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Style with Sean

Sean Fitzgerald | Thursday, January 26, 2012

So you’re not Barney Stinson or have that innate desire to wear a suit everyday. I get it. You generally hate dressing up, but it has to be done sometimes. However, the Winter Career and Internship Fair is fast approaching. You want to present your best self, but you don’t really understand what makes some guys look so good in a suit. Here are some areas to look at when dressing for that key interview (in order of importance).

No. 1. The Shoulders

Since the downfall of menswear in the late 1960s (when was the last time you saw a well-dressed hippie?), men and their suits have lost their way. Men have been choosing to wear suits that don’t fit well, on purpose. And, it all starts with the shoulders. The shoulders should be close-fitting with minimal-shoulder padding. You’re not a linebacker; you’re looking for a job.

Even the best tailors can’t alter the shoulders that much. Here’s a trick to tell if the shoulders fit right. Put on the jacket and stand next to a wall. Slowly lean into the wall with your shoulder. The shoulder and the pad should hit at the same time. If not, size down until it does.

No. 2. Armholes

Back in 2010, Banana Republic came out with their Suiting 101 Guide. Note to Banana Republic: it was TERRIBLE. When talking about armholes BR said, “Give yourself room to move. The armhole should be wide enough to allow considerable motion.” If you know anything about BR suits, they have been known to have quite low armholes. They cause the whole suit to move when you raise your arms, you don’t want that. Go for the modern, high armholes.

No. 3. Jacket Waist

Repeat after me — I am not wearing a box; I am wearing a suit. The fabric from your torso to your armpits should not make a straight, vertical line down. It should dart in. Even if you think your suit fits well, go to your tailor and have him/her pin you up. This will cost about $20.

No. 4. Pant Break

The break is where the pant meets the shoe and creates that “crease.” There should be only ONE crease, not 5. This is known as a medium break. Although there has been a recent trend in the menswear industry to have pants with no break, it is hard to pull off. Hemming the pants will cost about $10.

No. 5. Jacket Length

Put your arms at your side, and curl up your fingers. The jacket should be resting in your hands. Shortening the jacket length is about $30-$40.

No. 6. Jacket Sleeves

About ¼” to a ½” of the shirt cuff should be visible when your arms are hanging by your side, but it’s not the end of the world if you can’t get it done. Shortening the jacket sleeves will cost about $20.

No. 7. Lapels and Ties

Lapels are what most of you would call the “collar.” Thinner guys should opt for thin lapels. Thin lapels should also be matched with thinner ties. Ties should not go past the belt buckle.

My Advice: Take this guide with you and go see your tailor! While you’re there, get measured and have him/her pin you up. Trust me, it can make all the difference.

Contact Sean Fitzgerald at sfitzge3@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.