Though there aren’t as many formal suit types as there are dresses for women, there are very important fashion distinctions that cause a formal suit to lean more business versus more gala. Once you figure out the formality of the event, it’s time to take in the two main factors that determine a suit’s dressiness. The first is the lapels. Thin lapels are formal while the thicker ones are executive. The second, pockets, are where the style flairs really shine. Jetted or flapped are standard for any formal look. Rounded pockets, also known as patch, are less formal. Peaked are rarely acceptable but notched are considered a classic.
For any suit, there are three colors you can choose from regardless of any prints added. Gray is a universally liked color that’s not too formal but not too relaxed. Blue is a bit more serious but certainly not formal. Black is as classy as it comes.
Much like women, the best suits are tailored. Depending on the store, you may be fitted there. If you’re not, head to a local seamstress and have it done. Just remember that material can always be subtracted but it can never be added, so buy loose rather than tight.
Accept that a great suit, one that will last you the better part of a lifetime, will cost money. You might luck out and find a solid choice in a discount store but when it comes to clothes, money often matters a lot more than you might think.