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Suit up and look sharp

The right shoulder fit and length of the sleeve are a few things to take note of when picking an off-the-rack suit that is affordable yet dapper

While made-to-measure and bespoke suits are unique and more likely to fit perfectly, they are also heavier on the pocket and can take weeks to make.

A good off-the-rack suit, with perhaps a little tailoring thrown in, can be just as flattering and much easier to get one's hands on. Plus, dapper options can be found at high-street labels.

British fashion retailer Topman recently launched a 10-piece suit collection with London-based designer Charlie Casely-Hayford, bringing his bespoke tailoring style to the masses.

Labels such as Zara and H&M also offer sharp and classic choices that are kinder on the wallet.

All one needs to do is look for the right fit. Here are some things to look out for:

SHOULDERS

The right shoulder fit is the most important thing as this is one part of the suit that the tailor will not be able to change.

The shoulder pads should not protrude beyond one's shoulders, and the shoulder seam should be the same length as the bone under it.

SLEEVE

The sleeve length should allow about half an inch (1.25cm) of the shirt cuff to show.

HEM

When the arms are relaxed and hanging straight down, the hem of the jacket should reach the middle of your palms.

PANTS LENGTH

The hem of the trousers should rest lightly on top of the shoe, such that a slight crease is formed at the front above the ankle. There should not be a bunching of fabric above the ankle.

ADD SUBTLE DETAILS

Little additions, such as a pocket square in a different print or a lapel pin in a contrasting colour, can add charming touches to the outfit and help to spruce it up.

Here are some outfit suggestions.


(Clockwise from top left) 1. Gingham suit blazer, $179, from Zara; 2. Super non-iron long-sleeved shirt, $49.90, from Uniqlo; 3. Marled suit trousers, $49.90, from H&M and 4. Splice Cufflinks dark green cotton pocket square, $18, from Zalora.

GO FOR PRINTS

Those who are a little more daring can try on this bright blue checkered blazer to stand out from the crowd. A striped green pocket square adds a subtle contrast to the outfit.

1. Gingham suit blazer, $179, from Zara

2. Super non-iron long-sleeved shirt, $49.90, from Uniqlo

3. Marled suit trousers, $49.90, from H&M

4. Splice Cufflinks dark green cotton pocket square, $18, from Zalora


(Clockwise from top left) 1. Slim-fit linen blazer, $199, from Mango; 2. Denim shirt, $39.90, from H&M; 3. Slim-fit textured chinos, $49.90, from Mango and 4. Pink Daisy lapel pin, $19.90, from Benjamin Barker.

RESORT FEEL

Heading for a sophisticated yet laidback event on the beach or a garden soiree? Dress up in this casual yet classic combination of linen and denim.

1. Slim-fit linen blazer, $199, from Mango

2. Denim shirt, $39.90, from H&M

3. Slim-fit textured chinos, $49.90, from Mango

4. Pink Daisy lapel pin, $19.90, from Benjamin Barker


(Clockwise from top left) 1. Charlie Casely-Hayford X Topman blue twill waistcoat, $129, from Topman; 2. Pure cotton Oxford shirt with pocket, $69.90, from Marks & Spencer; 3. Selected Homme dark pink trousers, $139, from Topman and 4. Speckled bow tie, $35.90, from Zara. PHOTOS: BENJAMIN BARKER, H&M, MANGO, MARKS & SPENCER, TOPMAN, UNIQLO, ZALORA, ZARA

VESTED INTEREST

Even without a jacket, you can still look dapper with this navy blue vest. The fitted piece will keep any man looking sharp and well put together.

1. Charlie Casely-Hayford X Topman blue twill waistcoat, $129, from Topman

2. Pure cotton Oxford shirt with pocket, $69.90, from Marks & Spencer

3. Selected Homme dark pink trousers, $139, from Topman

4. Speckled bow tie, $35.90, from Zara

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Suit up and look sharp'. Print Edition | Subscribe