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The cut of a suit is almost everything. The material is a close second, but is forgiven so long as the fit of the jacket and pants is superb. In a day and age where a starting suit can be had for just under 400 dollars, skimping on the trip to a tailors just isn’t an excuse. A good fitted jacket can hide a baggy shirt or less than stellar body while fitted pants mold to the body and add height. If part of feeling good is looking good then a trip to the tailors will definitely have you feeling great. The point is to be fitted and streamline, not a shapeless sack or have cut off circulation.
1. Jacket sleeves and width of the pants
Assuming you’ve ordered close to your correct size, sleeves are still one of the most overlooked items to get fixed because not many people know the correct length for them. The convention used is that when standing up, the sleeve should fall just past your wrist, showing some shirt cuff. Additionally, skinnier men should opt for suits that have a higher arm hole. If that isn’t possible, have the tailor adjust the width of the arms so that you can still comfortably cross your arms.
As for the pants, too much fabric on a skinny guy makes it seem like he’s wearing MC Hammer’s pants while too little makes it look like he’s lost circulation.
2. Waist and lower back
The much desired swimmer’s figure can be decently replicated without sweating by a skilled tailor. Not exactly the widest or skinniest man on the block? That’s fine, a skilled tailor can reconstruct the jacket to fit your proportions. Just make sure it’s not so tight you can’t breathe. On the other hand, not adjusting it correctly leads to awkward bunching in the chest or seat of the jacket so pay attention to how the tailor adjusts. Always ask questions, this is your jacket after all.
3. Jacket and pants hem
This one is trickier to distinguish because there is a fine line between being fashion forward and awkwardly short. When standing with the jacket on, one should be able to cup their hands without crinkling the bottom of the jacket hemline. If it bends or folds, it’s too long. Gone are the days where a long hemline is desired. Now the trends go towards appropriately fitted whether you are Wall Street Financier or the editor of a fashion magazine.
Pants hem should be just long enough for one break in the front of the pants hem right where the shoelaces meet the pants. More than one break or an awkward sideways billow will ruin the effect of a streamlined suit.
4. Jacket collar
Often the least corrected section of a suit jacket, enough tailoring in other parts of the jacket will create an awkward fold at the back of collar. Have it altered and then re-pressed into the desired shape. Often, hanging a jacket for prolonged periods of time on a thin wire hanger will change the shape of the back of the collar and shoulders. Prevent this with plastic or wood rounded shoulder hangers so the drape of the jacket is more natural.
Arguably one of the hardest features to fix on a suit, the shoulders contribute to the way a suit fits, drapes and ultimately should enhance the wearer. Many tailors will not adjust shoulders without prompting or specific needs. It is not only a difficult job but a bad tailor can make huge mistakes. Too much shoulder fabric makes it look like your father’s suit and too little fabric bunches awkwardly or may rip at the seams. Done correctly though, the shoulders help the wearer portray presence, status and wealth.
The bottom line is that excess fabric is bad, don’t get caught impersonating a flag flapping in the wind. Get tailored!