A well-fitted suit always starts with the cloth and the construction of the jacket. Ensuring that the fabric is season appropriate will depend on how your jacket will drape; while a canvas construction will provide an optimal fit – one that is close to the body, yet comfortable.
After catching up with Carl Navè about the differences between MTM and RTW we decided to call upon his wealth of knowledge once more.
So, whether you’re visiting your Savile Row bespoke tailor or just hitting up your local clothier, here are a few things to look for when purchasing your next suit.
A good jacket should always fit the shoulders beautifully. No tension, pulling or gaping across the upper back and no puckering across the sleeve head. When the shoulder extends just over your natural shoulder, you know you have a good fit. Personal preference comes into play; we prefr little to no padding, thus favouring a more natural aesthetic. Different brands and tailors may opt for a more bulky look, however. It all comes down to personal preference, so make sure you choose one that suits your shape best.
A jacket should be nicely tapered to the body – not skin tight. If the front buttons appear to be under stress, something is off. Likewise, if the front is gaping and the waist area is too roomy, you will need to find another size or cut entirely. Jacket sizing is based on chest circumference, and most brands usually make what is called a “Drop 6”. This means that the waist circumference is 6 inches more narrow than the chest circumference. The only problem, you may require a Drop 7, Drop 8 or even a Drop 4 if you a carry a little more girth around the midsection. If you still can’t find the right fit, consider visiting a tailor; they will be able to correct this for you.
Cropped jackets are unsightly, and men should never wear them. A jacket must always cover your crotch and your backside. A client once said to us; “ A good jacket is like a good lawyer, they always cover your ass.”
Naturally, he was a lawyer. But here is a tip for you: when trying a jacket on, try making a fist beside the jacket–the hemline should be inline with your knuckles. However, if it’s closer to your wrist, or at your fingertips, start again.
This is possibly the most frequently broken rule in men’s tailoring. A jacket sleeve must always sit 1-2cm higher than your shirt cuff. Now, of course, if your shirt sleeve it not sitting in the correct position, to begin with, then this theory goes out the window. Note: your shirt sleeve should rest just above the base of your thumb.
Think of the ‘rule of thumb’ to help you remember. So when you’re shirt is spot on, your jacket will follow suit. It’s always nice to see a couple of centimetres of shirt cuff poking under your jacket sleeve.
Waist & Seat
Trousers should fit firmly around the waist and drape nicely around the seat. Avoid any tension or bunching around the crotch and seat area. Please note: a belt is a fashion accessory, not a fashion utility. If you require a belt to hold your trousers, consider having them adjusted to fit or buy a smaller size.
Trends change, therefore, the length and break (when the hem-line falls on your foot) may differ depending on the style of trouser. For a narrow slim leg trouser, go for a soft break or no break, this means you will see some ankle and sock. For a wider leg or pleated trouser, one break is entirely acceptable.