A Suit That Fits Blog
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Tag >> Narrow Lapel
I feel it's appropriate to begin my first post in several weeks with a confession. So here it is - I am short. Really very short - 5'1'' on a good day. On the rare occasions that I confess this statistic to acquaintances, I am often met with surprise - sure, people know I'm short, but most don't seem to realise quite how short I am.
Why is this, you may ask? Well, I have to confess that big hair, big heels and a direct personality certainly help, but it's also down to what I wear.
If, like me, you are on the more petite side then there are lots of dressing tricks you can use to disguise this fact. Dressing a short or petite body can be challenging if you are shopping on the high street, but it's not as hard as you might think. Here are my top tips for the vertically challenged (a lot of these tips are also appropriate for slim builds, regardless of height). 1) Fit
This is absolutely crucial. Wearing properly fitting garments is the single most effective thing that you can do to downplay the fact that you are lacking in the height department. One of the biggest 'give aways' that you are short are garments that are too large and long - perfectly cut and fitted tailored items will do more for you than a pair of 'lift its' ever will.
- Always go for a slim fit shirts, jackets and trousers even if you are not used to it. Don't drown your smaller from frame in too much fabric - keep it tailored and neat. Our bespoke suits and shirts are made exactly to your measurements are and ideal.
- Too-long sleeves, trousers and, most importantly, jackets will draw attention to your size; conversely correct proportions will conceal.
- A petit man in a too-long jacket will always look like a teenager in a hand-me-down - make sure that your jacket comes no lower than your crotch in front only just covers your seat.
- avoid low waisted trousers, as they shorten the legs.
-trouser hems can be 0.5 longer than 'standard' to add extra length to the legs, but should under no circumstances bunch up at the back! Similarly, suit sleeves can be a little longer than the standard so long as you maintain that perfect 0.5 of cuff.
2) ProportionAn oft-forgotten contributor to overall look, the proportions of your garment should be considered second only to fit. If all the details of your clothing are proportional to your frame then it's harder for the frame to look small.
- avoid any outsize details such as chunky belts, big buttons or wide lapels. A lightly narrowed lapel is flattering on a compact, slim gentleman.
- Petite ladies should consider short, hip-length jackets and high-waisted skirts to lengthen the legs; tall heels paired with long trousers will also give you inches. Generally I find straight trousers (wide or slim) more leg-lengthening than bootcut.
3) StyleAlways think neat, clean, and streamlined - don't overwhelm your small frame with extras.
- For jackets, stick to one or two button fastenings; their longer lapels lengthen the torso. Ladies should go for a sharp, nipped-in one-button blazer.
- Slanted pockets on the jacket lengthen the upper body.
- Chose 3 rather than 4 buttons on the sleeve to maintain proportion with arm length.
- Avoid ticket pockets that clutter the torso.
- Chose side adjusters on your trousers. Wearing a belt shortens the legs and creates an unwanted horizontal line right across the torso; beltless trousers with no loops create a cleaner look and allow the eye to run right down the body, creating an illusion of extra height
- Flat-fronted slim cut trousers lengthen and streamline the legs.
- No more than 2 pockets on waistcoats! As always, avoid extra horizontal lines
- ladies - avoid frou-frou styles with lots of fabric
4) Colour and fabricIt's a myth that short people should wear only dark colours - it doesn't add any inches! However, I do recommend that shorter people avoid large, busy patterns and stick with more subtle alternatives and plain colours (for example, I own very few printed items).
- patterns with vertical details, such as a herringbone, work better on shorter frames than other patterns such as birdeyes and checks; I recommend our RTallwool-100215 range
- patterns should always be proportional - so look for smaller herringbones and closer, finer pinstripes. Large patterns can overwhelm small frames.
- for shirts, chose a stripe over a check
- generally, avoid heavy, bulky fabrics
5) WardrobeAll these tips are all very well but what about putting it all together? Careful wardrobe planning is the icing on the cake for the perfect petit look.
- Keep it clean and uncluttered - don't have too much going on in your outfit at once. A patterned suit should be paired with a plainer shirt and tie, and vice versa
- Similarly, don't bring in too many colour families. Keeping things in the same 'tone' adds a lean, uncluttered air
- Exercise careful use of accessories.
- A tailored suit is an ideal garment for a petit man, simply because having the top half of the body matching the bottom lengthens things out. Ladies - this tip goes for you, too!
- For jeans, stick with more slim, tailored styles. Avoid both low-rise skinny jeans and bulky, baggy styles with lots of pockets.
- Be wary of the garment layering that is oh-so-popular in modern times - it breaks up the body.
- A simple sheath dress is a great choice for ladies
- Match your socks to your trousers, and some advocate matching your shoes as well. (Personally, I like an interesting shoe so I disregard this tip with relish).
For further advice and help with wardrobe planning, just drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or book an appointment with me in our City Road branch.
Criticism of what people wear to black-tie events tends to focus on obvious sins: wearing a lounge suit, wearing a coloured tie and wearing a long tie instead of a bow (though this is less objectionable than one may think).
These are some of the biggest sins against the traditions of the dinner outfit, and stand out as such. They also stand out because they are committed by a relatively small number of people.
For that reason, I don't think they are the greatest black-tie sins. They're big, but they're rare. More important are the small sins committed by almost everyone. Those demonstrate how disconnected the ensemble is from its traditions, despite the apparent uniformity on display. Sin 1: Cover your waist
Every black-tie outfit needs to cover the waistband of the trousers in some way. That is an indisputable fact. This covering can take one of three forms: a waistcoat, a cummerbund or a double-breasted jacket.
A waistcoat should be the standard. If you're wearing a single-breasted dinner jacket, something needs to cover up your shirt particularly if the jacket only has one button.
A shirt with a stiff, oval front makes this obvious: only the stiff part is meant to show, the rest is covered up by a waistcoat. But even a soft-fronted shirt needs a covering. Even though its pleats form a rectangle on the front of the shirt, and even though they go all the way down to the waistband, that waistband must be covered.
This waistcoat can be black or white. White is less common and more formal, echoing as it does white tie or full fig. It can also be full or backless. If white, it should be made of the same Marcella as the shirt front. If black, it should be the same wool as the trousers.
The cummerbund was invented in the subcontinent as an alternative to the waistcoat for hot weather. It was originally a sash simply tie around the waist.
But what proportion of men at a black-tie event have some form of waist covering? Twenty per cent? Fifteen even? That's why it's the greatest sin.
Sin 2: Notch lapels
Most suits have notch lapels; dinner jackets should not have them. At some point, the black-tie industry forgot, or simply got lazy, and conflated the two.
A peaked lapel is more formal, aggressive and rakish. It suits black tie where it wouldn't suit the decorum of day-to-day business. All dinner jackets, single or double-breasted, should have peak lapels. Yet a significant number (40%? 45%?) of men at a black-tie event will have notch lapels.
Sin 3: Shoes
The best shoe to wear with black tie is a patent pump with a grosgrain bow. Second on the list is a patent Oxford. Third is a plain black Oxford, without brogueing and preferably wholecut. All three are acceptable but are less impressive further down the list.
Yet how many men wear pumps? Probably zero. How many patent Oxfords? Perhaps 10%. And of the remainder wearing black leather shoes, there is probably a healthy chunk (again, perhaps 45%) wearing brogues, Derbys, boots or monk straps. So another low-level but popular sin. Multiplying number by grade of sin makes it a greater offence than a long tie.
One character stands above the rest in terms of sartorial distinction, the programmes lynch pin, Don Draper. Don Drapers suits tend to be made in the more conservative hues of charcoal, mid-tone grey and black, which work well with his high contrast complexion.
He shies away from tones that would have been considered more radical at the time, such as blue, but chooses fabrics that add lustre to his suits such as silks and mohairs.
Don Drapers suits feature many style attributes that are indicative of the period, such as skinny lapels, single vented jackets, and a slim cut. Don also knows that a slim lapel should only be complimented by a slim tie. In the pic above, Don impresses the team at Kodak with an accomplished pitch, made all the more effective by his authoritative dress sense. If you need to knock your clients dead at your next presentation, click this link for our very own version of the Don Draper suit!. .
The word lapel refers to the style of the opening and the collar of your chosen jacket. Where the collar (the bit that goes around your neck) and the actual lapel meet is called the gorge.
Something happens at this point, whether that be a notch in the fabric, a peak of the fabric or the fabric remains uncut. When picking out your suit it is important to remember that your chosen jacket lapel style will have a direct impact on how your jacket will look on you.Although lapels are an essential part of menswear, your choice of lapel style depends entirely on your personal preference.* Peaked Lapel: The fabric peaks point towards the shoulders. The peak lapel forms a broad V-shaped opening on the jacket. A peaked lapel is great for accentuating the shoulder width. This style looks great on a single breasted, two button jacket.
* Notched Lapel: Out of all the three lapel styles, the Notch lapel is the most popular choice available. It transfers seamlessly between the office and the social occasion. It looks as if a triangular notch has been cut from the fabric* Shawl Collar: The shawl collar lapel is a rounded and smooth edge lapel. The lapel rolls back and tapers from the collar until the lapel meets the jacket top button. It is typically found on the Dinner Jacket, but who says it should stay there.?.
It can be hard sometimes to know what you want when designing your very own suit. I recommend starting off conservatively, and here are my personal suggestions.
Buttoning: Two or three-buttoned jackets are most usual. Two is a little more fashionable and also suits more men, as it has a deeper neckline. Three, particularly with little 'roll' (how much the jacket opens when only the waist-button is fastened) can look boxy.
If in doubt, try on both in a shop and see which you prefer. Lapels: Go for notched lapels, which looks like a triangle has been cut out of each. Peaked lapels can look rakish, but are more an option for later on. Use your own eye on the width of the lapels. If they look too wide, ask for narrower ones.
Trousers: Let them sit on your hips wherever they feel most comfortable to you. This will probably be a little higher than where you where jeans, but not as high as they were traditionally worn on the natural waist, nearer your belly button.
If you want precision on how wide they should be, measure your existing suit trousers (the width at the bottom, doubled for the circumference). The length is traditionally such that there is one break in the front of the trouser when wearing shoes, but none in the back. Or, when you stand in them without shoes, the back just touches the floor. I like mine a little shorter than this, but it only works with narrower trousers (which I also generally prefer).
It's worth avoiding belt loops if you can, as this looks smarter. If you lose or gain weight the trousers can always be taken in or out. If you want a compromise, ask for side tabs small, adjustable straps on either side of the trousers that can cinch them in a little.
The trousers should be plain fronted. Pleats only suit two types of people: those with expanded girths, and those who wear their trousers on their waist.
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