Mr Shan Menswear: How to Wear a Suit


This week, Mr. Shan deliberates on the importance of a fitting suit and how to achieve it.

The modern suit is to the working man what a set of armor is to the medieval knight: a sign of status and a necessity for survival. Whilst the consequence of donning an ill fitting suit might not be as dire as that of wearing badly fitted armour, a fitting suit is vital nonetheless for it amplifies the wearer’s confidence and acts as a mental shield for the urban man, striving in the office for his share of daily bread. A well fitted suit accentuates one’s body form and gives confidence to the wearer.


The blazer, when buttoned, should hug closely around your torso. You feel a little more restrained whilst standing straight but it shouldn’t be too tight as to restrict physical movement. The ends of the shoulder paddings should align with the curves of the shoulder blades, thus covering them but not draping off them. The sleeves should be wide enough to allow the movement of your arm under your shirt sleeve, but not too wide as to form extra flab under the arms. The sleeves should end around half an inch above the shirt cuff so you could show off your cuff links as well as make your arms look slimmer and longer. A suit jacket should end just above your hips while a blazer should follow a shorter cut (so-called cropped jacket) and end a little below your waist. This helps to make your legs seem longer. A hint for buying a more blazer: ask for one size smaller than what you usually go for and ask for slim cut.


The shirt follows similar rules as the blazer, though a shirt that’s too wide around the torso looks far worse than a suit with the same issue. Gathering layers of shirt fabric above your trousers make you look somewhat like a middle age salesman going through mid-life crisis. Certainly it doesn’t help if you are already developing receding hairline by this stage. Therefore, always ask for a slim-fit or skinny fit shirt and look for fabrics which hug closer to your skin (some, like linen, already looks loose and would therefore need to be even more fitted). A possible problem when looking for a shirt one-size-down is that your neck length and arm and torso width might not all fit the same size: a shirt could wrap perfectly around the body and yet becomes a lethal weapon of suffocation when attempting to button up the top. In this situation look somewhere else, as the size measurements and fitting varies with each shop, so a size 14 slim fit Thomas Pink means something different to a shirt with the same size/fit from T.M.Lewin. The shirt cuff should reach the end of the wrist, and the length could vary a little depending whether a watch is worn and the size of the watch. Some have braved the look of wearing a wristwatch over their shirt cuffs before, with Gianni Agnelli being the best exemplar of this look. However, unless you are an excessive Italian, a multi-billionaire and the chairman of Fiat, I suggest you stay away from that trend.


Trousers should begin at the waist. Do the world a favour and don’t wear them around your butt. The cut should be slim instead of straight-leg, as the latter becomes to wide at the chins, where the legs become significantly slimmer. The trousers should just touch the bottom of your shoes whilst not gathering in a pile over them.


How does a fitting suit look? Sharp, slim, minimalist. If you are investing in buying a suit, you might as well go the extra few steps to find one which truly fits. If you already own ill fitting suits, fear not. I introduce you to your new future best friend: Mr. Tailor. A few pounds is a worthy price to pay for elegance, confidence and success.


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