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How to Select the Best Suit for Any Occasion

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Section: Men's Style - Blog

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In terms of budget dollars, it saves money if you buy one suit and wear it for multiple events. While a good quality men’s business suit will give you years of wearable service, there are usually times when you need something dressier. Here’s a quick guide to picking the best suit for every circumstance.

Eventually, most men need to buy a suit. This first time suit may not be great quality, but the price was affordable and it was probably stylish for its time. However, as we progress through life's stages and events, we encounter more occasions that require us to suit up in the finest sartorial style.

Whether it is for the workplace, the races, a friend's wedding, or your own nuptials, suiting up should be an enjoyable experience: an opportunity to look your best. Here's a few tips to help you choose the right suit for any circumstance or event.

Entry LEvel Business

So, you've just finished university or college and need to nail those interviews? You also need to start building your wardrobe with a business suit or two.

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The safest, most versatile colours are:

  • Charcoals
  • Dark greys
  • Dark navy blues
  • Black

Typically, suits in these colours flatter men of all shapes, sizes and complexions. If you like pinstripes, go for it, but don't choose stripes with a bold contrast.

If you are on a tight budget, it's best to go with a dark grey or a charcoal fabric. These neutral colours match well with almost any shirt and tie combination, and since these are dark colours, you can match them with black shoes.

Are you the daring type racing down the navy blue suit path? These suits play well with pastel shirts in colours like pink, sky blue and mauve, but brown shoes and a brown belt are a must.

If you're new to wearing suits, we'd advise you to err on the conservative side for styling. For example, opt for standard, unembellished three inch lapels. The most important thing is for the suit to fit you well so you'll look and feel more confident. Save the fancy styling options for another time and life stage.

As to fabric, opt for something in the Super 100s to 110s range, and if you can afford it, splurge on pure wool.

Rising Business Stars

Once you've proven your mettle in the workplace, it's time to make a statement and attract attention, especially during important meetings or when closing deals. For these situations, opt for wearing lighter colours:

  • Lighter greys
  • French navies (bluer shades)
  • Plaids like Prince of Wales or Window Pane patterns

However, be careful not to go too light. Add in a few bolder pinstripes if they are to your liking, and you feel daring.

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As to styling, consider the opulent peak lapel instead of the standard notch and if you're a thinner guy, opt for a slim fit suit to cut a mean silhouette. Add a patterned or coloured lining or hand craft stitching for extra sartorial flair.

Finally, choose a pure wool fabric in the Super 120s to 130s range. These will be durable, luxurious and comfortable.

chairman of the board

You've risen through the ranks. It's time to reward yourself with quality and show others you're a success. Colour selection is entirely up to you (by now, you probably already own a suit in every colour). What's important now is your suit is a statement, asserting your dislike for the mediocre and your uncompromising nature in everything you do.

Select a suit style that speaks to your personality. Add an exquisitely patterned or coloured lining or hand craft stitching for extra panache. Choose working cuffs on your sleeves to proclaim to the world you're wearing a custom made suit. Opt for an elegantly cut suit that provides a little more room to move whilst still fitting snugly. Try a 3-piece suit or even a double breasted suit as both have made huge comebacks in the past few years.

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For these power suits, select uncompromising pure wool fabrics in the Super 130s to 160s range. These fabrics are luxuriously fine, lightweight and smooth and communicate power and elegance - just like the way you carry yourself.

Weddings and special events

As you tread the path to world domination, you'll get probably get side tracked by social events. Special occasions such as races, garden weddings, and daytime social events call for different colours and styling for suits and jackets. These occasions are your opportunity to stand out and get noticed for your good taste and distinguished style, so have fun choosing your outfits for these.

If you're the type who likes to play it safe, stick with:

  • Lighter charcoals
  • Greys
  • French navies

However, if you'd like to exploit your "not-one-of-the crowd" credentials, go big and go brown. Just keep in mind, for evening events, it's usually best to select darker colours.

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Celebrations have a way of tempting us to go overboard, so go ahead and experiment with slimmed down lapels or hand craft stitching or piped edges in a different colour. Other head turners are peak lapels and coloured linings. The sky is the limit with custom tailored men's suits, and you should be able to depend on your master tailor to rein you in a bit if you go too far.

As these events are infrequent and not your typical workplace environments, you could look at it two ways when you contemplate your fabric options.

  • It's a special occasion! I'm entitled to splash out with something in the Super 130s to 150s range.
  • It's an infrequent event; I probably won't wear the suit for other events, so something in the Super 100s to 110s range is ok.

Either choice is fine as the decision is purely personal.

Colour selection depends on the time of day and venue. Warm, sunny daytime weddings and outdoor cocktail receptions call for lighter coloured fabrics, while it's generally safer to go with charcoals, navies and black for formal events.

Formal Events

For special occasions like galas, charity events, and black-tie or white-tie dinners, you'll need to branch out from traditional workplace suit colours into a dinner suit or tuxedo. Such occasions, however, generally impose strict dress codes and standards such as wearing a suit made from black or dark navy blue (often called midnight blue). Such suits are usually adorned with the shawl lapel, often with satin covering or piping. Pure wool fabrics in the Super 110s to 150s range should suffice for all but the most extravagant balls.

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Finally, since most of these are evening events, deep charcoals, midnight navies and blacks are your best selection when it comes to colour.

Your wedding

On your big day, you can choose a wedding suit in any colour. Indeed, it's not uncommon for wedding suits to be made in sky blue, greens and even reds. As crazy as it seems, on your wedding day, it's all about you and your bride, so why shouldn't you be able to do as you please?

However, if you need to get utility from your groom's suit, choose a colour that's not overly conservative by steering away from dark charcoals, dark greys and dark navy blues. Be wary of choosing blacks as you may look like one of the catering staff.

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As with other formal event scenarios, colour selection depends on the time of day and event setting. Warm, sunny daytime weddings and outdoor cocktail receptions are best served by lighter coloured fabrics; for formal events, stick with charcoals, navies and black.

Set Yourself Apart

Now, what about the suits for your groomsmen (and what are the bridesmaids wearing?) The rule of thumb is to distinguish yourself from the groomsmen by changing your garment colour or type.

For example, as the groom, you could wear a crisp white shirt and white bow tie, while your groomsmen could wear shirts in colours to match the bridesmaids' dresses. Accentuate their suits with skinny ties.

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Alternatively, you could opt for the ever-elegant 3-piece look, but clothe the gents in simple suits. Another way to stand out is to choose the same suit and shirt style for all the men in the wedding party but vary the colour of the groom's suit's fabric.

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As you can see, as you move from selecting your first suit to building the ultimate dapper gentleman's wardrobe, you'll be making lots of decisions and choices. If that seems like an overwhelming task, relax.Montagio Custom Tailoring is in the business of making those decisions and choices for gentlemen like you every day, and they are always glad to share their expertise. Set up a non-obligation styling session today and take the first step toward building that perfect wardrobe.

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We tailor make mens suits, jackets and shirts for all occasions. Each garment is custom designed, precisely made-to-measure and is guaranteed to fit you perfectly. Unlike others, we offer you end-to-end service and a personalised styling session where we take the time to understand your needs to ensure you get the colour, style and fit you want.

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Since 2010, we've paved the way for uncompromising men to get suited up in style with our full service tailored mens suits, shirts and coats. Our showrooms are packed full of suit samples and thousands of fabrics making it easy for you to get the look and fit you want. We offer a remarkably personal shopping experience and specialise in individually hand crafted garments for business, weddings, formal and casual events. We have personally tailored mens suits for thousands of happy customers, and you too can experience the same red carpet treatment. Book your personal appointment today to have your uniquely styled and perfectly tailored garment ready within a few short weeks.

Steve Fambo

Hats off to the team at Montagio Custom Tailoring Sydney. I was immediately impressed once I stepped into their boutique showroom... more »

Scott Lasak

The suit and shirts I received were terrific and much better quality than ones I've found in stores off the rack. I would absolutely recommend them... more »

Yun Zhi Lin

I would highly recommend Montagio for anyone else planning a wedding or looking for a trendy tailor made suit... more »


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