If you have just begun your transition from female to male then there are going to be some things you aren't familiar with. The alpha male head nod, the art of the handshake and most importantly, how to pick out a suit. Wither you are a transman or cisgender every guy comes to cross this bridge eventually and has to learn how to pick out a suit. If you just walk in nervously and grab the nearest suit off the rack you may end up with something that makes you look like a loosely packed bag of groceries. No, you are going to want to take your time and follow some specific steps in order to get the perfect suit for you. Here are some suggested steps that you may find valuable when picking out a killer suit. But first, you will need a flexible tape measure, a good fitting pair of pants and a shirt and tie. Of course if you can afford it a tailoring service is also optional.
- Measure your upper body with a tape measure. Your chest is measured around the fullest part and your sleeve length is measured from the back of your neck under the collar, over your shoulder, down your arm to one inch below your wrist. Measure your neck loosely around the thickest part and round up to the nearest one-half inch.
- Measure your lower body with the tape measure. Your waist is located at the spot between your ribs and your hips, where your body naturally bends. Find your inseam by measuring that good fitting pair of pants from the top of the inner pant leg seem to the bottom of the pant leg. Tip: Although the pant length can vary according to style, traditionally the trouser leg should fall to the heel of your shoe and the front to the third lace of your shoe.
- Pick the suit cut that flatters your body type. The wider American cut for larger builds, the longer and narrower British cut for average, athletic or tall builds; or the closely fit European cut for slim builds. Tip: Avoid double breasted jackets if you are heavy set, short or need versatility.
- Choose the fabric of your suit. Wool is the most common and versatile suit fabric but linen, twill and cotton might work better in hotter climates. If you suit must serve many purposes then choose darker colors and subtle patterns. Otherwise try the colors and patterns that express your personality. Tip: Do your best to avoid the "Herb Tarlek" Look at all possible costs. i.e. avoid dressing like a salesman.
- Try on suits starting with the size that equals your chest or waist measurement plus six. The jacket collar should lay flat on your back and the jacket sleeve should start at the shoulder and extend to your wrist. Your pants should sit snugly on your waste and cover your socks when you stand. If your suit does not fit off the rack, fit your shoulders and torso first, then have a tailor alter the pieces to fit. Tip: Many men's clothing stores offer a free tailoring with a suit purchase.
- Choose accessories too complete and complement your look. ie shirt, tie and socks. Shirt sizes are indicated by your neck size and sleeve length if long sleeved. Tip: If you have a narrow waist, look for trim or tailored fit dress shirts.
- Put all the pieces together! Jacket, trousers, shirt, socks and tie!
Now you are ready for a multitude of social occasions from a wedding to a job interview. So go out there and knock them dead kid! Tip: Did you know that the formal male suit consisting of a jacket, vest and breaches dates back to the reign of Lois the Fourteenth in the late 1600's.