Myth Or Fact: You’ll Only Ever Need One Suit

With the advent of casual Fridays and… gasp!… casual everyday… would anyone even bother to dress up for work anymore? In fact, does a gentleman even have a need for a suit at all? Fortunately, most men would have at least one suit, tucked away in the far corner of his wardrobe. Usually zipped up safely in a garment bag, only to see the light of day once, maybe twice a year. The occasional presentation at work, or maybe attending the son or daughter’s convocation ceremony. Perhaps even for that all-important job interview. But aside from all that, it remains zipped up, and out of sight…

Close up of a gentleman subtly adjusting his shirt cuffs under his jacket sleeves.
Every gentleman needs at least one suit… The question is – Does he wear it often enough, or is it zipped up in its protective garment bag, tucked away in the far corner of the wardrobe?
Image by freepic.diller of Freepik

Fact: It’s Important To Have At Least One Suit

Every man needs at least one suit – that’s an established fact. You already have one? That’s great, you’ve covered all your bases. If not, then you’re likely to shop around at your local fast fashion outlets, perhaps High Street boutiques for one. And most likely, you’d pick out a solid black, two-piece suit, with a pretty common single breasted, two-buttoned jacket. After all, you’ll never go wrong with that “standard” suit, right?… Except that there’s no such thing as a “standard” suit!… More on that a little later.

The criteria for getting that suit is pretty simple too. As long as it fits you, and doesn’t cost too much, it’ll do. After all, you’re not gonna be running a 100-metre sprint wearing it, right? So comfort or movement when wearing it won’t be a major criterion for the selection. Besides, you’d probably have that jacket draped over your arm most of the time anyway. You’d wear it no longer than two hours in a stretch. You also wouldn’t want to sweat unnecessarily in that warm jacket, right?… Right?… Actually no, that’s not right at all. In fact, that “standard” black suit is a total myth. Let’s go through several common myths :-

Myth #1: Solid Black Is The Standard Colour For Suits

A gentleman wearing what he believes is the "standard" black suit, with a white shirt and black tie.
The ubiquitous black suit may seem like the “standard” business suit to some. But black is actually not the colour of choice when it comes to suitings.
Image by Malik Mccotter-Jordan from Pixabay

Unless you work in a funeral home, attending a funeral, or attending a costume party dressed as Agent Smith or Men In Black, black is certainly not a standard colour for suits. The commonly accepted colours, are more likely to be navy blue, charcoal grey, or even charcoal brown. The only similarity to the mythical “standard” black suit is that these colours are all dark. Hence, the order of the day in business formal wear is dark suits, not black. The only other acceptable case for wearing black suits is formal wear, e.g. black tie dress code. But even then, it’s not even your regular suit at all. It’s a whole different type of suit, for a totally different purpose altogether.

Myth #2: All Suit Jackets Are Warm To Wear

Although not entirely false, it only applies to jackets made from cheap polyester fabric. So if your only experience with suits is the cheap, ready-to-wear ones, then yes, suit jackets are warm to wear. But traditional suitings are made of wool, not polyester. And different yarn weights weave different wool fabric weights. This, in turn, produces wool fabric with various levels of heat retention. It’s a really deep rabbit hole. But if you’re interested to know more, here’s the link. In short, only cheap suit jackets are warm to wear. Quality suit jackets, on the other hand, have varying levels of heat retention. In fact, some suitings are so light that they’re meant strictly for warm weather or summer suits.

An image of the inside of a train during rush hour, with passengers being packed together tightly.
Imagine being fully dressed for an important business presentation, only to be packed like a can of sardines in a train during rush hour, and in the middle of summer. Not exactly a situation that you’d want to be suited up for, right?
Image by iqbal nuril anwar from Pixabay 

Myth #3: Suit Jackets Are Uncomfortable To Wear

Again, if you’ve only experienced cheap, ready-to-wear suits, then yes, it’s pretty uncomfortable. You see, most ready-to-wear garments, like t-shirts, are made from knitted fabric. Knitted fabrics have a natural stretch in them. You don’t really need them to fit your body precisely to be comfortable. Simple small, medium and large sizes will satisfy 90% of the market.

On the other hand, woven fabric is the order of the day when it comes to suitings. Woven fabric lies flat on your body, and doesn’t stretch. Hence, it’s more important to have the garment fit your body exactly to be comfortable. The only way to get that precise fit is to have it custom tailored to your unique body shape. Ready-to-wear suits are designed to fit the average body shape. Unfortunately, majority of the men out there do not have the average body shape, hence poor fit. In short, only the cheap, ready-to-wear suit jackets are characteristically uncomfortable to wear.

Myth #4: Tailored Suits Are Expensive

While not entirely a myth, tailored suits are generally more expensive than the ready-to-wear variants. But the more important factor is to compare the value, not the price. Many people tend to compare the price difference. So much so that they lose sight of what’s really important – the value. Cheap suits are just that – cheap!… It’s cheaply made, using cheap fabric, and sold cheaply to cheap customers… You!… Many tend to ignore one very important fact. There are quality tailors, using traditional suitings, that won’t break the bank. As long as you’re not too fussy with the premium labels, and are willing to shop around, you can always find one.

Tailor measuring up a customer for a bespoke suit, looking towards a full-length mirror to the front.
Being measured up for a bespoke suit is the ultimate way of guaranteeing the perfect fit for your unique body shape. It is almost impossible for a ready-to-wear suit to fit your body perfectly.
Image by Jonathan Woo, courtesy of Solarex Imaging

A Good Suit Is An Investment, Not An Expense

A regular Joe who owns one suit, a cheap, black, and uncomfortable suit, will loathe to wear it regularly. He will find excuses not to wear it, even if it makes him look good. And we all know that looking good is the key to instilling confidence, which in turn, makes him feel good.

But a gentleman who appreciates the good things in life, would probably have at least one custom tailored suit. It doesn’t need to be a very expensive suit, with a pedigree label and all. The prerequisites for a good suit are simple. Made with suitable fabric for his climate, fits him perfectly, and wear comfortably. He’ll find reasons to wear it regularly. And by wearing it regularly, he’ll look good, which instills his confidence, and in turn, makes him feel good. And feeling good is half the journey to success. He’ll probably perform better than his colleagues at work, and more likely to land that promotion or job offer too.

And about that reference to investment back there? Well, an investment is when the value that you put into something will generate more value in return. And a good suit will do exactly that for its owner. A cheap suit will end up sitting in the wardrobe almost the entire time. You’ll wear it probably once or twice a year, with little to no return on your investment. As a result, it’ll never result to anything more than just a costume… an expensive costume with no value to you, the owner…

Where To Find A Good Tailor That Doesn’t Break The Bank?

There are many tailors out there, with varying degrees of competency, not to mention price points. But finding one with with skills and experience, and yet doesn’t break your bank will indeed be a challenge. A good rule of thumb is to shop around, and get to know them, before putting money down to have one made. Do not discount relatively unknown tailors, with no fancy retail front in an upmarket mall. More often than not, your final purchase price will also factor in the retail front rental as well.

One such classic men’s wear tailor is Gent’s Props. They’re based in Malacca City, and serve customers by appointment only. At the time of writing, they service customers across the whole Peninsular Malaysia. They also have plans to expand to cover a wider geographical area in the future too. You can also check out their Facebook and Instagram pages for more information. Alternatively, you can also call +6012 280 0182 for any enquiries.

Gent’s Props located at No. 12A-2, directly upstairs of M Concept Hair Salon as shown in the map above.

Bonus Information

Every classic men’s wear tailor who’s worth their salt will know how to make a suit. But the question is – how many of them are also well versed in the knowledge of classic men’s wear? A tell-tale sign is by looking at what the tailors themselves are wearing. Do they proudly wear classic men’s wear themselves? More often that not, they don’t… It’s just like dining in a pizza restaurant where the chef or owner themselves don’t even like to eat pizzas… It speaks volumes of the quality of the pizza served there, right?

Three quarter body portrait of Sky Ng, wearing a double breasted suit, navy blue with faint window pane weave pattern.
Sky Ng, wearing one of his self-tailored, double breasted suit, in navy blue with faint window panes weave pattern.
Image from Gent’s Props

Sky Ng, the owner of Gent’s Props, is always impeccably dressed. He’s almost always seen wearing business suits, blazers, or at the very least, sport jackets that he tailored himself. So if you really want to know the quality of his work, just take a look at what he’s wearing.

Do you have a suit, or are planning on getting one?
15 votes

About CHOW Wei Ming

Brand consultant, photographer, creative director, storyteller, and a true believer of the power of visual communications. Outwardly expresses a friendly disposition, but hides a perfectionist nature deep inside him.

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