Choosing a dress shirt

Many men wear ill-fitting clothes all the time. It is often not the clothes themselves, but rather the fit of them that determines whether or not they look good. You probably tend to just buying shirts by chest size — S, M, L, XL, etc. But when buying a dress shirt you must also pay attention to the size of the neck opening, the length of the arms and the broadness of the shoulders. Never wear a poorly fitted shirt again.

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Know what to look for when buying the shirt: The first step in narrowing down what shirt to buy is the material it is made out of. No one wears polyester anymore. An all cotton shirt is the best choice — not only will it allow your skin to breath better, but the way the fabric looks and hangs on your body is nicer than any synthetic fabric.

ImageDetermine the chest size first: This is the probably the most important size to be looking for, and it is probably the size most men mess up when buying shirts. Chances are that all your shirts are one (or maybe even two) sizes too big for your body. This may have been the style years ago, but today it is most certainly not. There is no need to have the fabric billow around your body like a tent.

Having said that, you also must be careful about comfort; it looks equally as awkward to have a shirt so small that anytime you move, the fabric pulls tight. It should just simply fit your chest. If you are slender, then ask for a European cut or a lightly tapered shirt that is brought in at your thinnest section. Don’t worry about being too feminine — it does not look like that at all, but only makes you look thinner. 

Here’s a good way to know if it fits right: when it is tucked in, does it billow out at the top of your pants? If yes, then it is too big.

Make sure the neck fits right: Any quality dress shirt will have the neck measurements printed on the label, but just for reference (or in case it doesn’t), you should be able to fit three fingers in between the shirt and your neck when it is fully buttoned up, with out any trouble at all.

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Arm length is important too: If you plan to wear the shirt just by itself, with no jacket, then the bottom of the cuff can come only to the little indent right after your wrist bone. If you plan to wear the shirt with a jacket, then it should come a little further, about 1 1/2 inches past the indent after you wrist bone; this is so that a piece of the shirt will show even with your jacket on.

Make sure that when you outstretch your arms straight in front of you, the arms of the shirt don’t travel up too far. It is expected they will be a little shorter in this position, but they still need to be no further up the arm than your actual wrist bone, and they should not go further than the arms of the jacket do.
Broadness of the shoulders: This is an easy one to measure because there will always be a seam where the arms are sewn onto the body of the shirt. Now imagine that your shoulder and your arm are perfectly flat and extend out and up to create a square shoulder. Wherever that corner would be is where the seam should rest. In other words, just slightly after you shoulder drops and begins to curve downward is where this seam needs to sit.

On Deciding the length of Tailored Suit Jackets

A properly-fitting tailored suit jacket will have its waist button just below the wearer’s actual waist, and should have sleeves that leave room for a minimum of 1″ of the wearer’s shirt cuff to be visible. A very general way of determining if a tailored suit jacket is long enough is to curl one’s fingers at the second knuckle around the bottom of the jacket. If the tailored suit jacket’s hem just reaches where the fingers join to the hand, then it fits properly; if the hem touches the curled fingers – or worse, bunches up – then the jacket is too long. Another gauge is to measure from the top of the spine to the floor and divide in half. Both techniques, however, are only generalizations, and cannot take into account any unusual variations; performed correctly, both will give a relatively good measure for a ready-made suit, while bespoke or tailored suits will involve more accurate measurement. In the same line, a jacket’s sleeves should be well fitted to the particular dimensions of the wearer’s arm, and should taper as necessary to avoid the appearance of flaring out towards the hand. The cuffs should be wide enough to allow free movement, though not so wide as to hang loosely when the arms are raised; likewise, they should not be as narrow as to resemble the elasticized cuffs on rain jackets.

Tailored Suit Jacket Length

Tailored suits’ length plays an important role in the whole appearance. A tailored suit jacket that is too short will expose undesirable portions of the wearer’s anatomy, while a jacket that is overly long will dwarf the wearer, potentially giving the appearance of a 1930s film gangster, or in the case of extremely long sleeves, an orangutan. Because of the modern trend towards lowering the gorge and waist buttons on jackets, as well as the tendency of many men to wear their pants at their hips, rather than at the waist, most men have become accustomed to tailored suit jackets that are too long.

Bespoke Suits Fabrics

When ordering a bespoke suit, a man is confronted with a sometimes daunting selection of fabrics. While proportion and fit are mostly dictated by your body, you may select your suit’s fabric considering climate, occasion, and the image you hope to project.

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For centuries now, most bespoke suits have been made out of wool. This trusty textile drapes beautifully, maintains its form reliably, and can be spun and woven to be lightweight and breathable, or to be warm and cozy. Worsted wool, from which most suits are made, goes through a finishing process that leaves it smooth and somewhat shiny.

Bespoke suits are often categorized by fineness. The yarn number, e.g. 90s, originally meant the number of 560-yard spools a spinner could get out of a pound of raw wool at the thickness in question, with three-digit numbers earning the prefix “Super.” Since textiles are not strictly regulated in most countries, these numbers may be exaggerated. Finer yarns are smoother in appearance, softer to the touch, and produce lighter fabrics. They are also more expensive, less durable, and more prone to wrinkling. 80s wool makes beautiful suitings that are perfect for work. Super 100s is a bit more luxurious, and Super 120s is incredibly smooth. Many men believe that anything finer is too finicky for normal wear, but for those who crave decadently fine cloths the high-tech textile manufacturers turn out fabrics as fine as Super 200s.

The weight of the fabric, e.g. 10 oz, is what a yard of the material weighs. Heavier fabrics are, naturally, warmer than lighter ones. 10-12 oz suitings are ideal for bespoken suits for spring and fall, as well as Northern summers and Southern winters. Lighter fabrics, often called “tropical” wool without a specific weight, are nearly as cool as shorts, perfect for hot summers. Flannel and tweed, in weights of 14 to 18 oz, are best for cold winters.

Wool flannel is not finished the same way that worsted wool is, and it is therefore softer, even slightly fuzzy. It can be heavy, for winter, or light, for spring, fall, and cooler summers. Flannel was the fabric of bespoke suits for corporate men of the post-war United States, as shown in the 1956 film The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, and today it retains a prominent spot in the pantheon of business attire.

An Introduction to Men’s Tailored Suits

The men’s suit is, without question, the most universal and steadfastly appropriate item in a gentleman’s wardrobe. There are few occasions on which a man in a quality tailored suit will be out of place, particularly if the wearer has a firm grasp of fashion and an established personal style. The path to elegant style begins with a tailored suit, the cornerstone of men’s fashion.
At its most basic, a men’s tailored suit is a jacket and trousers of the same cut, made from the same material, and intended to be worn together. Such a simple definition, however, denies much of the suit’s personality, and it is that personality that has made the suit a lasting and essential element of a gentleman’s outfitting. The primary element of a suit is its jacket, so our discussion will begin there.

Tailored Suits Cut
Men’s tailored suits are defined by many things: the fabric from which they are made, including its color and weight; the style or cut of the suit; the details or trimming applied; the degree of customization to its wearer, etc. Of these, the cut is paramount–a poorly cut suit will never look right on the wearer, regardless of the quality or detailing. The cut of a suit is a product of two elements: the overall silhouette and the particular proportions of the man who will be wearing it. A good tailor will cut a suit to flatter the wearer’s best features and diminish any flaws, which is perhaps the best argument for why you should have a custom tailored suit.
There are three major styles of tailored suit, named for the countries in which they originated, though it is now quite common to find all three styles in any country, as well as fusions of elements from one or more different styles. The first is the English style, typified by soft, unpadded shoulders, a long, hourglass body with a high waist, either double or single breasted, with two or three buttons and side vents. The second is the Italian, or sometimes Continental style, epitomized by a lightweight construction, squared, high shoulders, a short, close-fitting, single-breasted body, with two buttons and no vent. Rounding out the group is the American or sack suit, a natural-shoulder suit with a straight and somewhat roomier body, three-buttons and a back vent.

Tailored Suit Fabric
After cut and customization, tailored suits’ fabric is the next consideration. While the difference in quality between an off the rack and bespoke suit is imminently obvious, both can appear quite stylish; that is not the case with poor quality fabric, which can make even the most expensive custom suit appear cheap. The most traditional fabric for a suit is wool, with a dizzying array of colors and weights to choose from. Suits, particularly for summer, are also available in silk, cotton and gabardine, as well as linen–a traditional favorite not without its own unique challenges–and even mohair and cashmere. There is also the tweed suit, a rugged classic best suited to weekends in the country; its thick, coarse fabric is designed to repel wind and water in the often quite chilly English countryside, and would be out-of-place at a social function in the city. The choice of a suit’s color is an equally important decision, and one best addressed in a separate discussion.

Tailored Suit Trimming
Perhaps the final indicator of quality is the tailored suit’s trimming, the selection of its details. Options include pocket styles, linings, button materials, and the addition of subtle signals of the suit’s quality such as ticket pockets and functional sleeve buttons. These little elements, though they may seem extraneous, are signs of the suit’s personality, as well as the wearer’s. Good details won’t make a poor suit into a quality one, but they do elevate suits at every quality level from the ordinary to the individual.

Why Double-breasted Tailored Suits?

Every coat that has a collar and lapels, whether sport coat, suit jacket, or overcoat, is either single-breasted or double-breasted. The single-breasted construction is much more common, and consists of buttons on one edge and button holes on the other, meeting in a vertical line over the navel. The double-breasted coat bears symmetrical sets of buttons on each side, with the left side folding over the right to be secured by one or two of them. When it comes to tailored suits, double-breasted jacket is a choice worth considering.

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For the man who can wear it, the double-breasted tailored suit provides a rare opportunity to make a more stylish garment without attracting undue attention. To the casual observer a double-breasted suit differs little from a single-breasted one, but on closer examination it yields an older, more elegant look. It is indeed hard for most men to find one that looks really superb, because its length, gorge height, button stance and lapel roll should all together tailored to amplify a body’s virtues and distract from any shortcomings.

The double-breasted tailored suits always boasts peak lapels, and these contribute to its superior refinement. The original style has six buttons, with two to close. While this suits tall men well, shorter men do better with a four- or six-button configuration in which only the bottom one closes (the four-button double-breasted jacket is sometimes called the “Kent,” after it’s supposed inventor the Duke of Kent). The long, diagonal lines of lapels rolling to below the waist give the impression of height and downplay width. Indeed, a well-cut double-breasted jacket minimizes girth on all portly men, especially if it has broad shoulders to drape from.

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For men who are tall, broad-shouldered, or both, the double-breasted suit is a boon to the wardrobe. The double-breasted blazer, too, is a brilliant way to do casual with flair. While every man will own and wear single-breasted jackets, going double-breasted provides a special opportunity to broaden one’s sartorial horizons without straying from tradition.

Double Breasted Tailored Suits and Accessories

The accessory rules when wearing double-breasted tailored suits are very similar to single-breasted suits.
When it comes to neckwear, either a bow tie or neck tie can be worn. However, the presence of no neckwear whatsoever is a definite style blunder, as that the double-breasted jacket’s formality by default demands something to adorn the neck.
A necktie’s width has always been determined by the jacket’s lapel, although with the double breasted jacket this can be difficult when they are wider than four and a half inches. Average lapel widths range from 3.375 inches to 4.25 inches, with most double-breasted coat lapels leaning towards the later. A necktie within the width range of 4 inches is always a safe bet. More important than the width of the necktie however is the tie’s knot; with 70% of the tie hidden under a buttoned jacket, the knot takes center stage. Be sure to pay attention when you compress the knot to form a strong inverted “V”. With the tie knot’s proximity so close to your face, a blunder here will surely not go unnoticed. Finally, carefully choose a pocket handkerchief that conveys the message you wish to send. With little shirt and tie showing, the breast pocket handkerchief will have a stronger effect than when it is worn with a single-breasted jacket.

How to Get Perfect Bespoke Suits

Why bespoke suits become more and more customers’ choice is that they will fit you perfectly.
As for the off -the- rack suits, their sleeves might be too wide, or too long. The jacket might be shorter than you’d expected, or longer. And the fit in the shoulders might be a tad tight, or maybe it’s too loose.
But perfectly fit bespoke suits could be acquired at 90%” satisfaction, and the final 10% will come with experience. Here are a few trade secrets to getting bespoke suits you want.
Fittings. A good tailor takes detailed measurements — beyond your waist, chest and sleeve. Those at Anderson & Sheppard, an established Savile Row tailor, take 27 measurements at the initial fitting. These include the size of your waist and the width of your leg, says John Hitchcock, Anderson & Sheppard’s managing director, but his tailors also discuss with customers “preferences such as the side from which you normally put your garment on.” At most established tailors on Savile Row, three fittings — the initial session; with a half-finished garment; and a final fitting before taking your suit home — is the minimum.
What comes to the first is the length of the jacket and the length of the sleeves. Firstly, sleeves should be long enough to cover your wrists, but not that they invade your palms. Jacket lengths, on the other hand, are commonly mistaken as a crucial barometer of well-fitting bespoken suits. That is subjective. The final decision on jacket length is a personal one and should be a discussed between you and your tailor.
But these simple problem areas can be solved easily. Other mistakes are harder to rectify, and thus, need more attention: the upper torso and the trouser rise.
When fitting a shirt or a jacket, the shoulders should be emphasized. This is because the shoulders provide a draping point for shirts and jackets, making them important for a good fit.
Kevin Seah, a Singaporean tailor, suggests checking that the seam joining the shoulder and the jacket sleeve does not sit “on the edge of the]shoulder bone but instead, slopes a little away.” Poorly fitted shoulders, explains Mr. Seah, can disrupt the “natural swing” of the arm.
The space between the shoulders is also important. Check that the collars of both jacket and shirt settle closely on the back of the neck, and ensure that the jacket lapels sit without breaking, as this indicates the chest is too narrow.
“A gap between the coat and shirt collars,” says Bruce Boyer, author of several style books including , results in ”a loose collar and a shallow chest,” which never looks good. Mr. Boyer, who bought his first Savile Row suit in 1963, explains that when the jacket is too tight, it creates the shallow-chest look — when buttoned, the jacket pulls away from the chest.
The length of the trouser rise is important. “While a tailor can ease the crotch and seat,” says Mr. Boyer, “he can’t actually add height to the rise.” This measurement is a personal choice. The best way to address this is to “be as specific as you can and emphasize what you’re concerned about” with your tailor.
Weight and color of material. When, where and how often you plan to wear your suit should be considered when choosing a fabric, says Anderson & Sheppard’s Mr. Hitchcock. “For frequent use or travel, certain cloth types, weight and finishes are not suitable.”
Bespoke suits made from Super 150’s wool look amazing, for instance, but they are not suitable for hard wearing, he says. And while linen jackets are popular with many dapper travelers, he notes that it “may not be right for someone in a very conservative workplace.”
Time. Be patient. At Anderson & Sheppard, a bespoke suit takes about a month to complete; at Huntsman nearby, it’s at least eight weeks. Mr. Hitchcock says depending on the ability of customers to see their tailor regularly, “Some may wait a year for their garments.”
But the stylish will wait. Mr. Boyer says he requires at least “three or four fittings for the first several garments” and even after the suit is finished, “If there’s something I think can be corrected, I go back.”