Men’s Suit Buying Guide

Consider your budget:

How much are you willing to spend for your first suit? Be reasonable, and don’t go too low. It is recommended to have at least $150 budgeted for buying a suit. If you are willing to spend up to $300 you will have a very wide selection of quality fabrics, fashionable designs, and a custom fitting available to you.

The right fabric:

Knowing about different type of fabrics is the first and most important step when buying a suit. Even if you are on a tight budget, try finding a suit that is made mostly of wool. Ideally suits should be made from 100% wool. Cheaper man-made fabrics such as polyester, microfiber, or Teflon should be avoided. Those fabrics do not breathe, and will be quite uncomfortable to wear – especially on warmer days. Linen suits should also be avoided for your first suit. Typically linen suits are made in lighter colors. They appear less formal, and are on top of it about 4 times more expensive to dry-clean than a wool suit.

Now, looking at different wool suits, you might notice numbers like “super 100s”, “super 120s”, “super 160s”, and so on. What does this number stand for? You might notice that the higher the number, the more expensive the suit usually is. The number simply rates how fine the wool is. When sheep are sheared, the wool of each sheep gets examined and rated. What matters here is the thickness of one individual fiber. The finer the wool is, the higher the rating. The highest rating you will find is most likely super 200s wool. Most recommended are super 100s and super 120s. The higher numbers are less suited for a daily business suit as they wrinkle much easier, and are less durable.

Choose the right style:

There are many different styles of suits available to you. Don’t panic about all the endless options. If you are buying your fist suit, or are looking for a classic business suit, then the suit jacket should be:

  1. Dark blue, or charcoal gray in color (the latter one is preferred here)
  2. Be Solid Color (no pin-stripes, checks, or plaids)
  3. Be Single-Breasted (the jacket simply buttons, and does not overlap to the other side)
  4. Have a Two or Three-button jacket

If you keep the above in mind, you will be on the right track. You already narrowed down your selection to couple of different suits. When buying suits, you usually pick the jacket separately from the pants. As far as jackets are concerned find the cut that is best suited for your body type:

  1. Average body type: Pick the so-called “American Cut”. It is a classic cut that is typically the best choice for your first suit.
  2. Full-figured men: The so-called “Full Cut” might be the best choice here. The “Full Cut” is not tapered at the waist and hangs straight down. It is perfect for men with a wider waistline.
  3. Fit & Athletic men: The “European Cut” might be the best choice here. This type of cut is more tapered at the waist and will compliment you if you are in good shape. Before buying this type of suit make certain that you are keeping your weight, and stay in shape.

The right fit:

Make sure that the suit fits right on your shoulders. Put on the jacket and reach out with both arms to the front. The fabric on your back should be tight, but shouldn’t limit your movement too much. Secondly, make sure that the sleeves have the right length. To find the perfect length, put on the jacket, and stand straight. Let your arms hang down. The sleeves of your suit should end where your hand meets your wrist. Finally make sure that the collar fits properly. About a ½ inch of your dress shirt should show, and there mustn’t be any wrinkles near your collar of the jacket when wearing it.

Finding the right pants is much easier. The most important thing is the right match to your jacket. The colors and fabric type should be an identical match. Also important is the right fit on your waist. When buying a new suit, pants will always be tailored to fit to the right length. Once tailored, the pants must never drag on the floor near your heels. Ideally you socks are covered completely, and the pants should rest slightly on your shoes when standing up straight.

Shirt and Ties:

Shirt and ties are essential accessories for the suit. If you are new to wearing suit and tie, make sure to have at least 4 or 5 dress shirts available. The best colors are white and light blue. For beginners, and men with limited budget, solid color shirts are best. If you are looking to have a new look everyday, the easiest and most cost effective way of doing this, is by changing your neckties. Fine silk ties can cost less than $40 and will give your attire a fresh new look every time. With this in mind, it is recommended to have at least 5 different ties in your wardrobe.

Quick Guide to Choosing a New Pair of Sneakers

Sneakers are probably the most important items in a sports wardrobe. Although it may sound like a fun idea, you cannot jog in the same shoes you go to the office.

That is why it’s important to have at least one pair of sneakers handy for when to go out. Whether you plan on going to the woods with friend or family, or simply you go to the local shop to buy something for the house, they are your first choice since they are light and very easy to put on.

If you decide to look for sneakers online, you have a huge load of modes to choose from. You are now facing a small problem…

How to choose a pair that will suit you just perfectly?

That’s a simple task. Look for models that you really believe would look good on you. Once you have several pairs that you like, take a closer look at each of them. See if they are of quality, what material are they made of, the way the sole is glued.

Will they endure the kind of stress you are planning to make them have? If not, take them off the list. There’s no point in buying a pair of sneakers that will break after two weeks of use.

So, quality is the most important factor. Usually, a higher price is a good indicator that you are dealing with quality shoes. Still, take a closer look and make sure about that yourself.

Next, consider if they will fit with the other clothes in your wardrobe. Usually, sneakers go well with most jeans and other casual pants.

However, if you think you can wear sneakers with your business-meeting suit, stop doing that! Drop it off your mind! There is no way you can wear sneakers with official clothes. Unless you deliberately want to shock people.

Once you’ve taken care of the above steps, all you need to do now is to know the best size. For that, it’s best to go to a local shop, try a couple of sneakers, and see what your real foot size is.

You can also look at your current shoes, but if you feel a bit discomfort, it’s OK to get a bigger size. Also, note that the sneakers you already own have passed trough the stretching phase, so their size might be a bit different.

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to get yourself a good pair of sneakers. Go for it!

Single Girl’s Guide to Makeover Magic

Let’s face it, girlfriends. Thanks to cable TV, we’re now addicted to endless episodes of makeover shows where each “Plain Jane,” with her closet-from-hell, learns to choose the right clothes, makeup, and hair style, then right before our eyes, transforms into a real beauty! And, ever notice how looking great makes her feel empowered? And, all in less than an hour! Amazing!

But, what if this new self-confident charmer is one of the millions of your single sisters on the hunt for Prince Charming, who happens to be on the hunt for his Princess Charming? Well, in that case, this might be the perfect time to check in with your mirror, mirror on the wall to see how you fair with all this growing competition.

You know, Cinderella had this so easy. With the wave of a wand, and a bit of “bibbity bobbity boo,” her fairy godmother morphed her from rags to riches, then sent her off to the Ball looking like the Princess she was about to become, and the rest is history!

In the real world, this all gets a bit more complicated. For starters, chances are your prince will first see you dressed for the mall, not the Ball. Plus, your chances of being the next TV makeover are pretty slim. You could hire a fashion savvy godmother, AKA a fashion consultant, but if a fee of $200 + is not in your budget, what’s a girl like you to do when the whole point is to leave a first impression that leaves a potential prince wanting more?

Well, a girl like you will take charge of her life. Presenting the I’ll Do It MYSELF Makeover!

You start with your face. Of course, if you’re thinking, “How ’bout I start with something else,” remember Cindy Crawford’s immortal words: “Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford.” So, again, your face is your focus, specifically the colors of your face. I promise you, when you learn how to use the power of color to compliment your eyes, skin, and natural hair color, just like on the makeover shows, magic will happen! Those eyes will sparkle and your complexion will glow. And, glowing is definitely a plus for first impressions, especially when your prince will remember forever the first time he saw your face.

On the other hand, glowing is practically impossible when you wear colors that clash with your own. For example, if you have watercolor eyes, translucent skin, and hair the color of soft wheat, imagine the catastrophe of deep bronze makeup, double black eyeliner, and a dayglow dress with dark chunky jewelry. Right! Not good! The strong colors overpower your own, and POOF! you disappear. Wearing colors paler than your own washes out your natural glow so you look tired and older than you are. Again, not good. To go for the glow, here are the “must knows” that make it happen!

UNDERSTANDING BASIC COLOR ANALYSIS

Many fashion consultants rely on the Munsell Color System to accurately determine a client’s color palette. This scientific system is based on three components: HUE, VALUE, and CHROMA:

HUE is simply the color’s name.

Simple Hues: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple.

Compound hues: Yellow-Red, Green-Yellow, Blue-Green, Purple-Blue and Red-Purple.

VALUE: How light or dark a color is.

The more white in a color, the higher the value. True black has the lowest value, true white has the highest.

CHROMA: The clarity or strength of the color.

Muted, grayed colors have low chroma; clear, vibrant, bright colors have high chroma.

HOW TO DETERMINE MAKEUP COLORS

FOUNDATION: Match to the skin tone at the outer corner of your eyes. Blend the makeup on your face and neck, and then match to your skin tone in both indoor lighting and sunlight. Hint: To ensure you choose the correct foundation color, take a friend along for a second opinion.

EYE MAKEUP: Use your lash and brow color for everyday mascara, eye liner and brow pencil. For a more dramatic effect, increase the makeup’s color value. Choose eye shadow in your eye or brow color. Hint: Your eyes contain a rainbow of complimentary colors. Use a magnifying mirror to see the full spectrum.

LIPSTICK and BLUSH: Match to your cheeks and lips. Gently pinch both cheeks and lips, noting if the color goes pink, red, or orange.

With a bit of practice, your makeup routine will take you from ordinary to glowing in five minutes or less.

HOW TO DETERMINE WARDROBE COLORS

If you’ve spent a lifetime believing you can’t wear certain colors, then understanding Hue, Value, and Chroma opens up a whole new world. Just imagine! Red is not just one color, but a full range of options from yellow-red to purple-red, from pastel pink to deepest burgundy, all from which you choose the reds that compliment you.

REDS: Your cheek and lip colors

GREENS / BLUES: For green or blue eyes, use your eye color. For brown or black eyes, use green or blue in your eye “rainbow,” or use a color wheel to match your eye color to complimentary greens or blues. http://www.realcolorwheel.com/colorwheel.htm

YELLOWS: Trickiest of all colors to determine. Usually Summers and Springs wear soft yellow; Falls wear golden yellow; Winters wear intense, bright yellow.

NEUTRALS: Current or former (if your hair is colored or grayed) natural hair color, and eyes if primarily brown or black. Use neutrals for suits, coats, skirts, pants, jackets, shoes and purses.

BASIC STYLE DESCRIPTIONS

Color analysts often use the four seasons to harmonize skin, eye and hair color with the complimentary fashion style. To define each season’s style, I’ve grouped celebrities by their season, based on promotional photographs. Note: About 50% of us also have a secondary season. If a celebrity’s photo exhibits a secondary, it is noted in parenthesis.

SUMMER: Look of Yesterday

COMPLEXION: Clear, cool, delicate

HAIR COLOR: Ash blonde, light to medium cool red or brown; matures to salt and pepper, cool or icy white

EYE COLOR: Iris -Soft green, blue, hazel, amber or cool brown; Sclera (white surrounding the iris) – Gray or white

COLORS: Minimal to moderate intensity, soft, grayed, translucent, water color tones

NEUTRALS: Cool tones of tan, beige, soft white, cool gray

FASHION STYLE: Soft, subtle, elegant, delicate, serene, nostalgic, blended tone on tone, minimal contrast

JEWELRY: Silver, white gold, crystals

BRIDAL GOWN: Cool white, silver

AVOID: High contrast, dark colors, warm/earth tones, gold and copper accessories.

Celebs: Jane Seymore, Charlize Theron (Spring secondary), Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Grace Kelly, Sarah Jessica Parker (Spring secondary), Scarlett Johansson (Spring secondary), Mia Farrow, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Queen Elizabeth, Diane Sawyer, Celine Dion (Fall secondary)

FALL: Look of Nature

COMPLEXION: Warm tones of olive or gold, may have freckles or appear mottled

HAIR COLOR: Warm gold, brown, red, chestnut, auburn; matures to warm white, salt and pepper

EYE COLOR: Iris – Warm gold, green, hazel, amber, brown; Sclera – Warm off-white

COLORS: Warm, golden colors; Falls are not limited to earth tones

NEUTRALS: Warm browns, tans, dark greens, khaki, dark rust

FASHION STYLE: Earthy, warm, fiery, golden, exotic, layered, sensual

JEWELRY: Gold, copper, tortoise shell, semi-precious stones, feathers, wood, shells

BRIDAL GOWN: Warm off-white, beige, champagne

AVOID: Black, black with white, pastels, clear chroma

CELEBS: Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Cindy Crawford (winter secondary), Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts (Summer secondary), Halle Berry, Salma Hayek, Julianne Moore, Sophia Loren, Annette Bening (Summer secondary), Queen Latifah (Spring secondary), Barbra Streisand (Summer secondary), Penelope Cruz (Winter secondary).

WINTER: Look of Sophistication

COMPLEXION: Pearlized, clear, cool, translucent

HAIR COLOR: Black, ebony, dark cool brown; matures to silvery or icy white

Note: Lightening or highlighting hair diminishes the POWER of Winter’s contrast.

EYE COLOR: Iris – Black or very dark, Sclera – Pure white = High Contrast

COLORS: Icy, high intensity, bright, jewel tones, clear and cool

Note: Only Winters wear black, or black and white as colors.

NEUTRALS: Black, cool gray, pure white.

JEWELRY: Silver, white gold, gem stones, rhinestones.

FASHION STYLE: Sophisticated, sleek, high contrast, dramatic, expensive, powerful, uncluttered, modern, angled, vivid

BRIDAL GOWN: Icy white

AVOID: Earth tones, pastels, fluff!!

Celebs: Snow White, Catherine Zeta Jones (Fall secondary), Elizabeth Taylor (Summer secondary), Lisa Minelli, Marlo Thomas, Eva Longoria, Lucy Liu, Elizabeth Hurley, Judith Dench (Spring secondary), Juliette Binoche (Fall secondary), Anjelica Huston, Isabella Rosselini (Summer secondary)

SPRING: Look of Today

COMPLEXION: Clear, moderately warm to moderately cool

HAIR COLOR: Golden, strawberry or ash blonde, auburn, red, light to dark warm brown; matures to salt and pepper, warm gray or white.

EYE COLOR: Iris – Green, blue, hazel, brown, amber; Sclera – Cream to white field

COLORS: Clear, warm, bright

NEUTRALS: Warm whites, beiges, tans, brown, navy, soft black

FASHION STYLE: Crisp, modern, bright, sunny, curvy, energetic, youthful

JEWELRY: Gold, silver, semi-precious stones, plastic

BRIDAL GOWN: Off-white

AVOID: Muted or high intensity colors

Celebs: Reese Witherspoon, Rene Zellweger (Summer secondary), Cameron Diaz, Rachel Ray (Fall secondary), Jennifer Aniston, Reba McEntire (Fall secondary), Ellen DeGeneres, Jada Pinkett Smith (Fall secondary), Meg Ryan, Katie Holmes (Winter secondary), Kirsten Dunst (Summer secondary), Dakota Fanning (Summer secondary), Debra Messing (Fall secondary), Diane Keaton (Summer secondary).

These descriptions only touch the surface of how color transforms your self image and creates unforgettable first impressions! The services of a professional consultant, preferably one trained in the Munsell System, are invaluable for assessing your color palette, complimentary prints, accessories, makeup, body proportion, and fashion and hair style. Fees can range from $200 to $1000+, but, considering the money you’ve wasted buying makeup that just never worked, and clothes still hanging with their price tags in the back of your closet as you cry “I have nothing to wear!”, a professional analysis is a bargain. In the meantime, here’s a list of shopping hints to get your transformation started!

SHOPPING HINTS:

* To build a coordinated, workable wardrobe, determine your basic needs based on your lifestyle, such as professional, casual, evening, hobbies and athletic clothing. For each area, purchase a core outfit, such as a professional suit, a cocktail dress, slacks and complimentary jacket, plus a few blouses, sweaters, and accessories.

* You don’t need a king’s ransom to look like a million! Even drug stores carry quality makeup. Shop end of season sales, and consignment and thrift stores for quality clothes and accessories. Many a Princess does!

* Collect fabric swatches by asking a fabric store or seamstress to save you scraps. Also, don’t forget your closet! If you own colors in your palette, just snip a swatch from inside the hem. Keep your swatches in an envelope to bring when you shop.

* When shopping, first match the item to your colors. Next, double check in a mirror. Hold the item by your face, then ask the $64,000 question: “Does this color compliment or clash with my natural coloring?” If “yes,” try it on to check that the fit flatters your body. If color and fit are both “yes,” buy it. If color and fit are “no,” no matter how much you love it, pass. Remember, you glow when the colors that you wear compliment the colors that you are.

* To spice up any outfit, think accessories. Before you run out to the mall in those great fitting jeans, add sunglasses and earrings, or throw a beautiful scarf around the collar of your coat. You will radiate “I care how I look, and I look and feel great”! Not a bad first vibe, especially for an unsuspecting prince watching extraordinary you emerge from an ordinary crowd of shoppers.

* Gather your “other seasons” sisters for a wardrobe “swap meet.” Some of my favorite clothes, scarves, and jewelry have come from just such an event!

One final fashion accessory that promises to get you glowing every moment of every day: Believe you are the Princess worthy of the Prince you dream of. Then, dress to prove it.