MOST magazines will extol the virtues of knowing a good tailor and taking a trip to Savile Row and a second mortgage for some bespoke fabric.

Undoubtedly, that will get results but most of us are happy on the High Street. We asked Intu Bromley’s personal stylist Angie Poplett for some advice on buying a suit off the peg.

Identify your body shape

This is the first rule of buying a suit, according to Angie.

Slim fitting suits may be all the rage, but forget it if you got a bit of a tummy.

Angie said: “If it doesn’t work for you, there’s no point.”

If you are tall and lean then go for a slim fit. Don’t worry too much if it comes up a little short.

According to Angie, it’s fine these days to show the top of the show and a little bit of sock.

Trousers should have a slim leg too.

“If you are a little bit fuller figured, you want the cut to be more of a classic cut but don’t go to baggy because you’ll make yourself look bigger than you are,” said Angie.

Don’t go for double breasted for the same reason.

You need your trousers to come up looser on the bottom and thighs.

Most off-the-peg suits fit well together, so you can choose one style.


“People tend to go very dark but if you are quite pale, do not go very dark otherwise the suit will end up wearing you rather than you wearing the suit.

“You should be the focal point.”

Pale skinned people can experiment with taupe, soft browns, pale browns or even grey.

Paler suits should be worn with lighter shirts while a dark suit can be teamed with something more colourful and bold.


When you are stood upright with your arms by your side, the sleeves of your jacket should sit between the wrist bone and the knuckle of the thumb.

That means it won’t be half way up your arm when you bend it.

The other big area you want to keep an eye on is the torso – particularly the under arm and around the chest. You need it to be fitted but not too tight, otherwise you’ll split the jacket.

A good fit is when there’s a slight crease on the back of your torso, just to give you a bit of room.


If you’re wearing a fitted suit, you should wear a fitted shirt. There should be room to fit one or two fingers in your collar. Shirt sleeves should be just longer than jacket sleeves.

Like the shirt you should be able to fit two fingers in the back at the waist.

Some stores sell trousers by leg length while others like TM Lewin sell an unfinished leg which they can then pin and take up personally. Keep an eye out for deals too, Angie said, because places like TM Lewin often have sales on.


Wear dark shoes with a dark suit. Grey or navy suits can be teamed with tan while charcoal suites can be worn with either black or brown shoes.

Make sure your belt matches your shoes.

If you think you can benefit from an expert eye, Juliet Wyatt is Intu Bromley’s stylist and her services are free to use and she’s paid by the centre so she won’t push you to buy something that doesn’t suit you. Get in touch with on 07795668437.