Alright guys lets stop arguing about whether it’s appropriate or not and get down to business. It’s true advice is commonly “suit up” on mfa, but as far as I know no one has said how. The recent IAmA by jascination has some good stuff, but Gilt MANual doesn’t have a good guide on suits like they do on shirts, so here is my take:
*Fit:* The shoulders are most important. According to jascination, anything else can be recut, but in practice it means the tailor has to fuck with the lining so it’s best if your jacket just fits off the rack. This means that you’re showing 1-3 cm of shirt cuff, the suit drapes flat across your shoulders and back, and when you button up and pull out the front, there’s only a little bit of give. Alternately it may be too tight if you button the jacket and there’s some stretching.
*Cut:* British cut suits are heavily tapered at the waist, and suit someone who has a athletic build, as it shows off a larger chest. Italian suits tend to have a reverse triangular shape to them, but are well fitted.American cuts are based on the puritan mindset of the American consumer, and tend to have a boxy, somewhat loose fit. This reflects the larger American size and the willingness to look less ‘polished’
*Buttons:* Suits are single or double breasted. 3 buttons is an Italian cut suit coat, 1 or 2 are English cut. Italian suit coats are usually longer. Rolled collar is awesome look for 3 button suits. I discovered this option when watching Cambell on Madmen.
*Lapels:* There are peak, notch, and shawl lapels. shawl is really out now and peak is coming back. Lapels are skinny today but they go in and out like of style like a sin wave. The width should look proportioned to your tie and shirt collar, hence the reason everyone wore skinny ties in the 1960s and wore fat ties with their zoot suits in the 1940s.
*Vents:* coats can have one, two, or zero vents. Two is fashionable today, and is supposedly flattering for fat guys. Two gives you a sort of hourglass shape, and is common with double breasted. Make sure to cut the vent free, odds are there will be a piece of thread holding it together after you first buy it. Same for the pockets.
*Sleeves:* This came as a shock to me: the buttons on the sleeve can be actual working buttons. Otherwise you’ll find fake button hole stitching or no button hole stiching at all, in order of classyness. The most expensive suits will cut the first two button holes but leave last two buttons holes out to make the job easier should you need it tailored. If the sleeve doesn’t fit and the button holes are cut already, don’t buy the suit. It’s a hassle to tailor sleeve length from the shoulder.
*Pants:* You can get one or two pleats, or what’s called “flat front” (zero pleats). The bottom can be cuffed or plain, and the pants have a deep break, shallow break, or no break at all. The break is the notch in material that pools around your foot when the pants are too long. Trends are flat front and no break, with some people even showing some sock. Don’t worry about the waist/crotch off the rack, a good tailor can fix that.
is herringbone which is a twill
is herringbone with a pinstripe.
is just glen plaid
is some textured weave.
- Worsted is just the describing the yarn, though I can tell it’s woven looser and will probably be thicker and warmer
- Merino is just the type of sheep and doesn’t really tell you anything except it’s supposed to be softer.
- chalk stripe
: very large stripe, very white, and is a british invention. a little flashier, but easy to look like a clown if you can’t pull it off
- texture stripe
– very nice, subtle stripe, not a strong colour, is a classic
– subtle squared type pattern, old fashioned, but can be vogue
*Color:* You can’t go wrong with navy or grey pinstripe.
*Tailor:* Find a good tailor. Seriously. I heard this advice time and time again and just sort of ignored it, but it’s important if you want to look your best. A good tailor will give you advice, but will not hassle you if you know what you want and you want your trousers too short. If the fashions change, don’t throw away your old and get all new suits. The small stuff like trouser length can be tailored to fashion. Make sure your shirt fits and you wear the shoes you’ll be planning to wear, because those factors alter the style considerably. In my experience in store tailors are not that good.
*Labels:* A lot of people will say labels don’t mean anything, which is half true. Labels are a way for the lay-man to know what’s good quality. I have a Paul Smith suit that I got discount that I absolutely love, but two years ago I bought a “Lauren” trench and the buttons promptly fell off. My “Star” John Varvatos coat’s liner is torn to shreds after only two seasons, and my H&M slacks currently have a tear in the seam I’ve been meaning to repair.
*Care:* Buy a suit brush so you can brush of dandruff and excess threads and crap. Only use a real suit hanger, and make sure to fold your slacks across the seam, not like blue jeans.
*Rules:* are made to be broken, once you know them
- Cuffed bottoms are only allowed if the slacks have pleats
- Double breasted coats are to remain buttoned at all times
- 2 button single breasted – button the top button
- 3 button single breasted – button the middle button – top optional
- Unbutton single breasted when seated, feels good man.
- Rules of Fashion: Size and Proportion of Suits – Haberdash Men’s Shop
- How to Buy a Suit – GQ