Of all the arguments put forward for why a made-to-measure suit is infinitely better than anything you can buy off the peg, one above all has become the mantra of tailors the world over - a bespoke suit just fits better.
But what exactly does that mean? For the uninitiated, we thought it was about time we revealed a few trade secrets and took the time to explain exactly what your tailor is on about when they talk about achieving that perfect fit for your suit.
All in the shoulders
The way your suit jacket fits your shoulders sets the tone for the entire suit. By focusing the design around the width and shape of your shoulders, a skilled tailor will ensure that the jacket hangs correctly on your arms and torso, avoiding that unflattering ‘boxy’ look you get from so many off-the-peg suits.
A good shoulder fit should be snug without being too tight and should sit flat with no visible wrinkles. You need room to manoeuvre freely, just not enough for the jacket to sag as you move.
Waist and hips
After the shoulders, two of the most important measurements for the overall look and feel of a bespoke suit are the waist and the hips. The waist measurement is vital to cutting a jacket so it buttons comfortably and neatly. Closing the top button should give a slight pinch around the diaphragm (not too tight), with the second button positioned just below the navel.
Suit trousers are cut to sit high on the hips and should fit comfortably without the need for a belt.
Where the hem of your jacket finishes adjacent to your trousers will, of course, depend on the style of jacket you opt for. If you are going for a retro Edwardian groomsman look, for example, you might opt for a frock coat that reaches all the way down to your knees, while certain styles of drape jacket can comfortably finish mid-thigh.
However, for the standard modern business or dinner jacket, the convention is to try to balance the length of your torso with the length of your leg by having the jacket finish somewhere in the crotch region. A good tailor will determine exactly where depending on your individual proportions, but as a general rule of thumb, the taller you are, the lower the hem should go.
Sleeves and trouser legs
There are those in the world of men’s fashion who advocate showing off ankles and wrists with high hems on jacket sleeves and trouser legs. That is a matter of personal preference, although we’ve never heard anyone talk about the merits of a sleeve that covers half the hand, or a trouser leg that drags against the heel of a shoe.
For sleeves, a widely accepted standard is to hem the jacket so a small amount of shirt cuff (no more than a quarter inch) shows when the wrist is bent back with the arm hanging loose. Similarly, with trouser legs there is a lot of debate over how big a ‘break’ to leave, a break referring to a slight fold where the hem meets the shoe. Again, this is a matter of preference, but a break of a quarter or half inch is a good all-purpose standard.
So there you have it - now you know some of the secrets that go into creating that perfect fit on a bespoke suit, all you need to do is book an appointment to get measured up! Get in touch with our team today and we’ll book you in as soon as we can.