Smart Guide: how to buy the perfect suit

Everything you need to know about buying this sexy wardrobe staple

It might not elicit the same kind of euphoric response that comes with a killer pair of shoes, but there’s no need to consider your suit boring. Less Hilary Rodham Clinton, more Madonna, suits can – and should – have sex appeal. From Madge’s Blonde Ambition double-breasted number to her white newlywed statement-maker – rhinestone-emblazoned with “Mrs. Ritchie,” no less – there’s no reason why your best buy can’t take you from boardroom to bridal shower to cocktail hour with just a quick switch-up of accessories.

Here’s how to pick the most flattering style for your body type.
Thicker middle Curvy menswear styles with a slightly longer jacket are most flattering.
Curvy A shorter and shapely one- or two-button jacket that ends at the hips is a solid choice.
Busty Is your top button always gaping? Opt for the extra room in the lapel that a fitted, single-button jacket affords.
Bigger bottom Stay away from back vents. Choose a longer jacket style with two darts and a centre back detail.

Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty details that go into sourcing the dream suit, know this: no matter what your build, tailoring is the key to looking your best. Prep for your power-suit power shop by wearing the proper undergarments (sports bras and panty lines are change room no-nos) and take along the shoes you’ll most likely be pairing with it. As the cornerstone of any stylish woman’s wardrobe, it’s important not to skimp on the foundation, so expect to spend $400 to $1,600 for a three-piece suit (meaning a jacket, skirt and pants).

Wool and high-quality polyester blends are your best fabric options as many are blended with Lycra for greater ease of movement. Although natural fabrics are a better choice for breathability and for the way they contour the body, polyesters tend to retain their colours better. The higher the fabric’s thread count, the higher the quality and durability. A good way to test a fabric’s weave is to hold it up against a bright light and check that the weave is tight, uniform and without any loose threads.

Get Chatelaine in your inbox!

Our very best stories, recipes, style and shopping tips, horoscopes and special offers. Delivered a couple of times a week.