Shoulder expression - Page 6
is it a case of going with what the tailor naturally does? are certain treatments more suited to certian garments?
for example, i use hong kong tailors and have usually asked for roped shoulders on suits, and natural shoulders on sports jackets, mainly because i see natural shoulders as being a little less formal...
or am i better off sticking to one style which suits my build better?
If I may ask, what particular shoulder type would be more flattering for a guy like me (5'7 and slim with 36' chest and 30' waist)? Or would it not matter? Thxs!
The Skill of the tailor with the ART of Tailoring varies. The highly skilled tailor should be able to put any type of shoulder on you and look good of numerous variations.
I have a question about the top seam on the shoulder, that is the seam which runs (usually) straight from the collar base across the top of the shoulder to the sleeve set-in at the edge of the shoulder. All my suits had a fairly straight seam until I purchased an Isaia from Sartorial (Gabor) which had this seam which curved toward the back of the jacket and so meets the sleeve set-in not at the top of the shoulder, but well behind. I thought ol' Gabor had sold me a second- or at least a strangely altered jacket as New Without Tags until Iwent to the local center of sartorial excellence and saw that about 1/3 of the Isaia suit jackets had the curved top seam on the shoulder. I bought a Cucinelli sportcoat from YOOX and bang- the same curving top seam- which is not on any of my previously purchased Cucinelli suits or jackets. Does anyone know why this curving top seam is on the march ? I can't really say that I like it- it makes the vertical profile of the jacket look all out of kilter.
It is a style choice. See this thread, this thread and this thread for much more detailed explanation.
Thank you for this post. As a new member, and one who currently still wears off the rack clothing, I appreciate this information. It will come in handy when I do finally manage to make the switch to bespoke clothing. It's just a matter of time because anything I purchase needs extensive alterations anyway. I have to buy size 48 coats and have them altered to fit a 34" waist so I think made to order is really my best option.
In response to an earlier question about why some of us still buy off the rack; for me it's a matter of price. As an unemployed father with four children I shop for sales. Made to order clothing never goes on sale.
Exactly what I was looking for. This is too bad, though. I have 2 jackets - a sports coast and classic blazer - made custom by my dad's tailor when I graduated from college. I didn't know better back then, but this guy makes some of the best clothes in DC. Problem is, he's very old school. He made me these broad jackets with extra padding. I have an athletic frame and don't need any padding.
I can't even wear these jackets now, and I'm afraid (after reading this) that alterations may be impossible. Too bad since these are like $400-500 jackets.
OK, listen up kids, it's time to get technical for a second.
It's obvious that there are some misunderstandings about what we call "shoulder expression". When we refer to the expression of a shoulder we are referring to its shape, or appearance. They can be concave, pagoda, roped, natural, etc. and people have a few misconceptions about how they are achieved and so are frustrated when their suitmaker or tailor is not getting the result they want.
First, let's look at these three shoulder lines in isolation- they all look relatively alike.
Until I add the rest of the shot- now we see that they are very different. Let's call these three a rope shoulder, a natural shoulder, and a bald shoulder.
What makes them look so different? The sleeve. It should be fairly obvious that there is more going on here than just padding- the sleeve pattern is very different on each garment, the fullness distribution is very different, and they have been pressed differently. Remember this.
A rope shoulder has a prominent ridge at the shoulder seam, and this ridge runs along the front crown of the sleeve. What I call a continental shoulder (not pictured- Canali, some Zegna, many European makers) will be flat at the shoulder seam but have a ridge along the front of the crown- the seams have been pressed toward the sleeve. A natural shoulder is flat at the shoulder seam and either flat or with a very light ridge along the front of the crown, the seams have been opened. A bald shoulder is knocked down at the shoulder seam and along the front of the sleeve and has a very low, flat profile, the seams are toward the coat. Manton has covered the seam pressing things in another thread.
In theory, each of these expressions can be achieved with no shoulder padding or lots of shoulder padding. When the garments are being made or designed, it is most common that a more pronounced shoulder like a rope shoulder will have more shoulder padding than a natural shoulder, but it's not necessarily true. Also note that the word "natural shoulder" refers to its expression, and does not mean a shoulder with no padding in it- it just means a shoulder expression whose shape is rounder, and more like the shape of a person's shoulder.
What's my point?
1.\tIf you have a garment with a rope or a very square shoulder, it is not enough to take the pad out and assume that the expression will change, that it will suddenly droop down to a round, soft shoulder. You have to remove the sleeve, cut it down and remove a lot of the fullness, and you may have to open the shoulder seam as well and adjust it for a lower shoulder (really, you should) and then reset it with a different type of sleeve wadding, also specifically designed for the shoulder expression in question. To get good results at this requires a very competent tailor.
2. It is not sufficient to say "no padding" to a tailor or suitmaker and expect the expression will be soft and round- the pattern must be made like that in the first place. So if you looking for soft and round, find a tailor who knows how to do it, or find a ready-made model whose expression is what you are looking for when buying MTM. Do not expect that the expression can be adjusted when ordering an MTM garment- if you try on a suit in the store and the shoulder is more square than you like, try a different model. Period.
I thought that this was worthy of a "bump".