Beckett & Robb founder Derek Bleazard said he understands dressing in suits outside of church-related settings can feel stiff and formal for many BYU men, but said they can find confidence with a suit that is the right style and fit.
Beckett & Robb is a company specializing in tailored and custom European suits. Bleazard has had experience helping men find the right suit, which he said is the key to confidence and maturity.
“When a suit fits well, it’s the most flattering thing a man can wear, and not just because of the aesthetic effect the suit has on his physique,” Bleazard said. “Wearing a great suit sends a message to yourself and to others of confidence, respect and maturity.”
Suits are typically seen as professional wear and can help mentally prepare some men to make a great first impression. Brandon Vance, a BYU computer science student, said dressing up in a suit for interviews or other intimidating situations can be just the thing he needs to boost his confidence and attitude.
“I feel good when wearing (a suit),” Vance said. “I don’t wear them all the time, but when I do, I feel stylish. When I think of wearing suits, I’m generally at church or at a wedding . . . I’m still myself, but it does honestly give me a little more confidence.”
For other men, wearing a suit can help keep them focused. English student Forrest Markham said he enjoys dressing up and wearing suits because of the mindset it gives him.
“I feel like I have more of a mission, more empowered when I’m wearing (a suit) and walking around campus,” Markham said. “I would say I’m more confident. I think it makes me feel more intellectual when I’m wearing a nice jacket instead of a hoodie.”
Style and fit
Not all suits are alike. Bleazard said there are certain things to look for when buying a suit, with one clear aspect being the most important.
“Fit is the most important thing to get right,” Bleazard said. “The quality of the cloth and the make are very important as well, but even a well-made suit won’t hide a bad fit.”
Many men enjoy being able to show their personality and style through their clothes, and the same applies to suits, according to Vance. He said certain fits and colors are what is most important to him when he goes shopping.
“For me, personally, I like slim-fitting suits,” Vance said. “Something that’s not too baggy, and that’s going to compliment my skin and hair. I have red hair, so for me it’s dark blues, a slight shine and a nice slim fit.”
Suit styles have changed throughout history, but Bleazard said a truly classic suit won’t go out of style.
“In past years, men have worn their suits overly large,” Bleazard said. “The last several years’ trend has seen an over-correction of this, with suits that are too tight and short . . . A well-fitting suit doesn’t follow trend or fashion. It is neither too large nor too slim, it simply has the right proportions relative to the wearer’s body, and he’ll feel comfortable and confident each time he wears it.”
The price of a well-tailored suit can be an obstacle for college-aged men, but there are many budget-friendly options for a man looking for a good quality suit. Markham said his favorite places are Burlington and JCPenney, where he has had good luck finding quality pieces before.
Markham also said it’s easy to tell when a suit isn’t high quality, and that’s something he wants to avoid. He said the feel and look of the fabric can make it easy to tell a cheap suit from a nicer one, so he tends to avoid shiny fabrics.
Investing in a truly tailored suit can change a man’s perspective on what a suit is, Vance said. He said he had the opportunity of getting a custom-made suit on his mission, and it quickly became his favorite thing to wear.
“It’s rare that you find (a suit) that fits you perfectly just off the rack because everyone’s different,” Vance said. “Regardless of the occasion, it’s generally worth it to get it tailored.”
If students want to invest in a custom suit, Bleazard said they still have to know what to look for in order to make sure they get the best quality.
“In theory, a custom suit should fit better, but only as long as it’s made well and the fitting was done properly,” Bleazard said. “It’s easy to get custom wrong, and there are lots of examples out there of ‘custom’ suits that not only fit poorly, but they’ll only last months or a year before things go downhill, akin to the disposable suits from bargain brands.”
Bleazard said even though having a ready-to-wear suit tailored can be a good option, there are still some drawbacks.
“Ready-to-wear suits, if they’re made well and with some additional tailoring, can work well for some guys whose body types don’t pose too many challenges,” Bleazard said. “But the compromise is the lack of options from something pre-made. The perfect suit combination is, of course, an affordable suit made for the individual and to high-quality standards.”
College students on tight budgets have several options when looking for a suit that will elevate confidence, look good and be comfortable. The most important thing is the end result, Bleazard said. He said he believes aiming for quality over quantity is the best way to go, and owning several ill-fitting suits isn’t as good as owning one great one.
“A great suit will make you feel your best every time you wear it, even if it’s the only one you own,” Bleazard said. “The right suit makes you feel like the best version of yourself, and the certainty and poise it helps instill is evident to yourself and others.”