It can be quite challenging to get a suit that will put your best body parts in perspective, that’s why we’ve come up with these 30 tailoring tips for men that want to feel good in their own skin.
You wouldn’t choose a lawyer, doctor, or realtor unless they came highly recommended, so why should a tailor be any different?
2. Don’t go for loose.
Some men like to opt for larger suits because they feel more comfortable but the cut of your suit is meant to fit your body snugly. Why? Because this makes it easier to enhance your best features.
3. More dry cleaning isn’t better.
Don’t just rush out to the dry cleaner every time you wrinkle your suit or get a little something on it. Doing this will decrease the life of the fabric and wear the suit out faster. Twice a year is plenty.
4. If you have pleats…
…your pants should be cuffed!
5. Brand names don’t mean quality.
Too many people think that they are getting a product of higher quality if they buy a brand name suit, but most of us can get a tailor-made custom suit (which means the quality will be far better) for the same price—or even less.
6. Canvas, not fuse.
Those are the two ways to construct a suit, and canvas holds a suit’s shape better.
7. If you work in a colder climate…
Go for wool suits. You don’t want to be wearing something that’s not going to keep you warm. Super Wool 150 Italian Suits have the best wool fabric.
8. Always bring an umbrella.
Or a raincoat. If your jacket gets wet, it can cause differential shrinkage.
9. Try ironing or spot cleaning.
Next time, instead of heading out to the dry cleaner, try pressing your suit or spot cleaning first. These methods are far less damaging to the fabric of the suit and often they work just as well.
10. Jackets should curve in.
Ideally, when your arms are hanging down, you want a small gap to show between your arms and chest.
11. If you work in a warmer climate…
Stay cool by opting for suits made from cotton or linen.
12. 110 or higher, please.
Suit fabrics have grades that range from as low as 80 to as high as 180. Most people probably aren’t ever going to get 180-grade fabric, but for something durable and respectable, you always want to at least go for fabric with a grade of 110.
13. Finishing should be done by hand.
Machines have heavy stitching that doesn’t look as good, but hand stitching can be much more subtle.
14. Rotate suits.
Wearing them two days in a row doesn’t allow the fabric to rest.
15. Never rub a stain.
Doing this just pushes it in; instead, soak it up with a damp sponge.
16. Shirt cuffs should show when at rest.
More specifically, you want about half an inch of the cuffs to extend beyond your jacket sleeves when your arms are just hanging freely.
17. Tall and Short.
Below six feet is considered Short, while above it is Tall. But if you’re exactly 6-foot, it doesn’t really matter because you’re right in the middle.
18. No name brand can mean better quality.
Where suits are concerned, you really are paying for the name brand, because generally you can get a higher grade of fabric on a custom suit for the same price.
19. Wear at the waist, not hips.
Suit trousers should be worn higher than jeans to look their best.
20. Jackets and driving don’t go together.
Take it off and hang it or fold it on the seat before driving.
21. Brush it out.
To keep your suit looking good, brush out the dirt after each time you wear it.
22. Wear shoes.
Walking around in suit trousers and socks is a great way to fray the fabric.
23. Your collar shouldn’t pull away from your neck.
24. A suit should fall… on your shoulders, waist, and shoes.
25. Hide the fat.
If you’re overweight, a custom-made suit will be much better at hiding that belly than a brand name will.
26. Keep it classic.
Stay away from colored button holes that are unnecessary.
27. Shoulder width is key.
Ideally, you want the jackets shoulders to go just to the end of your actual shoulders.
28. Teflon, not stainless steel.
With stainless steel irons, you will need to use a damp cloth on the fabric first.
29. Always unbutton your jacket before sitting down.
30. Wear them.
Brand new suits never look as good as those that have developed a bit of character from being worn in. Probably the best example is Harvey Specter from Suits.
Ted Corbitt is an author for Balani Custom Clothiers. Ted enjoys writing about men’s specialty clothing and other men’s fashion issues.