With prom season and graduation around the corner, now is the time to find your son a good suit. Whether he rents a tux for prom or not he will still need a good suit for graduation, job interviews, and for those special occasions that occur as our sons become an adult such as receiving the Nobel Prize or being sworn in as Governor.
Buying a suit can be scary because most of us moms know nothing about how to choose the right suit for our son and even fewer of us have the money to go and get a custom made suit so we must choose from local and online stores. Make sure you build some tailoring into your budget as any suit you buy will need to be altered a little to perfectly fit your son.
When buying a suit you have the option of purchasing an entire suit or separates such as formal trousers, blazers, suit jackets or a sport coat. For the sake of this article, I am focusing on purchasing a complete suit which consists of trousers and a jacket made out of the same material. We will also talk about shirts, ties, and shoes as well.
Step One – Color
There are lots of colors to choose from basic black to purple velvet, but we are looking for a suit that will work for your son in various situations and send out a classic professional vibe. I prefer a nice dark charcoal gray or a dark navy. It’s a nice basic foundation color without looking too much like Men in Black or like some rube in an SNL skit with no fashion sense.
You also want to make sure it is a solid color with no discernable pattern. You don’t want your son looking like your high school football coach in that loud plaid jacket.
Your son’s first suit is a foundation he can build his adult work wardrobe around so it is best to stick with the basics.
Step 2 – Buttons
One button, two buttons, three buttons, double-breasted, not buttons, who knew there were so many choices. Don’t let this overwhelm you, play it safe and go with a standard two button. The two-button jacket looks nice on all body types and will work well on your son no matter his build.
Step 3 – Make Sure it Fits
You want to make sure the corner of the shoulders drops straight down from the arm. You don’t want bunching at the shoulders but you also don’t want to look like a football player. Make sure there is no bunching or pulling around the stomach or arms. It is better to have the arms a little longer over the hands as this can be altered. Too short arms cannot be lengthened. So make sure the arms are a little long over the hands. Have your son raise his hands, bend over, and do a little arm flexing to make sure the jacket doesn’t pull or worse yet, split.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Does the suit jacket fit? Stick your thumb between the button and your belly. If your thumb is snug its a good fit. Find out more tips for suit shopping at ” quote=”Does the suit jacket fit? Stick your thumb between the button and your belly. If your thumb is snug its a good fit. ” theme=”style3″]
The trousers are the easiest part of the suit to get altered by a tailor. The trousers should fit nicely, not to tight, and hang straight until they break on the top of the shoe. As long as the seat of the pants fit nice and aren’t too tight when he bends over, everything else can be altered.
One thing most moms, are not familiar with is the term “dressing”. The assistant at the suit store will ask your son does he “dress right or left” prior to measuring his inseam. Basically, the assistant is asking if he places his privates to the left or the right when he wears pants. Also, you will want to let your son know what is entailed in measuring for a suit if he has not had it done before. Sometimes, the assistant is a woman and your son may be surprised or embarrassed when she starts putting her hands between his legs to measure.
Step 4 – Personality
Now that you have a suit, a well-fitting foundation, it is time for your son to let his personality shine by dressing up or down the suit with all the accouterments.
You will need to get a nice dress shirt and tie to wear with the suit. You can go with a basic white dress shirt and a nice basic striped tie for formal occasions and job interviews. In addition, let your son pick out a dress shirt he likes and a tie. He can also dress it up with a nice vest or bow tie.
If your son is fashion-forward, then he can add a pocket square and even an ascot or fedora. Let him really express his personality with cufflinks and some wingtip shoes. As long he has a good basic foundation suit, the accessories can change with fashion and sartorial whims.
Have you gone suit shopping with your son?
What would you add to this list?
7 thoughts on “Single Mom’s Guide to Buying Your Son a Suit”
Yes, this can be quite a task.
These are great tips. I wouldn’t have had a clue!
It was a learning experience for me when I bought my son his first adult suit.
My son is only 10 but great info to have in the future. My issue has been trying to find my almost 13 year a dress for JR High Dances. She didn’t go to the Winter Formal because we couldn’t find a dress wide enough for her shoulders. She has broad shoulders like dad and a chest that hasn’t quite developed yet so it’s a task.
My cousin had that issue when we were young. My aunt would have to get her dresses and alter them to fit her right.