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TAILORED CLOTHING

Since the price of a suit constitutes most men's single largest clothing outlay, unless you are confident of your ability to select the best one, I recommend that you prepare accordingly, Wearing something that is reasonably representative of what you are shopping for provides the salesman with a starting point and the fitter with a tailoring guide. If you are considering a different take on your usual habiliments, this same garment can also provide a basis for comparison.

Should you go to the store intending to make a purchase, you should bring a dress shirt whose fit satisfies you. The dress shirt is a key element in the suit-fitting process; its collar height and sleeve length inform the tailor how you expect those components of the jacket to fit. You should also bring along all the items you normally pack into your suit. If you wear a pocket square or an eyeglass case in your jacket, or keep a wallet in your back trouser pocket, your suit should be fitted to accommodate these items. The time invested in this preparation will minimize the probability that you will have to return to the store for an additional fitting after discovering that you bulging billfold makes your coat's chest gap.

If shopping in a large store that offers a variety of suit styles - such as London's Harrods or New York City's Saks Fifth Avenue - and you do not have a relationship with any of its salespeople, spend a few minutes looking for one whose dressing style impresses you. Do not automatically accept the first sales associate to engage you unless you know exactly what you want and need him to act merely as an expediter. If you are looking for a high-fashion designer suit, the classically attired salesperson would not be my first choice to explain the nuances that distinguish an Armani three-button crepe suit from the latest Vestment confection.

Conversely, If you like to accessorize your more English-style suits with high-class furnishings, you might want to be attended to by someone whose taste demonstrates firsthand experience in such matters. The salesman who dresses as if he is interested in clothes usually regards his profession as something more than just an opportunity to bring home a regular paycheck. He prides himself in his taste and enjoys taking the extra effort to find something special. Ideally, in the course of your dialogue, he should be able to teach you something about how to dress better while assisting you with your decision-making.

FIT AND FABRIC

Compared to a decade ago, most men wear their clothes fuller in scale and lighter in weight. This means that today's average suit jacket has slightly broader shoulders and a bit more length. Its pleated trousers are worn up on the natural waist with its fuller thighs tapering down to cuffed bottoms that break on the shoe. Much of this reapportionment is attributable to the high-fashion men's design community's search for a more modern yet comfortable vessel to replace the stuffy, boxlike structure of the conventional male business suit.

In the early stages of latest reconfiguration, the suit jacket's dimensions were pushed outward to allow its softer and less padded shell to drape more fluidly from the wearer's shoulders and around his torso. Textured, crepe-weave fabrics were introduced to enhance the sweater like cushiness of the more advanced designer Suitings. However, as the contemporary men's suit started looking less like its old self and more like a piece of sportswear, men who required the articulation and dressiness of the more classically tailored ensemble began to make their preferences known.

The classic suit is returning, but like any garment caught up in the maelstrom of high fashion, it's just not returning in quite the same form as when it left. While swinging back to its military roots, with enough shape and padding to recall its former prestige and purpose, men's tailored clothing is now influenced by the more modern, drapey cloths. Previously, the only fabrics able to maintain such defined line and proper creases were the typical four-harness worsted from England and Italy. This is still the case. However, their tighter weaves and more substantial construction have now been made to feel soft and pliable. After you squeeze the fabric, the better cloths spring back without wrinkling. At the end of the day, a top-quality worsted wool suit still only needs to be hung out for a time to regain its pressed look.

Conversely, If you like to accessorize your more English-style suits with high-class furnishings, you might want to be attended to by someone whose taste demonstrates firsthand experience in such matters. The salesman who dresses as if he is interested in clothes usually regards his profession as something more than just an opportunity to bring home a regular paycheck. He prides himself in his taste and enjoys taking the extra effort to find something special. Ideally, in the course of your dialogue, he should be able to teach you something about how to dress better while assisting you with your decision-making.

THE SHOULDERS

As the widest part of the jacket, the shoulders' expression sets the mood for the entire garment. The assertive eighties saw jacket shoulders attain aircraft carrier proportions but then the nineties returned the shoulders to a less obtrusive, more classic positioning. Most of history's best-dressed men had their shoulders tailored to look natural yet smart. Unless a man is extremely slope-shouldered or self-consciously short and needs the illusion of height, padded shoulders should be avoided.

The square, high shoulder became internationally fashionable with the emergence of Rome's "Continental look" in the late fifties. Then, in the late sixties, Pierre Cardin's hourglass suit reinforced the notion that strong shoulders were a criterion for high style. Today, given the priority placed on understated comfort, even in the sculpted shoulder's birthplace, the sophisticated Italian wears his hand-tailored shoulders soft, sloped, and less studied.

Close attention need also be paid to the shoulder's width. Since they frame the head, if the shoulders are cut too narrow, the head will appear larger than it actually is; if they are cut too wide, the head will appear disproportionately small.

Their width should be generous enough to permit the jacket's fabric to fall from the shoulder in a smooth, unbroken line all the way down the sleeve. If the width hugs too narrowly, the man's shoulder muscle will bulge out from under the top of the sleeve head, that point at which the jacket sleeve is attached to the should.

The jacket also needs enough fullness across the front and back to lie flat on a man's chest without pulling open. A man with a strong chest requires a larger sized jacket just to accommodate this prominence. Fullness over the shoulder blades with breaks extending upward on the back from below the armholes allows ample room for free action. This extra fabric also causes the jacket to drape properly. A tight fit over the shoulder blades can make you fell as if you are in a straitjacket.

Sharp angles formed on either side of the head create an artificial formality. Stylish dressing is distinguished by its naturalness and unconscious ease. The more aggressive shoulder line is the mark of someone who is trying to look more important than he actually feels.

We invite you to check out some of our other useful custom tailoring related information:

 
Also see Play The Professional Part In A Top Class Custom Made Business Suit.
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