't trust the quality of products online.
Are you missing out? Gentlemen, today we're going over what you need to know about how to buy a suit online.
1. Why Buy A Suit Online?
It's a love/hate relationship.
Let's go through the main factors of online shopping…
- Convenience: You can do it from the comfort of your own home. It beats taking a trip to the store.
- Pricing: Online shopping is generally cheaper. Amazon itself is 11% cheaper on average than Walmart or Target. It's why 51% of men research prices online.
- Inventory: Online retailers usually operate out of a warehouse instead of a store. This gives them greater storage capacity. Chances are they won't run out of stock.
- Variety: That inventory space gives lets them have a greater variety of styles, fabrics, cuts, and patterns. You can compare different materials and prices on the spot, which is impossible in stores.
- Information: You can usually send an email with more detailed inquiries about the products in question.
- Uncertainty: You can never be sure if it'll fit you perfectly. You can only imagine how it'll look. This presents a risk.
- Quality: You can't spot manufacturing defects since you can't inspect the suit.
- No Intel: What you can glean of the display photos and descriptions are all you have to go off of.
- Inconsistency: The suits you buy might differ from the online display.
- Time: Refunds are usually more complicated and time-consuming than those offered in stores.
2. Knowing The Vendor
Even Amazon operates through individual vendors. The best way to know who you're dealing with is by checking out the reviews as well as understanding return policies.
What should you look for in reviews? Useful information that focuses on the disadvantages that we discussed above.
Look for reviews that cite the efficiency of returns – How fast the vendor returned cash to customers. Look to see if people complained about the suits not matching the display, or if they come with defects.
It all comes down to a quick skim across the customer reviews.
Understanding Return Policies
This is a no-brainer. Before making a purchase, it's important to understand the vendor's stance on returns.
Return policies can vary wildly, but most stores will give you your money back or offer exchanges if you send it back in a timely manner. This can mean 10, 15, or 20 days depending on the store.
Opt for policies allowing for wiggle room – 10 days should be more than enough to determine how good your suit looks.
If the policies are convoluted, it's probably not worth the effort.
3. Measure Up
Without a store assistant to measure you on the spot, you'll need to know your measurements before shopping online.
Can you measure yourself? Certainly. However, you will get more precise measurements from a trained tailor.
Here are some quick do-it-yourself tips:
- Collar: Measure around the base of your neck.
- Chest: Bring the tape around the fullest part of your chest and bring it all the way around your torso (under the arms).
- Sleeve: Measure from the collar down to the shoulder and along the arm until your wrist.
- Waist: Measure around your waistline.
- Inseam: Measure between the top of the leg at the crotch to the ankle bone.
- Outside Leg: Measure from the waistline to the anklebone.
What Do The Numbers Mean?
There are two different conventions for measuring off-the-rack suits: UK/US and European standards.
While the UK/US uses inches, the European model uses centimeters. To find your European equivalent, multiply the number of inches by 2.54.
Basic Suit Fit
When it comes to suit fit, there are three major categories. This is sure to appear on the product description, so they're essential to know:
- Slim Fit: A modern style designed to sit close to a man's body. Certain details like the lapels are likewise trimmed down. As the name suggests, this looks best on men with lighter builds.
- Modern Fit: Middle ground between the slim and modern fit. While erring on the side of slim, modern suits offer a little more breathability. The shoulders, for instance, are tighter than classic suits, while the armholes sit higher.
- Classic Fit: Recognizable by the loose cut through the chest and waist. This leaves the wearer with plenty of flexibility.
Click here to learn essential tips for buying ANY suit.
4. The Details
You know your measurements and what cuts to look for, now it's time to delve into aesthetics.
The first thing you want to do is make sure your computer screen has decent color settings. This will prevent you from misjudging colors.
What should you be looking for?
Wool Vs. Polyester
Suits are traditionally made with wool, but polyester is dreadfully common in the market. While synthetics can save you a ton of money, they won't serve you in the long run.
Wool will stand the test of time, even with heavy use. Polyester will start to bear shiny marks where the fabric endures the most tension. In wool blends, you'll even start to see fraying where the two fabrics rub against one another.
The upside to polyester is shaping. Wool is prone to shrinkage if not washed properly, while synthetic fibers are more resilient.
In any case, wool is still king. You might be spending a bit in the short term, but you will ultimately save money.
Interchangeability and versatile styles work best, so you want colors that will work in most scenarios.
You might be thinking black – and you'd be right, but the problem with black is that it's too formal. Ideally, the colors you invest in would work in most formal and semi-formal occasions.
A few solid examples include Navy, Charcoal gray, Cambridge Gray, Dark Brown, and Khaki.
Once you graduate beyond your second suit, patterns become a way to stand out from the crowd.
Be careful with these. You should strive to find the classics – patterns such as checks, stripes, and particular variants like Houndstooth can never go wrong.
5. See A Tailor – Achieve Perfection
Be realistic. It is unlikely that your off-the-rack online suit will come perfectly fitted. In such cases, you should set aside a modest budget to perfect the garment.
There is a silver lining – if you did your research prior to purchasing, then the adjustments should be minimal.
Services vary depending on the tailor, but there are rough estimates you can rely on:
- Taking in a dress shirt: $30-$40
- Taking in a jacket: $20-$50
- Shortening a jacket: $30
- Adjusting jacket shoulders: $70
- Hemming trousers: $10
When buying online, setting aside an extra $200 for the tailor will help finetune the fit.
6. Polishing off – Key Accessories
With the suit on its way, you should consider finishing it off with a few essential accessories.
Purchasing a tie almost goes without saying – but what should you look for? The key factor here is proportion. The width of your tie should be dictated by the size of the lapels on your suit jacket. Failing to do so will result in you looking off-balance.
Check for a tie bar tack location the back of the tie about three quarters down. This is a single stitch that reinforces the structure of the tie and keeps both sides together.
Finally, we have fabric. Silk is the premium fabric when it comes to men's ties. It's not only one of the most durable fabrics in the world, but it's also among the softest. It drapes well, it retains its shape, and it doesn't attract dirt.
Click here to check out the ultimate guide to buying the right tie.
What is a pocket square? A piece of fabric that you can insert into your top jacket pocket. It's a powerful addition to the look of any suit.
The goal with a pocket square is to give you the means to stand out in a room full of other men wearing plain suits. It's also another way to express yourself via your wardrobe.
There is nothing wrong with investing in simple cotton pocket squares. For a more formal event, consider a simple presidential fold – otherwise, you can go wild with different styles.
Click here for the full introduction to pocket squares.
Click here to learn more about folding a pocket square.
Summary – How To Buy A Suit Online
There are advantages and disadvantages to buying a suit online. You have countless choices at your fingertips, but you need to be more cautious about them.
Nevertheless, with the right research and a good tailor, you'll nail it. Good luck, gents!
Click below to watch the video – Style Expert Reacts To CHEAP (But HIGHLY Rated!) Amazon Suits