|Traditional tailoring is being rediscovered by a generation of men who dont share the negative connotations that the suit represented for their fathers. Todays style-conscious man has a new appreciation for handcrafted pieces and tailored suiting, and slim silhouettes in particular. Weve been seeing narrow armholes, skinny ties, svelte lapels, flat-front trousers and form-fitting jackets for the past few seasons and theres no sign of a letup.
So how do you make sure you look good in one of these slim suits? A mans suit should adapt to his body, style preferences and personal needs. With the assistance of a trained sales professional and master tailor, you can use the following industry guidelines to find the suit that suits you.
The shoulder of a mans suit sends a message about the wearer. Styles range widely from un-constructed fits to soft construction with slight padding, to sharper shoulders with defined roping, which communicate confidence and edge.
As the area from which the suit drapes and hangs on the body, the shoulder will dictate its fit. The width or "point to point" between shoulders should provide enough room so the fabric sits smoothly. The optimal look should be clean, without puckering fabric or other signs of strain or looseness. A current trend in lines such as the Prada Collection is a decreased point-to-point, which creates a more fitted, tailored look in the jacket.
ARMHOLES AND SLEEVES
When the armholes of a suit are cut higher, the result is a clean drape in the shoulders. Guard against armholes being tight, as it will impede movement and irritate your underarms. There should be ample room to feel comfortable when swinging your arms. However, it is not necessary to perform windmills to test the fit of the jacket something you see a lot of new suit purchasers doing. How often will you be instructing calisthenics or directing air traffic in your new suit?
Most suiting is made of various grades of wool, a natural, malleable fabric that allows a tailor to let the armholes out slightly. If you are prone to running marathons in your suit and sweat profusely, it is possible to install padding in the armpits to guard against the lining of the jacket bleeding onto your shirt.
Blame it on that heavy laptop bag you have to lug to the office, but most men will discover when they are measured for a suit that one arm hangs slightly longer than the other. This is no cause for alarm your suit simply needs to be tailored according to your body specifics. The sleeves of the jacket typically end at the mid-wrist and should reveal about a quarter-inch of your dress-shirt cuffs. From a fashion standpoint, you should be showing the pattern and colour of the shirt youve paired with your suit.
GORGE AND BUTTONS
The gorge of the jacket is the area where the collar and lapels meet to extend down to the first button. A very low gorge will give you that early 80s look, while with an extremely high one you risk being mistaken for a Beatle. Better to opt for a classic design that is not dictated by the trend of the day. Remember to leave the last button of your suit jacket, blazer or cardigan undone a tradition that apparently started at the end of the 19th century with King Edward VII, who was so heavy he couldnt get his bottom button fastened. His subjects took to the new fashion trend and it continues today. One-button suits are trendy were seeing them this fall. Two- and three button suits are traditional here to stay. Four-button suits are a joke unless youre a southern Baptist preacher or want to play for the Miami Dolphins.
COLLARS AND LAPELS
A suit collar should hug the back of your neck and not pucker or strain clear indicators that the suit is not fitting correctly.
The width of lapels has often been subject to fashion trends. Certain brands, such as Dolce & Gabbana, use the lapel as an indicator of fit and style. An extremely skinny lapel on a Dolce suit is a sign of their slim Martini fit, which is drastically different from the traditional "American" fit with its wider lapel. A good mens suit will have a lapel that lies flat against the chest without puckering or buckling.
Most pants will not fit perfectly when you try on a suit. There is fabric allotted for letting the design in or out to fit the varying body shape of the client. When having your pants tailored, ensure that you are looking straight into the mirror with your hands holding the pants on your waist. Do not try to low-ride your suit pants. If you see buckling at the buttonholes, or any straining or pulling, your pants are too tight. If you desire a slim-fitting suit, you need to be confident enough to wear a slim-fitting pant. If you are even remotely athletic, wear plain front pants they are far more flattering. The sole purpose of pleats in pants is to distract from the wearers stomach and create a more flattering silhouette.
The drape of your pants should always be smooth and they should float over your legs, not flaring or hugging them. Its traditional to cuff your pants if you have a pleat, but otherwise a plain bottom finish is sufficient. Contrary to their American brothers, Canadian men prefer long suit pants with a healthy break in the fabric. Your socks should only be seen when you walk, and match them to your pants.
SOME ADDITIONAL TIPS
· Unless you want to look like a fast-food manager, dont wear a short-sleeved shirt and tie to the office.
· Belts should match your shoes in colour and texture. Clean your shoes and throw out clunky styles that do nothing for the silhouette of your suit.
· Ties should reach just above your belt line and should have a loose-fitting knot and healthy dimple.
· Be brave. Wear colour. Wear pinstripes. Wear texture. Have fun with your clothes theyre an expression of who you are.