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In reply to awand from July 25 2003

I would not buy suits here if I were you. If you don't know your way around suits, you never know what you might get: you may arrive to the States with your brand new suit only to find out that the color is inappropriate, that the cut is too European or generally too hip (anyone said euro-trash?), that the side pockets have no flaps, pants are too narrow, or that the fabric isn't really that great. In addition, you never know if the stitches are real or fused, and also, they might give you a suit containing polyester — a very big no-no (if the suit looks literally shiny, i.e reflects light, don't buy it).

If I were you, I'd go to a decent store in the US and spend a few hundred dollars on a suit that the salesman says is appropriate for business. (for a first suit I'd go to a respectable Dept. store, or if you have the money and the desire, to a good tailor. Don't go to some small, anonymous men's wear store owned by whomever).

The general guidelines are:

  • No black suits for business functions at all (only for social occasions). Buy dark-grey/charcoal-grey or navy.
  • 2-3 buttons (2 is the better choice right now)
  • Must have pocket flaps
  • Regular breast pocket
  • Pure Wool, no synthetics
  • No fused stitches. They'll break apart.
  • Go with plain texture for your first 1-2 suits and not pin-striped.
  • Buy decent, tasteful, black shoes and keep them shined. (Though some colors are preferably worn with brown/burgundy shoes and belts).
  • Wear decent-quality suits, not the absolutely cheapest on the wrack. Many people can tell.
  • My personal favorite pant style is pleated (i.e has a fold in the middle) and with cuffs at the bottom. I think it looks much classier than the flat front.
  • Buy a few long-sleeve, plain-texture, white and pale-blue dress shirts, with a spread-collar (not button-down). Later on you can expand your wardrobe to include fancier shirts with special hues and textures.
  • Buy a few silk ties. Never wear the same color shirt and tie together unless you absolutely know what you're doing.