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Ask A Stylist: Tips For Finding The Perfect Suit

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A striking suit can take any man's look from ho-hum to handsome, but there's more to scoring a stylish suit than slipping into the first jacket and trousers you find at a department store. You need a suit that makes you look and feel great, exudes sophistication and sexiness and holds its value as a practical investment for years to come. Whether you need a new suit for an upcoming wedding, special event or job interview, professional personal stylist Brittany Donaldson can help you find the perfect suit with these helpful hints and fail-proof tips.

Brittany Donaldson
Professional Personal Stylist

Brittany Donaldson is a professional personal stylist serving clients throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. A former fashion intern with Whirl Magazine and former visual merchandiser for H&M, Donaldson was inspired to take her passion for fashion to the next level and launched her own personal stylist venture and online boutique. She holds a degree in fashion merchandising and gained experience as a sales associate at Rue 21 and Juicy Couture and as a merchandiser at Macy's. In addition to operating her own stylist services, Donaldson currently works at Modcloth, a Pittsburgh-based online retailer that features vintage and indie-inspired clothing.

Tip 1: Know why you're buying
Before you wander into the nearest men's clothing store, ask yourself if this will be a suit you wear weekly to the office or a fashion geared more toward the occasional wedding or corporate party. "Knowing why you're buying a suit will help you determine the style, fabric and how dressy you need it to be," explains Donaldson. While some suits clearly appeal to a specific function or occasion, there are some styles like a pinstriped suit or a vintage suit that offer versatility to provide more wear for your money.

Tip 2: Get the perfect fit

"No matter how amazing a suit is, if it doesn't fit right, it will look terrible," says Donaldson, who suggests starting your search by going to a department store and trying on different styles and brands. Pay attention to the look and fit of the jacket, particularly the shoulders, collar, buttons, lapels and cuff, as well as the trousers and overall silhouette. Donaldson cautions, "If nothing else, make sure the suit's jacket fits you in the shoulders."

Suit and Tie (Credit: Jessica Wasik)

Tip 3: Don't be frugal
While you can skimp and save on dress shirts, socks and ties, your suit is not a garment on which you want to pinch pennies. Remember why you're buying it and you'll come to see this handsome essential as an investment. Don't base your purchase solely on price but rather on quality and comfort. "Once you've found the most flattering cut in a great quality fabric and a beautiful color, then you can worry about the cost of the suit. This is going to be a staple of your wardrobe, so put up the dough!" says Donaldson. After all, as the old saying goes, "you get what you pay for."

Related: Best Of Men's Clothing Stores

Tip 4: Befriend a tailor

An ill fit can make even the most high-quality suit look dumpy and uncomfortable; however, a few quick alterations at your local tailor is all it takes to take your suit style up a couple of notches. "I think every man should have all of his suits tailored," advises Donaldson. "A great tailor can make an off-the-rack suit look like it was custom made." Whether realigning buttons with buttonholes, shortening pants or narrowing your sleeves, having a tailor customize your suit to fit your body type is an affordable must that Donaldson deems "a small but necessary investment."

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Tip 5: Take risks

To truly stand out, spring for something unexpected. "Sure, black, navy or grey two-button suits are classic; you can almost never go wrong with them," adds Donaldson. "But I'm a really big fan of the new fitted, double-breasted suits with pointed lapels in a light color." Tom Ford has a great collection of these, a favorite of Donaldson who urges guys not to be afraid to look great while making a statement. Pair your suit with a fun and funky footwear like Jack Purcell sneakers for a casual touch or dark brown dress shoes that look great with a variety of lighter colored suits.

Related: Best Tailors In Pittsburgh

Jessica Wasik lives in Pittsburgh where works as a full-time figure skating coach sharing her passion with todays generation of young skaters. A graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies, Jessica is also a contributing writer for Allegheny West Magazine. Her work can be found at

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