"Sartorial Tips: Men's suit" - Part 2
09th October, 2012
The men's suit is, without question, the most universal and appropriate item in a gentleman's wardrobe.
The first thing to make clear, before diving into cuts and suit fabrics and pocket flaps, is that the rules of men's style are guidelines gleaned across the decades from what has stood the test of time, and what generally flatters a given figure.
These style rules serve as a guide to what will enhance ones features, but they are only a guide.
The first and foremost rule of men's style is never wear clothing that you cannot wear confidently. Confidence is an essential element of making any ensemble work, and garments that inhibit confidence do more to damage one's appearance than any perceived enhancement can outweigh.
This rule does not, however, provide free reign to wear whatever one wishes and declare it stylish because it is comfortable. It is merely a reminder that if one feels more comfortable in a style different than the guidelines given here would suggest, careful thought should be given to whether to follow the guideline or choose the more comfortable style.
There are three major styles of suit, named for the countries in which they originated, though it is now quite common to find all three styles in any country, as well as fusions of elements from one or more different styles.
The first is the English style, typified by soft, unpadded shoulders, a long, hourglass body with a high waist, either double or single breasted, with two or three buttons and side vents.
The second is the Italian, or sometimes Continental style, epitomized by a lightweight construction, squared, high shoulders, a short, close-fitting, single-breasted body, with two buttons and no vent.
Rounding out the group is the American or sack suit, a natural-shoulder suit with a straight and somewhat roomier body, three-buttons and a back vent.
Generally , it doesn't matter what kind of suit you're investing in, whether it's cheap or expensive, flannel or seersucker, two-button or three.
The thing's got to fit right, or else there's no point in wearing it.
Question is, what's the right fit, and how do you get it?
Here is a brief guideline on WHAT TO LOOK AT when you buy a suit. Always check the following components (and refer to the picture on the right) to get the right fit on your body shape.
A. Take It from the Top
A good suit should hug your shoulders, not slouch off them. Most guys think they're a size larger than they are—say, a 42 regular instead of a 40. When buying a suit, go ahead and try sizing down. When you pull on the jacket, there should be a firmness to it. You should snap to attention and stand taller. If it doesn't fit right in the shoulders, don't buy it.
B. Lose the Flab
Think about the width of the sleeves. They need to be comfortable but not too slouchy. It is always better if they are loosely tight. You have to feel the fabric at least in one point of your arm, generally in proximity of the elbow and closer to your shoulders. Best tip is always to check that your arms can stand comfortably if you stretch them in front of you. And that the sleeves do not get stuck in any part.
C. Show Some Cuff
Your suit sleeves should end just above the hinges of your wrists, so a quarter to half inch of shirt cuff shows. It's like the frame on a painting—the elegant finishing touch.
D. Taper, Taper, Taper
Your jacket should contour to your body. Have a tailor nip it at the sides. This will accentuate your shoulders—whether you've got strong ones or not.
E. Break It Down
We like flat-front pants, cut slim, with very little break at the ankle. This produces a long, clean look. Your pants should just clip the tops of your shoes, not bunch up over them.
Good enough... Let's focus now on the other details...