Often asked what details to look for when purchasing a good suit, Melbourne tailor Carl Navè shares with us his seven golden rules of suiting up.
Some see the suit as a uniform, a daily reminder of conformity and structure. Others see the suit as the epitome of style and a reminder of a time when a well dressed man was the quintessential gentleman. Either way the suit is an extension of your personality and should reflect who you are as an individual. Pride in our appearance is the result of the effort made and confidence is what comes with it. Be confident in your choices. It’s important that you wear the clothes and that they don’t wear you.
Always look for a full canvas construction. This refers to the interlinings of the jacket and will impact on the comfort, longevity and overall quality of the jacket. A jacket made with a fused interlining is of poor quality and will look old and tired very quickly.
Always buy natural fibres. A pure wool suit will look and feel much better than anything with a synthetic composition. It will also breathe better and allow you to feel more comfortable throughout the day.
Whilst it’s nice to follow trends and feel up to date, don’t get caught up with fads. Choose a style that works for you and your body shape. You want to get at least five years wear out of your suit, so don’t go for a style that will date before the suit has had a fair run.
On a single-breasted jacket you have an option of one, two or three buttons. One button is considered more formal, think tuxedo, whilst a three button is usually seen more in sports jacket. A two-button jacket is the classic all rounder and is less likely to date. Double-breasted suits have certainly made a return, and there is definitely a style to suit every man, but button placement and lapel width is crucial, so make sure you look at a few options before you commit.
Notch, peak or shawl. The most classic and versatile is a notch lapel and is often seen on business and lounge suits. A peak lapel (the one with the points) however, is traditionally seen on double-breasted suits and tuxedos, although they can look pretty sharp on a two button single-breasted number. As for the shawl collar lapel, leave this one for the formal option. They only seem to look best as a tux and are set off by the contrast satin lapel. Which ever option you go for, try to choose a lapel width that sits proportionally on your body. A lapel that is too narrow is just as cringe-worthy as a lapel that is too wide.
This is where you can have some fun. Colour is the perfect way to express some individuality. Although, bear in mind that shades of blue and grey will always offer the most versatility and practicality. A classic French navy suit will never date and will offer the greatest versatility, far more than black even.
A good suit jacket frames the shoulders, hugs the chest and waist and drapes the hips, too slim is unattractive and just looks uncomfortable whilst too loose is untidy. It is a fine balance but one that a good tailor has mastered. As for the trousers, a narrow flat front style that is tapered is the most classic option and suits most body shapes, but keep an eye on the footwear, chunky shoes will upset the balance of a well fitted suit.
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