"You should have gone to law school."
Those were the wise, if condescending, words of our parental units upon seeing our paycheck from this gig. And though we're hesitant to listen to anyone who thinks microwaveable popcorn is an acceptable housewarming present, in this case, they may have been right.
All it took was one viewing of "Shark" and everything made sense: Perry Mason was a snappy dresser, Arnie Becker of "L.A. Law" was a snappy dresser, Ally McBeal was a snappy dresser, and so, too, is Sebastian Stark of "Shark." Law school, for all its prestige and annoying studying, seems to give graduates an innate sense of style and the ability to pay for it.
As a high-profile and charismatic defense attorney-turned-prosecutor, Stark, played by award-winning actor James Woods, certainly has the deep pockets necessary to fill his closets with suits by Prada, Armani and Brioni. But just knowing labels doesn't guarantee a guy much more than a nod from the salesgirl. What should you look for in a suit when shelling out your hard-earned money?
First, know why you are buying the suit. Is it for the office, nights out on the town, special events like weddings or the closing argument in a case where a shady accountant murdered his client to cover up his embezzling? Once you've figured that out, head to a major department store or men's store for a wide selection.
Do you prefer two-button jackets or three-button jackets? The two-button is a classic choice, but three-button, with rolled lapels - meaning you just button the center button - are the garb du jour.
And lapels say as much about the wearer as any accessory. Notched is traditional, though peak is making a stylish comeback on single-breasted suits. Double-breasted suits are currently reserved for Adolphe Menjou impersonators. Vents are also a personal choice, with options being single vent (traditionally an American style), double vent (European) and no vent (which, from behind, makes the wearer look like a tube of pinstriped toothpaste).
Now that you've chosen a few suits that seem to catch your fancy, the real work begins.
Consider the fit. The better job you do of picking the right size now, the better chance you have of getting a tailor to make it fit you like a glove. And yes, you always need to have them altered - even if it's just for a few minor details. It's shocking how few men really know what size they are. When you've slipped on the jacket, there shouldn't be room to fit more than your fist between your chest and the buttoned jacket. Conversely, it shouldn't be a struggle to button. Next, take a look at the shoulders. Though shoulder pads are common, there shouldn't be any overhang.
Also, jacket lengths tend to vary based on designer styles, but sleeve length should always be tailored to allow precisely one-quarter inch of shirt sleeve showing.
Ladies and gentlemen, we rest our case.