Buying a suit

Alright, I’ve checked the previous threads for places to buy suits:
(btw any more to add on these),
Now I need some advice on what to look for.

I’ve never bought a suit before, what do I look for? What fabrics? How many buttons? Collars? What styles are out there? Single/double breasted?

I want one I cna wear for my wedding and use after when needed.

Any help appreciated.


Hi Bu Lai En,

If you are tall you probably cannot buy a suit off the racks, you’ll have to have one made.

In that case you probably want to buy a black suit. Stay away from cotton, depending on the expense it can look really nice, but you never really know what you are getting here. If you are getting it tailored then you can go with a mink/cashmere mix, or something similar. Most suits in Taiwan are light weight because of the heat. It should cost below $15,000NT depending on where you get it made and the material. As for buttons, well if you are pretty tall say 6ft then three buttons are probably better, if you are shorter than two with surfice. You can get a single or double breated suit jacket, my wife hates double breasted so I went with a single, I think it’s better for business and weddings anyway. As for pants you probably want to go with two pleats, it’s more formal. At least two pairs of pants, unless you don’t want to wear it after your wedding.

That should do for now.


Hey Jeff, how about the slacks. Cuffed or not cuffed? Or do the cuffed just go with the sports jacket?


I really don’t know the rule about that, but I have seen it go both ways. A friend of mine in the states loves cuffed pants, so that is what he usually wears, I on the otherhand prefer uncuffed. I think it doesn’t matter, but consult with the person making the suit for you.

Bu Lai En: I forgot to mention something, you can also get the suit jacket with vents or w/o vents, one in the middle, or one on each side. This is up to you, though in my opinion having two is out of style, but in Taiwan you could probably get away with just about anything.


You never bought a suit before? Then I’d suggest you go to somewhere like Hugo Boss (Anho, just south of Renai) and take a look at what’s hot and how a good suit ought to look. If you don’t want to spring for one of their excellent suits, you can at least have an idea of what you’d like. Also, most of the hotel tailors I’ve been to here have endless folders full of pics of all the name-brand, designer stuff, so you can just choose one from there and they’ll run it up for you in the fabric of your choice.

I’d go with Boss, though – less expensive than Armani and much better looking.

Very long-lasting, too, so if you go the Boss route or something similar, don’t buy something that’s too “fashionable,” as it’ll date far more quickly than the suit’ll wear. Classic but stylish is the way to go. Be careful if you go to a tailor, as you run the risk of ending up looking like a photocopier repair guy.

Also, I don’t know where Jeff bought his suit, but mink???

Go for a silk/wool/cashmere mix if you can, or some kind of proprietary wool such as “Coolwool,” which is very lightweight and can be worn in summer.

Buy the most expensive you can afford. A cheap suit will always look exactly like a cheap suit.

Cuffs and single pleats are cooler and a double-breasted will hide your gut better then a single.

I looked at some suits in Sogo. They were all 100% wool.

I can fit the suits there. What are the advantages/disadvantages of tailored. I gues I’m looking at around 10-15000.

Any opinions on Pierre Cardin. I think Boss was expensive.


Hey Bu Lai En,

Well one advantages of getting a tailor made suit is that it will probably fit your body better and you have more styles and things to choose from, which may or may not be benefical to you. One disadvantage is finding a tailor you like.

If you want a suit for 10-15k you have quite a bit of choose. The suit I have, and yeah it has mink in it, at least that’s what they told me, is pretty nice. And it doesn’t wrinkle very easily and doesn’t fade.

100% wool is ok, I just wonder if it is suitable for Taiwan, well probably… It will wrinkle a little easier, but not that bad. Pierre Cardin is a good brand, I have some ties and a belt from them, pretty nice.



If you’re going for a more current look (and you’re reasonably svelte), go with three buttons, single breasted, and no vents, pleats or cuffs. 100% wool is fine as long as it’s tropical weight wool.

Black is the most formal color and definitely the safest, but if you only have one suit I’d go with dark blue as it’s a little more flexible.

With the inflated price of good imported suits in Taiwan, I personally think tailored suits are a better value, provided you find a reliable tailor.

If you have the time and are going anyway then Hong Kong is both cheaper and better for suits - though not for shirts - than Taipei. The last suit i had made was in a good quality material with plenty of choice in terms of material design and colours. Cost me less than 2000 HKD.
If you are interested - he is based in Tsimshatsui then send me a mail and i will give you all the details.

If no time, then try Jimmys on the B1 floor of the Lai Lai Sheraton, he is good, but needs to be told more than one exactly what you want. Be firm.

I was thinking. The main purpose for my suit is my wedding and seeing as I don’t plan on geting a ‘suit job’ any time soon I’d probably just pull it out for all my friend’s weddings that re coming up soon. If I want a more business-style suit, I can buy another one later right? In that case wouldn’t a two-buttoned be best?


Three, four, or even five-buttoned are all much cooler than boring old two. (OK, five buttoned is a bit more out there, but a nice bottle green shot silk Paul Smith with crimson lining, you’d knock 'em all dead!).

Also, stay away from blue – think photocopy repair guy. Blackest of blacks is what you’re looking for.

There’s also a brand in Sogo that’s v. cool. Can’t remember the name, but its German. Very slim cut, interesting fabric patterns, real stylish, not too dear. You’ll certainly not be mistaken for Mr. Chan of Ever Fortune Widgets Co.

Go crazy and splash out in Dolce & Gabbana is my advice.

Their suits are obviously not cheap but you’ll look like a million dollars and, if you choose a not too funky style, it’ll last you a life time. They are also cut to give you a very slim look (not that I’m suggesting…!)

After you’ve tried one on you’ll be a convert!

I bought a Boss “Rockefeller” at Sogo a few years ago - absolutely fantastic. Perfect for formal occasions like weddings or going out on the town. For the money, you can’t go wrong with Hugo Boss.

I agree with Sandman, nothing looks worse then a cheap suit and tie.

I would actually disagree with a couple of the previous posters and say whatever you do, don’t buy a black suit. I think it tends to look very dated (unless it is a tuxedo/dinner jacket or tails). By the way, these are cut differently from a ‘suit’ as such.

Basically, people only weak black for weddings, funerals, very formal evening occasions (think James Bond in a casino), or if they are entertainers/musicians.

I suggest you go for very dark navy blue (this looks almost black), or very dark charcoal. Both of these would be fine for your wedding, and are also decent functional colours you can wear for other occasions.

Regarding fabric. . . I suggest you go for ‘natural fibers’ (i.e. 100% wool, cotton, linen, or whatever). Natural fibers crease more easily than fibers with a high percentage of polyester, but they look much nicer and are also cooler (important in Taiwan). You also have the comfort of knowing that your suit isn’t a fire risk.

Don’t worry too much about cashmere versus wool. Low grade cashmere (which is most of what is in the tailor shops here) is no better than good quality wool, so just go with your own feeling. Try touching the fabrics you see in the shop and you will get a feel for the difference. Cashmere is more for colder climates anyway.

Linen is good for tropical climates, although you tend to find linen in lighter colors. If you can find it, a rough linen/silk mix is very nice. Zegna used to do alot of suits in this kind of mix. It is nice to wear in a cool climate, and it stands out from the average ‘shiny suit’.

Hmm. . .Thats about all I can think of.

Chung, or Sandman what does a Hugo Boss suit cost in Taiwan? I’m looking to get a lighter weight summer suit.

Your wedding will be in the middle of summer so you could go with blue, not navy. If you can rent The Talented Mr. Ripley check out the blue suit Jude Law wears at one point. Absolutely smashing color.

A few suit basics: always get two pair of pants made if its tailored. The seat of your pants will wear out faster than the jacket. Always make sure the jacket lapels are cut and creased properly so they come together without overlap just over the top button. Always make sure the sleeve buttons are real (that is, they really button the end of the sleeves and are not just sewn on). Cuffed pants can make your legs look sawed off if you aren’t that tall (especially if combined with a double-breasted jacket). Finally, you button the middle button on a three button suit, the top button on a two, and the only button on a single.

And as Sandman said, always spend as much as you can afford. You’ll hopefully only get married once and you’ll want to look your best. What will you want as a memory in 20 years: a great shot of you in a hot suit, or the thought that you saved $10,000 to buy more bian dung?

Now go out there and make us all proud son.

I buy all my suits during the Sogo anniversary sales, which are usually in October or November. Each store has their own sale. If you don’t find what your looking for in Taipei, try Yungho, Chung Li, or Hsinchu. Hugo Boss and Kenzo usually have discounts of between 20 - 70 percent. In other words, a $25,000 suit can be yours for $8000 -$12000.

Blue? Insurance salesmen wear blue!

Originally posted by chung: Blue? Insurance salesmen wear blue!
I'm with Chung. I recently suffered through a bad Steve Martin movie where he gets mocked for wearing a blue (almost black) suit to a wedding. If it's obvious enough to be a Hollywood joke, that should tell you something.

Blue pinstripe is ok if you’re a banker, though.

Sorry guys, but cannot agree with those guys advocating the buying of “off the peg” stuff. All volume producers of suits assume a certain type and style of fit, and lets face it, most of us do not fit that design precisely.
How often have you looked at a great looking suit to find that the jacket is to small, but the next size really too big, or that the jacket fits but that the pants dont, and normally they do not like to let you switch between sizes.
I have not used anything other than a tailor for all my suit requiremtns for a lot of years, and generally found that not only tdo i get a better fit, for the same money i usually get a better quality of cloth, and you can get it cut to suit the exact style you want.

Bri, my advice is to go for a tailor.

As for colour, then a light to medium gray, ala morning suit colour, is also accetable at a wedding and can still be used afterwards without any problems.

With regard to style, then i have to say that should the wearer be overweight then a double breasted does not make sense. In terms of number of buttons then it comes down very much to your own personal tastes.

Yup, Chung definitely has to be the most dapper rice farmer I’ve ever seen!

Oh yeah, that blue suit in Ripley is wild, but its very far from boring old-man navy.

Light grey, charcoal – what the hell is this? Its yer wedding fer crissakes, why would you want to look like an everyday salaryman. Live a little! Look sharp! don’t look as though your name is Norman! “Suits you, sir. Now, would sir like a pocket protector with that?” Nooooooooo!

I do like the linen/silk idea. I have a really nice Zegna suit made of that and its beautiful, even when its wrinkled. A bit dear, tho’ (NT25+) unless you can get it in a sale. Still, it’ll make you feel like “Our Man in Havana” or something.

Overweight people should ALWAYS go for double-breasted. ALWAYS. Ask any tailor.

If you can bear it, rent the Spice Girls movie and check out the Paul Smith suits worn by Richard E. Grant.

Hugo Boss prices? Regular Boss brand are about NT25, I think, but they have even nicer ones in the Anho shop. My wedding suit came from there and has some Italian name. Its hand-made, pure Coolwool, wearable on the hottest days and still looks sharp as fvck. On the other hand, it cost NT40. Best suit I ever had, tho.

Hey Sandman, maybe we can start a “Blue is Beautiful” club.

Your linen/silk suit sounds exactly what I want. Where’s the Zegna store?

Mental note to myself: get out more and find out where things are in this city!!!