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Advice needed

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am getting my first custom suit done, and after reading johnnynorman's experience I was wondering if I could get some suggestions on issues that I should think about and come prepared with. Please list everything you can think of no matter how obvius it may seem. I really appreciate it.
post #2 of 20
Jacket - Lapel width - Gorge height - Real or false lapel buttonhole - Button stance (high, normal, low) - Breast pocket height (high, normal, low) - Shoulder padding - Armholes (tight, normal, loose) - Sleeve taper/circumference - Real or false sleeve buttonholes - Number of sleeve buttons - Sleevel buttons normal or "kissing" - Jetted or flapped pockets - Single, double, or no vents - Jacket length (long, normal, short) - Inside pockets (up to you) Many of these options depend on your own body shape. Trousers (lot more simple) - Button or zipper fly - Pockets (on the seam or slightly angled) - Rear pockets (both buttoned, one buttoned) - Fork height (tight, normal, loose) - Leg taper - Leg width - Cuffed (height of cuff) or plain - Single, double, or no pleats, forward or reverse - Square latch, latch with button loop (that thing above the fly that closes the rest, I don't know the proper name for it) - Belt loops or brace buttons ... and that's all I can think of right from the top of my head. Edit: You might want to consider the silhouette that's best for you. You can use a RTW suit that you like as a base model. Your first suit probably won't have EVERYTHING you want it to have, simply because 1) you forget some detail or fail to prompt for it, or 2) the guy making it forgets or fails to ask. Communication is KEY. Guidelines I use: I'm short. I'm thin. My jacket therefore has the following: - Lapel width: A little more than half the space between the edge of the "V" and the shoulder seam - Gorge height: Very high - Real or false lapel buttonhole: Real (of course&#33 - Button stance (high, normal, low): High two-button, with the topmost button a little above my natural waist. - Breast pocket height (high, normal, low): Normal, but my next one will be a quarter-inch higher because I'm picky. - Shoulder padding: Minimal. - Armholes (tight, normal, loose): Tight, meaning high. - Sleeve taper/circumference: More so than usual, thanks to my thin wrists. - Real or false sleeve buttonholes: Real. But this is entirely up to you. I chose real because I think the false ones look a bit too goofy, or at least the way they make false ones over here. - Number of sleeve buttons: 4, but this has nothing to do with my body shape. - Sleevel buttons normal or "kissing": Same here, nothing to do with my body shape. But I like kissing buttons. - Jetted or flapped pockets: Flapped, because that's what Flusser recommends and because I sort of like them. - Single, double, or no vents: I always go double. The vents end right at the height of my pockets. - Jacket length (long, normal, short): Short. I hate how longer jackets make me look. - Inside pockets (up to you): I don't use them much for anything. I think I have two regular buttoned pockets, one pen pocket, and one for a cell phone or something. Remember: If you're getting a short, fitted jacket, get pants that either break lightly or rest on the top of your shoe. If you're going for a more roomy fit, get roomier trousers with a larger break. Nothing is more awkward than seeing a guy with a roomy jacket wearing rail-thin trousers. The whole idea is to make the transition from jacket to trousers a consistent one.
post #3 of 20
As anyone who reads Ask Andy knows, I am getting my first suit done at Centofanti. Though I have not seen the final product, the first selection went very smoothly because I sought the advice of the forum and arrived with a list of things I wanted and pictures. Ravis Tailors and James and James have nice sketches of various jacket models you can select from. I suggest that in case the tailor you choose has a good selection of fabrics, you should go with basic ideas about what kind of fabric you want in terms of weight and texture. Another thing to think about is the type of tailor. Centofanti was the kind of guy who was willing to explain everything and also has his own style, from which he did not want to deviate so much. In my case, that was probably a good thing for my first suit. So, you might want to pick a more expensive tailor with an established reputation, just because the first bespoke experience is such a lesson. I think, for example, that I am in a better position now to "get adventurous" with my next suit.
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Ravis Tailors and James and James have nice sketches of various jacket models you can select from.
Does James and James have a website with those sketches? dan
post #5 of 20
Yes, that was the point.
post #6 of 20
The link to James and James of Savile Row.
post #7 of 20
Thanks for the link. A Google search for "james and james tailor" returned lots and lots of unrelated pages. dan
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Jacket - Lapel width - Gorge height - Real or false lapel buttonhole - Button stance (high, normal, low) - Breast pocket height (high, normal, low) - Shoulder padding - Armholes (tight, normal, loose) - Sleeve taper/circumference - Real or false sleeve buttonholes - Number of sleeve buttons - Sleevel buttons normal or "kissing" - Jetted or flapped pockets - Single, double, or no vents - Jacket length (long, normal, short) - Inside pockets (up to you) Many of these options depend on your own body shape. Trousers (lot more simple) - Button or zipper fly - Pockets (on the seam or slightly angled) - Rear pockets (both buttoned, one buttoned) - Fork height (tight, normal, loose) - Leg taper - Leg width - Cuffed (height of cuff) or plain - Single, double, or no pleats, forward or reverse - Square latch, latch with button loop (that thing above the fly that closes the rest, I don't know the proper name for it) - Belt loops or brace buttons ... and that's all I can think of right from the top of my head. Edit: You might want to consider the silhouette that's best for you. You can use a RTW suit that you like as a base model. Your first suit probably won't have EVERYTHING you want it to have, simply because 1) you forget some detail or fail to prompt for it, or 2) the guy making it forgets or fails to ask. Communication is KEY. Guidelines I use: I'm short. I'm thin. My jacket therefore has the following: - Lapel width: A little more than half the space between the edge of the "V" and the shoulder seam - Gorge height: Very high - Real or false lapel buttonhole: Real (of course&#33 - Button stance (high, normal, low): High two-button, with the topmost button a little above my natural waist. - Breast pocket height (high, normal, low): Normal, but my next one will be a quarter-inch higher because I'm picky. - Shoulder padding: Minimal. - Armholes (tight, normal, loose): Tight, meaning high. - Sleeve taper/circumference: More so than usual, thanks to my thin wrists. - Real or false sleeve buttonholes: Real. But this is entirely up to you. I chose real because I think the false ones look a bit too goofy, or at least the way they make false ones over here. - Number of sleeve buttons: 4, but this has nothing to do with my body shape. - Sleevel buttons normal or "kissing": Same here, nothing to do with my body shape. But I like kissing buttons. - Jetted or flapped pockets: Flapped, because that's what Flusser recommends and because I sort of like them. - Single, double, or no vents: I always go double. The vents end right at the height of my pockets. - Jacket length (long, normal, short): Short. I hate how longer jackets make me look. - Inside pockets (up to you): I don't use them much for anything. I think I have two regular buttoned pockets, one pen pocket, and one for a cell phone or something. Remember: If you're getting a short, fitted jacket, get pants that either break lightly or rest on the top of your shoe. If you're going for a more roomy fit, get roomier trousers with a larger break. Nothing is more awkward than seeing a guy with a roomy jacket wearing rail-thin trousers. The whole idea is to make the transition from jacket to trousers a consistent one.
Wow. I think that Alias' post really should be placed in a FAQ somewhere.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Alias, thank you very much for such a comprehensive list.
post #10 of 20
I second the idea of making it an FAQ. Off the top of my head I would add jacket lining, both material, color/pattern, and extent (full, half, etc.) and pant lining.
post #11 of 20
I agree with the FAQ concept. Some other options to include in such a FAQ (and noting my agreement with BGW by reproduction below): Jacket: amount of waist suppression; undarted (e.g. Brooks Brothers sack suit) vs darted; angled vs. straight pockets; ticket pocket or none; fully lined vs quarter-, half-, or unlined; plain lining material or "fancy" lining (or combo of solid body lining/striped sleeve lining); Trousers: watch pocket in or below the waistband; internal change pocket in the lining of one or both front pockets; add the option of side tabs to the "belt loops vs brace buttons" option; high or low rise;
post #12 of 20
Boy. You guys really know how to confuse someone and make a mountain out of a mole hill. Go to your tailor and tell him you are a novice at this sort of thing. If the tailor is any good he will guide you through your choices from fabric selection to style based on the answers you give to the question he should ask. Most tailors have a list of questions they go through, in my case in strict rotation, so that nothing gets overlooked. Ask as many questions as you like during this process as some of the tailors questions should prod your mind to ask something you had thought of previously. If you go in witha shopping list of wants, especially on a first go round, you will definitely come unstuck. I had a client who came to see me a number of years ago when I used to visit the states and before I moved here. he was most insistant on his fabroc selection and I tried everything I could to change his mind. He would not listen and thought I had motives outside his best interest. I made the suit and he has only worn it twice in, probably, over twenty years. He came back and admitted his mistake and was happy to be guided by me until he had some sort of clue as to what he was asking for and getting himself into. He is stilla client. So, have your ideas and mention them, but listen to what your tailor tells you..Most will tell you the truth.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Do you think if I came in with a list like this that I would come off as a jerk? Or should I just cut it down to a few key points and trust the tailor from there?
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Do you think if I came in with a list like this that I would come off as a jerk? Or should I just cut it down to a few key points and trust the tailor from there?
Not as a jerk, just as an obsessive-compulsive noob.  Most of the other contributors to this thread are just obsessive-compulsive, not noobs. Len is correct that you can quickly make mountains of molehills here.  However, it helps to have some general idea of what style you like so that you can (1) pick a tailor who is comfortable working in that style and (2) correctly direct that tailor.  When I say "general idea" it could be as simple as "I really like Brooks Brothers sack suits" or "I really hate Brooks Brothers sack suits and I want something more form fitting."  The problem comes up when you don't know for sure what you want, and your tailor isn't much help.  Some tailors have a house style and will guide you well, others have no firm style and offer little guidance. The first time I ordered a custom suit, I told them I wanted an English-style suit with slanted pockets and a ticket pocket.  Every other detail was determined by the fitter's interview of me, in which he either asked me what I wanted, or told me what he would do unless otherwise directed.  I also told them in general terms what kind of cloth I wanted, and they ran me through some choices.  So even though I can tell you the details of the end product, it's not like I went in with a shopping list.  While it helps to know some of these terms and options in case you want to do something different, what you don't know or understand isn't going to hurt you.  It just might help you pick something different that you really like.
post #15 of 20
One interesting look, which I saw when I had the opportunity to meet the owner of a very old tailoring firm: a suit of which the jacket has neither a breast pocket nor a lapel buttonhole -on his very own suit, the suit he was wearing that day. His jacket had three sleeve buttons, without functional buttonholes. Talk about a minimalist approach.
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