Read through our “Bespoke Menswear Style Advice – Creating your perfect suit“, once that’s all sorted we will take all the necessary measurements. This isn’t just about the numbers, as it’s perfectly possible to get two gentlemen with identical measurements only to have the same custom made suit look great on one but terrible on the other. It’s also about giving us the chance to get a feel for the way you stand and the shape of your body so we can create something unique to you.
We will generally spend around 10 minutes taking measurements, notes and photographs so we have everything we need to get going. I’d recommend that you come to the fitting with a jacket and a pair of shoes similar to the ones you’ll be wearing with the suit, as this provides us with some useful guidelines while measuring. Other than that, it’s just a question of relaxing and standing as you do naturally to ensure the accuracy of the measurements. We will use these measurements to create a pattern and then with our detailed technique, create the suit. After this, it’s just a question of letting us prepare your new suit for you!
HOW TO LOOK GREAT IN YOUR NEW SUIT
Once you’ve received your new suit, you’ll be able to start enjoying it immediately, but there are a few key things to bear in mind if you want to look your best in it and ensure it stays in top condition.
First of all, never do up the bottom button of your jacket. The origins of this custom are shrouded in mystery (although it’s rumoured to have been started by a certain English king who became too fat to fasten his clothes!), but it nevertheless creates an attractive slimming look due to the splaying of the jacket at the bottom, flattering the waist and chest and making for an elegant silhouette. In addition, having one button done up creates a clear focal point for the suit, whereas having two or three fastened will make it look bottom-heavy.
One small touch that has a powerful effect is wearing a pocket square (white or silk patterned handkerchief) in your top pocket. This will help you create a great first impression whatever the setting, creating the illusion that you’re dressing more smartly that you necessarily are!
Your custom made shirts
One key rule when it comes to picking out your shirt and tie each day is the ‘two patterned to one plain’ rule – of your suit, your tie and your shirt, two of them should be patterned and of the them should be plain. In addition, one pattern should take the lead role and the other the supporting role. This rule will always work, so remember it each time you get dressed!
When it comes to colours, most of the rules are similar to those regarding lining. If your suit has a stripe of pattern, choose a shirt that complements it (ideally a plain one). If you have a pale skin, avoid beige or cream – coloured shirts, as these can make you appear washed out. On the other hand, white goes with everything and will make you appear healthier, so it’s a great default colour to choose if you’re ever in doubt. I generally advise people to play it safe and avoid checked or patterned shirts which have a more casual feel when dressing for business. It’s much better to have a selection of versatile shirts that you can wear anywhere.
On the other hand, ties are where I’d encourage you to experiment! It’s one of the first things people notice and provides a great opportunity to inject some personality into the overall look. To some extent, matching ties to shirts is a skill, but there’s no need for it to be overly complicated. One good rule is to always go for a darker toned tie compared to your shirt (a navy tie with a lighter blue shirt for instance). Although things like gold ties with blue shirts can work, they come in and out of fashion, so I’d advise you to err on the side of caution and go for a classier, more conservative look. In particular, avoid pink ties with blue shirts – it’s increasingly common, but just doesn’t work. In goes without saying that comedy ties should never be worn with a suit!
In terms of knots, most of us stick to tying our ties in the familiar Windsor or half-Windsor knots, but if you’re moving in public school, old money or particularly conservative circles, this isn’t necessarily appropriate. It’s much more common in those circles to opt for a four-in-hand- the smaller knot you probably learnt during your school days. The royal family, for instance, always knot their ties this way. It’s a subtle touch, but could help you make the first impression when you’re moving into certain arenas.
The point of your tie should come down just below the top of your waistband. If you’re a small gentleman, go for a smaller tie and knot so it doesn’t overwhelm you, while if you are on the large side, avoid skinny ties, as they’ll create an illusion of extra bulk.
Cufflinks are easy. Go for simple, classy designs, such as plain silver or plain silver with a tasteful inlay. Avoid novelty ones, as they may be fun, but will send out the wrong image most of the time. In addition, you can add the simple coloured cufflink knots complimenting the colour of your tie. Generally as a rule of thumb, if you must wear coloured cufflinks, it should match your tie.
It’s hard to beat simple black shoes in terms of both style and versatility. Brown shoes can look great with a grey flannel suit (or even a navy one), but traditionally they are only worn out of town rather than to business or formal occasions though the boundaries to these rules are being pushed to the edge nowadays. This may be just what you’re looking for if you’re cultivating a more arty, stylish image, but once again, I’d advise you to exercise caution.
For business wear, casual belts are out altogether, particularly those with a canvas background. Go for something simple and elegant like polished leather that matches your shoes. A brown belt paired with black shoes will just look strange. The same goes for your watch strap – it should match the colour of your shoes.
KEEPING YOUR CUSTOM MADE SUIT LOOKING NEW
Suits are made from natural materials – generally wool. If you were to examine the fabric under a microscope, you’d see it is made up of lots of little coils, like interlocking springs. As you move in your suit, these coils are constantly expanding and contracting. This is why it’s important to let a suit rest after you’ve worn it for a whole day, as the cloth needs a chance to resettle and repair itself if it’s to stay looking and feeling new.
The ideal scenario would be to have a different suit for each day of the week, but if this is not feasible, you should have at least three that you can wear on rotation. Just having an extra pair of trousers can double the life expectancy of a suit, as trousers take a lot more strain than jackets. In addition, don’t dry clean your suit unless absolutely unavoidable. This should rarely be necessary anyway, as many wools are naturally antibacterial, so odours will vanish of their own accord if the suits are allowed to air out. Be especially careful to avoid high-street dry cleaners, as they are rarely properly trained and can easily damage your suit by pressing it badly. It might cost five times more to go to a high-end-dry cleaner, but the resulting peace of mind will more than justify it.
Often a steam press is enough to have your suit feeling fresh again, although if you’re going to use an iron’s steam function, never place the iron directly on your suit. Always put a handkerchief over it first. This is especially important with navy blue suits as irons will leave the fabric looking shiny (as will poor dry cleaning for that matter) ruining the suit.
I hope we can help you create your perfect suit sometime soon.
With Love,Daniel & Lade