The suit: The fit
From Beijing to London the suit is one of the, if not the most iconic and widely worn pieces of men’s clothing, transitioning effortlessly between the boardroom and the bar they have largely resisted the trends of the day to retain the iconic classic look every modern man craves from their wardrobe.
As widely worn as they are, the suit is often one of the most badly worn pieces of clothing whether it is mismatched colours (that’s another article for another day) or a bad fit many people don’t know the difference, the elegance a suit creates is completely broken by a badly fitted suits so wear them right or not at all.
Get a Tailor – This cannot be repeated enough, Whether you bought the suit for £1000 from Hugo Boss or one of our fantastic Marc Darcy three piece suits, you must go straight to a tailor, this is because almost no off the rack suit will fit your body perfectly (unless you are super lucky) each suit will need shortening, taking in or loosening up in certain areas
The key is to get a suit that fits right in the shoulders, and chest then to have it altered where necessary the reason for this is that shoulder alterations are expensive and difficult even for most tailors as changing the shoulders changes the overall suit..
First…. What is a good fits
Ok, we get it, you don’t want to sit here for a long time learning the most minuted details of a suits fit, you need the basics to keep you looking dapper.
Misunderstood by both the consumer and the salesman, the fit of a suit is the single most important part of buying a suit.
Most people (myself guilty in the past) put a suit on, stand straight and look in the mirror to see for a nice look, in reality you will almost never stand straight up with your arms at your side like a soldier you should move your arms and stand at your natural posture, this will tell you if the suit fits reasonably well.
Now lets go through each main area of the suit from top to bottom.
Ok Since we’ve already touched on this area we may as as well start with the shoulders of a suit.
The shoulder of a suit should lie flat to the shoulder, without bunching up, the seam that joins the arm to shoulder should line up with the end of your shoulder bone to ensure a comfortable fit.
As shown below if a suit has shoulders that are too small it can cause the shoulder to pull on the arm and look pointed in some cases, A fit that is too big will bunch up causing an unattractive hump effect on the back of the suit (think Mr Burns).
One of .the easiest to make, and easiest to rectify signs of a poorly fitter suit is the length of the arms
“When in a pinch, think half an inch” is a good rule to go by, the general guideline for the amount of cuff that should show when standing, then again its a general rule it can change depending on the suit or look your going for, the easiest way to tell is that the suit should reach the knuckle of your thumb and no farther.
Many people fail to pay attention to the length of the jacket, often assumed that all jackets are of equal length.
This couldnt be further from the truth with every designer, brand or style being different its key you wear the length correctly otherwise you may look either shorter or taller’; a good fitting suit should fall past the waist sitting just above the curve of the buttocks without covering them, the hands are a great indicator of a good fit with the cuff of the suit meeting the knuckle of your thumb when stood straight and relaxed.
If the hem of the jacket appears to flair back, above the “half an inch” line it generally means the jacket is too short, DO NOT BUY a jacket that is too short, no matter the bargain, designer or what the salesman says, most tailors won’t be able to make a jacket longer,however shortening a jacket is a completely different kettle of fish, with most tailors they can adjust it between 1 and 3 inches depending on the jackets design, the reason is that shortening too much can put the pockets out of place; be aware that shortening can reduce the depth of your pockets.
Collar & Lapels
The collar of a jacket is probably the most overlooked parts of a suit, even though its the bit people see immediately, essentially the collar of your jacket should sit against the collar of your shirt without going above or flaring out.
If the collar is too loose it will begin to flap on the back of your neck with a visible gap between the jacket and the shirt, if it is too tight it will bunch up on your neck.
With the collar of your suit sometimes it doesn’t come down to the fit of the suit, sometimes it can be a suit just designed for a body or posture type not suited to yourself.
A bit about lapels…..
There ar emany types of lapel, peak and notch being the most common on the market, although this rule can be ignored due to personal tastes, matching the thickest part of the tie to the thickest part of your lapel is what most people aim for.
A smooth drape over the rear end should be created by the trousers, with definition that doesn’t pull, a good indicator to a bad fit is horizontal lines created either when standing or when you move, any U shaped drapes created are indicators that the piece doesn’t hug your body, this means its too large which although isn’t the end of the world, it makes life difficult for a tailor when adjusting these areas as pockets must be altered sometimes ruining the original intention of the designer.
What is a break? I hear you ask
Quite simply it is how much the trouser wrinkles when it hits your shoes, this should be a subtle feature thus many men overlook it when buying trousers.
There are several types of break, which you go for depends on your style, your suit and your height, generally shorter men should aim for a quarter break to ensure their body doesn’t appear shorter than it is, taller men can get away with full breaks which reduce a persons height to observers.
nAn there we have it, a quick breakdown of the easy ways to make a two piece suit fit well, yes we didn’t go into waistcoats or any of the highly technical stuff such as colour matching or fabric types but that is for another edition of our The Suit series.