Sepiachord Field Guide, Gentleman’s Fashion:
Tips for Buying the Perfect Suit (in many time period)
Whether you are interviewing for a new job and need an updated look, or have your eye on a vintage style for an upcoming steampunk formal event, a new suit will be essential to your wardrobe. Here are some tips to guide you to finding your perfect suit.
1. Don’t trust your own judgement on fit, go to an established men’s store. Their experts will be more knowledgeable in make, style, cut, and fit than any of us could hope to be. Have them take measurements and teach you what will be your best fit between traditional, European, and athletic styles, and have them explain the differences between these styles. Remember you are looking to these experts for FACTS: measurements, and the movement and details of the styles that will work with your body type. Personal fashion style and taste is totally up to you.
Now that you are armed with knowledge about your physique, you can choose to buy your suit there, or can take this information with you to pick up a vintage suit and have it tailored to these specifications.
2. Find a reputable tailor that works well with you. Though every men’s store will have their own tailors and most of them will do fine, allow me to suggest finding a local tailor. Find one that knows you well and that you can have a personal relationship with. A tailor who knows not only your measurements, but also your activity level, your personality, and knows you by name will much more likely to give you the extra care and attention that your suit needs. For example, if you smoke, he will know to reinforce the preferred pocket so your suit does not sag when you have a full pack and lighter in there. Or if you have a bit of a belly, he will reinforce the buttonholes and add heavyweight thread when sewing on the buttons to prevent popping when you sit or stretch. Or if you do a lot of walking on the job in a suit, a well-stitched cuff in the trousers will be done. Or if you walk through a sketchy neighborhood to get home, he may add a hidden pocket for credit cards and other valuables. Or if you are going to that steampunk event, He may add a flower loop on the lapel to hold that gear encrusted flower. A tailor can even take in your dress shirts as well, for a streamline fit under your suit jacket. There are a lot of benefits to finding a good tailor.
2. You should be aware of the following fit issues:
- If a jacket feels too tight, it probably is. You should be able to fit the flat of your hand in between your chest and the front of the jacket when buttoned and the back vents should lay flat.
- If a jacket or trousers feel a little big, it can be tailored: men’s suits can often be taken in a full size.
- Trousers should fit at the waist (one to two fingers inside the waistband) so you have room when you sit.
- Most dress shirts needs sleeves fitted. They will almost always be on the long side for this purpose.
3. The correct jacket length? Stand with your arms hanging naturally at your sides. The jacket should hit just under the curve of your derriere.
4. The sleeve of the jacket should hit where your wrist bends so that your shirt can poke out 1/8″ to 1/4″.
5. Trousers: a “full break” is the bottom of the pant altered to hit 1″ above the floor. Pleated trousers should have cuffs.
6. Don’t forget the SHOES! You can make a suit that you spent a lot of time, money and care picking out look inadequate if you pair it with anything less than a pair of good men’s shoes. Consider your overall look and invest in a pair of men’s dress shoes and keep them polished.
7. Keep in mind that standard form is dark-colored suit, light-colored shirt, dark tie.
8. Consider accessories for your overall look: most of the time you can get away with just a tie, belt ,dark socks and polished shoes, but there are many ways to add accents and add personality to your suit: tie tacks, pocket squares, cuff links. Hats are also a nice touch as well. You can select a vest that matches your suit. How about a pocket watch, with chain and fob… or maybe a lapel flower?
It doesn’t matter if you are big and tall, thin or athletic, you can look like the sharp dressed man you are or want to be.