My experience as a wetsuit wearing surfer, working retail in the surf industry for 15+ years, and now owning my own shop has given me a lot of time to think about wetsuits and what makes them great, or not so great. The not so great ones fall apart quickly, which makes for colder sessions and wasted money.
Fit, stretch, warmth, durability are all things you should (and can!) find in a new wetsuit.
The Matuse D’Arc 4/3mm is my new favorite. Oh the buttery softness, the stretch, warmth, and fit are amazing, especially for a $310 price point! Another awesome suit with retro styling, zippers on the legs for easy in and out is the Nineplus Catsuit in 4/3mm. This suit is a little more delicate, than the Matuse, but if you have a slightly higher budget, this suit is worth the $400 for its warmth and styling.
If you run cold, like I do, you'll want to add booties, which also protect your feet against the rocks and make you last longer in the colder water temps. Patagonia 3mm booties are tough and durable, though I have found them to fit one size too small. Vissla 3mm booties are comfy and lower price point. All booties are unisex so make sure you try them on and find the ones that fit your foot best. Some might fit more wide or more narrow.
On really chilly days, I like to have a cap or insertable hood on hand at all times too in case the wind is strong or if the waves are bigger and I know I'll be getting submerged a lot. Vissla makes a nice wetsuit cap as well. Again, it is all about the fit. If you feel like you’re chocking, it is probably too tight and will give you a headache in the water. If the cap is too loose, water will flush and you will be stuck with a piece of equipment that isn’t right for you.
Whatever you choose, hopefully owning your own wetsuit and accessories will make surfing more fun for you!