Designer Troy Costa feels a suit is on of the most important items in a man’s wardrobe. “A good suit is your armour against the everyday realities of life,” he says. For years now, the formal ensemble has been the wardrobe cornerstone that most men can’t do without.
But, with the changing times, this intrinsically western outfit has evolved to be less uptight and more fashionable. In fact, at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and on the international ramps, cotton suits made a big splash. Even Indian men, who would seldom experiment with their clothing, are now open to trying out an eclectic mix of elements when it comes to suits.
Featuring overall prints to comprising ankle-length pants — suits are not bound by limitations anymore.
In India, experts suggested that the tuxedo and the bandhgala are two kinds of suits that are the most popular with men. Along with that, the two-button, single-breasted jacket is considered versatile, and is often the go-to suit for celebrities. “The double-breasted jacket is quite detailed and formal, and a fashion-forward option,” says designer Narendra Kumar. In fact, Nikhil Mehra, one half of designer duo Shantanu & Nikhil, says while classic menswear needs sharp, well-tailored silhouettes to create a statement, “new-age styling for men has introduced new cuts, colours and pieces to their wardrobe”.
The big question, however, is this — what defines the perfect suit? “A good suit essentially needs to be well-tailored. Making a suit is a tougher craft than making a shirt or a trouser, simply because there is a lot more to be done. It has complicated patterns, and several pieces need to be fitted in to arrive at a certain size or fit. Classically, the suit was created to show a kind of place in society. Hence, the fabric you choose for a suit is important,” says Kumar.
What to Keep in mind while buying a suit
1) When it comes to the fit, your focus should be on the tailoring.
2) When you get a ready-to-wear suit, check that the shoulders fit well, because a small shoulder will make you look big and a big shoulder will make you look droopy.
3) What people don’t really check is the length of the sleeves. Ready-made blazers usually have sleeves that are a little longer than usual, so it looks droopy. If it’s a jacket sleeve, then it should be up to your wrist and not go beyond it.
4) If you are wearing a full-sleeved shirt, it’s best to wear one that is half an inch longer than your jacket.
5) In case you want to wash your face, it’s important to have cuffs and buttons on the sleeves of your shirt.
6) Check how the back of a jacket is draped. It should curve like your back. In a ready-made jacket, the back is straight, as it takes time to tailor a perfectly curved back.
7) A suit purely made by hand — hand-cut, handmade and hand-finished — is the best. It will be uniquely made for you, and will accommodate any fluctuations in body weight that a normal person may go through.
8) Choose a cloth of good value, one that is not quick to wrinkle. Then, you can decide on the design for the lapel.
9) While getting a suit made, you can experiment with patterns — from Prince of Wales window pane checks, stripes, etc.
Dos and don’ts
1) This season, less is more. Keep your look simple and stay away from bling.
2) You can mix and match a sober colour palette with neutral shades.
3) Never miss out on accessories — handcrafted shoes, brooches or pocket squares add that extra oomph to an otherwise classic ensemble.
4) If it is a formal occasion, try and break up the suit. Mix it with trousers of different colours, and keep the look contemporary.
5) For those who don’t want to experiment too much, a coloured suit — for example, one that is electric blue — is apt.
1) “Ranveer Singh creates looks that are unique and innovative,” says designer Nikhil Mehra.
2) “Rahul Khanna and Rahul Bose enjoy wearing suits, and it is visible every time they wear one,” says designer Narendra Kumar.
3) “Saif (Ali Khan) has great flair and panache. He is a big fan of the double-breasted jacket,” says designer Troy Costa.