How To Buy A Suit When Your Weight Always Changes

Your yo-yo weight need not get in the way of a damn fine suit.

Suit Sizes

The most important aspect of buying a suit is making sure that it fits. But what’s a guy to do when his weight doesn’t stay the same?

Unless you’re a new-and-improved Australian David Gandy or the office ‘crossfit athlete’, chances are your bodyweight has plans of its own through the year. It happens to the best of us, gents, whether it’s a bit of a belly after Christmas or a new diet that you start (and abandon) every six months. No one’s perfect, remember?

While we’re not dieticians or personal trainers, we know that the last thing you need is a wardrobe full of suits that don’t fit. But if your weight yo-yo’s, don’t stress – we’ve been there before.

The following guide will save you a chunk of change, and the embarrassment of your partner asking if you really, really think your favourite suit from your graduate placement still fits (hot tip: it probably doesn’t).

Enlist The Services Of Good Tailor

There’s a friend in every decent tailor

And we don’t mean one of those generic mall alteration shops to whom a hem adjustment is the extent of their skills. Tailors (the good ones) can do almost anything.

They can loosen tight pants, tuck in a billowing jacket, and perform other magical alterations that conceal blowouts or help you look trim after a period of weight loss.

It doesn’t cost much, and everyone notices the benefits. My tailor has seen me through a succession of big weekends, sporting injuries, and trendy diets. If you strike gold, cling on for dear life. Your fatter self will thank you.

Here are Sydney’s best tailors and Melbourne’s best tailors to get you started.

Expensive Suits Aren’t Necessarily The Best Suits

You can’t hide weight fluctuations with luxury fabrics

We love premium suiting and think most of our should readers too. But if your weight is scattered like a Sunday morning come-down, you should avoid luxury fabrics and settle for something a little more modest.

It’s no secret that luxury cloths – some superfine merino wools, mohair, silk-linen blends – drape beautifully and are soft and breathable. They feel like pyjamas (the good kind) and make you look like a million bucks. But they aren’t built to withstand a flogging. And we hate to say it gents, but you can’t hide weight fluctuations with luxury fabrics. They will rip, split, or tear before they stretch.

Instead, think about more affordable wool-cotton or even (gasp) wool-elastane suits that have a bit more stretch, and can accommodate a few extra grams of weight either way.  If your bodyweight has plans of its own, Brioni or Zegna shouldn’t be on your mind (but a gym membership? Why not).

Measure Your Body Mass Changes

Know your body in order to get the right suit

We’re serious about this one. Knowing the ups and downs of your body gives you a bit of predictive power. You might be one of the lucky few. You know you stack it on in winter or during silly season (despite your meagre efforts to walk to work). Or you might get lean for footy preseason and then spectacularly blow out after finals, I you get that far. Either way, you know when the weight comes on, and when it (hopefully) comes off.

If you’re lucky enough to identify a pattern and read your body, use it to your advantage. Plan your purchases around the changes. It’s not quite clairvoyance, but it’ll help you make informed choices about when to buy a suit, and when to spend or save your money elsewhere.

Don’t Be Overly Optimistic When Purchasing Your Suit

Don’t go super slim or overly big – both will do you no favours

At the end of the day, clothing purchases should be realistic choices. By that, we mean that you shouldn’t buy a suit that’s a bit snug, expecting it to fit down the track when you stop being a fat fuck.

Too often we see guys buy a suit – for an upcoming wedding, the races, an interview – that is tighter than a ballet costume, with a vague promise to go back to the gym or get their nutrition in order. It rarely happens.

We mentioned the lucky few that know how their body adds and sheds the unwanted kilos. But most of us aren’t quite there yet. If it doesn’t fit now, chances are, it never will. Buy what fits at the time and remember what we said about finding a good tailor.

Suit For Changing Weight FAQ

What fabric is elastane?

Also known as Lycra, elastane is an elastic fiber commonly used in intimates, sportswear and swimwear. The combination of natural and synthetic fibers in elastane provides stretch and recovery to the clothing item.

Can you lengthen/shorten suit jacket sleeves?

Yes. Tailors often leave extra fabric in suit jacket sleeves in case of alterations. Unless you have quite a drastic size drop, lengthening the sleeves should not be difficult. Shortening sleeve jackets is also workable too, as long as they do not interfere with button placement.

How much for suit alterations?

Alterations and tailoring services vary depending on the tailor and the quality of their services. For jackets, the price range from $60 to $160 for a simple sleeve or shoulder alteration. For pants, adjusting the hem or wait/seat will cost around $10 to $25.