Consider a dinner suit or tuxedo. But whatever you go for, tailoring is key. The right fit is essential for any kind of dressing, and it’s important to know the distinction between ‘made to measure’ and ‘bespoke’. The former takes a ready-to-wear garment and alters it specifically to fit you, whereas the latter is born solely out of your individual medley of measurements and a flurry of tailor’s chalk on fabric. As well as having a much longer lead time from initial consultation to finished product (you’ll have to go for multiple fittings), bespoke is much more expensive. My recommendation would be to go with made-to-measure unless you have a very good reason (or budget) not to.
Savile Row is the obvious choice for anyone wanting something ‘proper’. Take a walk down it and you’ll find a range of styles, from structural (like Huntsman) and downright architectural (Edward Sexton) to the more drapey and casual (Anderson & Sheppard). Then there are the more modern, international and avant-garde options like Cifonelli and Ozwald Boateng. The Row is always a good place to start.
But there’s also something to be said for Italian tailoring (a personal favourite). Signature characteristics include a high and generous lapel, minimal to no lining, and a barchetta (boat-shaped) chest pocket. All of this is in contrast to the heavily padded, rigid suiting made by Britain’s more martial tailors. The only downside to this softer approach is that it leaves zero margin for error and can make hiding physical imperfections a lot tougher. If you’re prepared to risk it, I’d look to Neapolitan tailoring in particular – especially Rubinacci, Kiton, Isaia and Canali.
After something more budget-friendly? Look no further than Suit Supply, just off Savile Row. All of its collections are very well thought through and work within a unified colour palette so accessorising and customising are easy. The service is fantastic, the staff are knowledgeable and skilled, and it offers a great turnaround time, working with brilliant mills and fabric houses from around the world. If this doesn’t excite you, you could check out one of the enterprising Savile Row-trained tailors who have launched their own smaller boutiques. Just as talented, but without the grandeur (and associated price tag) of the Row, establishments like Montagu Ede are well worth checking out. Wherever you end up, make sure you pick a tailor whose tastes match your own. Each one has their own style – there's no point bothering with one whose aesthetic isn’t for you.