THE SUIT IS DEAD; long live the suit. These are strange times for suits when they are declared dead one season and then resurrected the next.
Fortunately, I don’t think young men are entirely ready to abandon traditional tailoring. Every guy knows they look the part when they put a suit on, yet increasingly this is becoming the exception to the rule. As logo-stamped hoodies, trainers, and jeans are increasingly worn as workplace attire, not across the finance and business sector.
So, for the men exploring the world of suits for the first time, where should they invest their hard-earned cash? What style should they be looking to buy? A good suit is one of the most expensive clothing purchases they will make, so they want to get their money’s worth.
For years I invested in tailored suits, and fortunately for me, most of them have transcended the trends. They are timeless, refined, and sophisticated, modern-day essentials that have never gone out of fashion.
When I wear a suit, it feels like a powerful visual canvas and statement of my expression.
I have loved tailored clothes that complement the male or female body for as long as I can remember. I think I got it from my mother, who always made sure I looked smart and had a clean white shirt to wear to school every day, even though it meant her having to hand-wash it at night and dry it in front of the paraffin heater.
I like to think that I have a style that looks put together, but it’s in the detail that sets what I wear apart from the norm and gives me that edge or sense of individuality. But what distinguishes a well-tailored suit?
It’s all the handwork that goes into making a bespoke suit; old-school handwork, stitching by hand, the quality of buttons, the cloth, the linings, threads, etc.
Bespoke suits take 8 – 12 weeks from start to finish, including one or two fittings. Breaking it down further, once the pattern has been made to the customer’s requirements, the finished suit will take a minimum of 60 hours of handwork and require a series of fittings.
It takes roughly 45 minutes to finish a handmade buttonhole; they look cleaner than rough-edged, machine-sewn counterparts.
Smooth Label Roll
Having a hand-set chest canvas in a jacket is the smooth roll of the lapel. And not a cheap hard-pressed crease.
Lining your suit jacket adds weight and structure to the garment. A well-lined jacket will sit smoother upon the body, reducing any crinkles. Additionally, it is much easier to put on than an unlined jacket that can pull at your shirt.
A good jacket has a collar that has been eased and set by hand for balance and fit. On a high-quality jacket, you can see hand stitches at the base.
Genuine Horn buttons
A good suit has genuine horn buttons; otherwise, the suit-maker uses cheap plastic buttons to finish their garment – then you can assume they are doing everything cheaply.
The Tailor must sew the front buttons using a thread shank– a stem of twisted thread. That provides space for the fabric to drape between the button and the garment when fastened.
A sign that a jacket was tailor-made shows an attention to detail in terms of construction and style.
The cost of a suit can come down to the amount of fabric used. A well-made jacket has ample seam allowance to accommodate alterations. Cheap suits contain very little additional material under the seams.
Pic stitching is purely aesthetic; it’s those little “puckers” around the edge of the lapels, all done by hand.
A quality jacket has a hand-sewn chest canvas between the front panel and the lapel facing (instead of a layer of iron-on glue in cheaper “fused” jackets). You can usually feel this layer of rough canvas between the two smooth layers of fabric.
These days all you need is to look around, and there is evidence of the decline of men wearing suits. Yet when you wear one, people are quick to judge you positively before you’ve even said a word.
Being stylish is about what looks good in the long run, no matter what is trending. Individual style is timeless; fashions come and go – a tailored suit is future-proof and stands the test of time.