Suit yourself

Robert Green

Robert Green is GM and designer for Strada menswear and contract pattern maker for Marvel.  He is passionate about helping men dress and groom well.

A gentleman’s suit is a tailored piece of art, and the current fashion for men’s suits is fitting and tailored.  Your suit should give you a feeling of luxury and prestige and the fabric should feel great against the skin - when other people touch you they will appreciate the feeling of well woven wool. 

The under arm of a suit jacket should be fitted and you should feel a little bit of restriction to achieve the silhouette that makes a man look elegant & masculine wearing a tailored suit.  Men should not expect to be able to drive their car comfortably with a suit jacket on. 

Something that I am questioned about a lot when fitting a suit on a man is the arm holes having less weight in them:  this is due to the amount of unseen fusing and internal wool panels that are within the body of a suit.   

Some guys suit a single vent (the lower back split) to help disguise any unwanted bumps or love handles.  Double back vents (the splits on the back) are also good as you are able to flick your vents when sitting to avoid additional creasing.

The back of the jacket neck must have a smooth clean fit so if your jacket is not sitting smooth on the back neck the jacket can be 'stubbed' or the shoulder 'balanced'.  Stubbing the collar means removing the excess fabric - usually 1 cm.  Balancing the jacket is removing the extra fabric by trimming the shoulder seam; this approach is slightly more expensive but sometimes achieves the best results.  The price for stubbing is around $30 and a balance is $45.

The waist of a nice wool trouser needs to be fitted and sits higher than a casual pant, as a general rule you should be able to fit two fingers between your waist band and skin.  Your tailor will be able to let out the waist and seat for the desired fit.  The thigh should also be fitted so that the trousers fit snug under your coat.  The length of your dress trousers should be sitting 1 cm from the top of your shoe heel.  And you should also always buy two pairs of trousers to extend the life of your suit as they wear out quicker than jackets.

"Cos every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man!" - ZZ Top

For more information and tips you can contact Robert here.

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  • Ryan says

    Great article, and I'm wondering if you have some advice. I had a tailored made suit made for my dad for a wedding he was attending and wish I had taking your advice before selecting a company. It become a big disaster. It didn't fit. The style didn't work as the measurements taken were faulty. The suit was baggy and an appalling fit.
    In fact, I would have been better off buying one off the rack for and have it altered for the working style man. He would have felt a lot smarter than in a working style suit that as it turns out wasn't made by a tailor.
    We eventually got a refund from Mr Dobbs who runs Working Style, but not without a lot of anguish for my dad. He eventually had to go to the wedding in a different suit feeling deflated by the whole experience.
    Advice on finding a reputable tailor who can create a real bespoke suit greatly appreciated.

  • robert says
    What an embarrassment, I'm sorry to read and see the evidence on film. Brave move Ryan, I have just returned from Europe looking at summer 2010 and to experience seeing the tailors working in London was amazing. I will do some research into your question and get back to you, thanks for your supportive comments on my writing and my personal quest of helping men dress well with confidence.Yours Truly,
    Robert Green.

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