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Looking great in a suit entails much more than merely finding something in your size. Step up on the sartorial scale with these handy tips to your bespoke garment
Nish de Gruiter
There are a lot of things guys look for when buying a suit — the colour, fabric, pattern, special details, etc — but nine times out of 10 men overlook the most important criterion: the fit. Sure, it’s easy to find something in your size and that looks good, but when you want a suit that suits you perfectly, it’s important to not neglect the nuance of fitting.
Perhaps the most noticeable area of a suit is the chest and body. You want a fit that hugs your body loosely enough to let you move around comfortably throughout the day or night, yet snug enough that there isn’t too much fabric. Too big a fit will give you a boxy, formless fit where the bottom of the jacket dips well below the waist; the resulting look will be that of a kid wearing his dad’s suit. With a fit that’s too small, on the other hand, the buttons will tug on the fabric, usually causing large gaps between the chest and lapel, too much shirt will show through and it will be an uncomfortable wear — not to mention the strain and damage it could cause the fabric.
You want to shoot for somewhere in the middle. A properly fitting jacket should not be pulling on the buttons while closed, nor should there be excessive fabric. The collar of the jacket should fit squarely on the shirt collar, with no puckering near the top of the back of the jacket. The body length, while there is some room for variation, should generally end at or just below the crotch.
The lapel, meanwhile, should lie flatly against the chest, which can only be achieved with a floating canvas interior — nothing fused.
Turnbull and Asser
Finlay & Co
Then, pay attention to the sleeves. While the differences in length can be subtle, sleeves that are even just a tiny bit too long or too short can throw off the look completely. In order to best gauge length, start with the shirt. The cuff of your shirt should reach the point where your thumb meets the wrist. From this point, you can see easily that a jacket sleeve should end just before the edge of the shirt’s cuff. Not only will this give you a clean, well-tailored look, but in a practical sense the shirt will protect the jacket from the oils found on your skin if the jacket is just a bit shorter than the shirt.
Finally, the trousers. This is the area of most leeway, but it’s still important to keep a few rules in effect. To start, remember that they should fit on the hip. While it may feel more natural to wear them a bit lower, this will ultimately cause tension on the fabric and detract from a properly tailored look. With the trousers in the right position, make sure that the crotch is neither too loose nor tight, and the same goes for the rear. The length depends on your personal style.
While we typically recommend a very small or no break, which is generally considered more modern, you can feel free to leave a bit more fabric for a full break; this should have the fabric just barely touching the top of the shoe’s heel. We recommend keeping a minimal break for the casual and more tailored fits, while a break is best reserved for more classic fits.
Turnbull and Asser
You can have the world’s finest fabric, the most intricately detailed features and the most sophisticated textures and weaves, but if the garment doesn’t fit perfectly, all of that luxury and elegance will fall to waste. We believe a personalised fit is second to none, and we make it a priority in everything we do, down to training new hires on everything from the fundamentals of fit to how to properly pin fabric for alterations.
So, next time you shell out for one, make sure you don’t leave with anything less than a perfectly fitting suit. The writer is vice-president of Suitsupply, a globe-spanning European brand renowned for its focus on expertly crafted men’s tailoring.
The writer is vice-president of Suitsupply, a European brand renowned for its focus on expertly crafted men’s tailoring. Suitsupply opened recently at City Walk in Dubai, adding to its global network spanning 70 locations in cities including Milan, London, New York and Hong Kong.
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