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Bespoke balance study: lapel width

voxsartoria

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The dapper young Rubinacci client, mafoofan, who is always generous with sharing both his experiences and photographs of what he wears, just posted photographs of recently completed bespoke jackets and a fine double-breasted flannel suit.

Let me just start out by saying that anyone would be lucky to be exercising such taste in the flesh, and when you take into account that M. is only recently out of school, it is all the more remarkable that he embodies such confidence in tailored clothes.

iammatt and he are two of the better known Rubinacci clients who post in this forum, and the response that each gets is always very interesting. iammatt's Rubinacci works appear to near universal acclaim. Yet, when others post their Rubinacci products...particularly mafoofan...the reactions are more mixed (which is actually that I expect from a bespoke garment because the nature of its individualization is not going to appeal to everyone).

Now, the reaction to M's recently posted commissions are varied.

So, as an example of how we might assess the particulars of a bespoke garment, the question that I ask today is: in a bespoke jacket, should lapel width be static or be somewhat proportional to the stature of the bespeaker (or dude, if you prefer).

Let's start with this mosaic, which takes different photographs of Rubinacci jackets and makes then comparitively uniform in dimensions:



From the upper left, and then going counterclockwise, we have iammatt in a 3 hard roll 2, mafoofan in a jacket with lapels rolling above a single button close, mafoofan in a Donegal jacket with a roll straight to a single button close, and finally, mafoofan in a double-breasted jacket with peaked lapels. Please pay particular attention to how close the edge of the lapels are to the transition from chest to shoulder.

My opinion is the following:

1. The balance of the lapel to shoulder on iammatt is what I like to see and is what I order up for my own stuff (not Rubinacci).

2. The balance of the lapel to shoulder on mafoofan in the lower left is also good, even though you can tell that mafoofan is of smaller physical stature than iammatt.

3. The balance of the lapel to shoulder on mafoofan in the upper right in the DB is also correct for me...I expect and want fuller lapels on DB jackets for myself, and I expect a peaked lapel to extend closer to the shoulder than a notch lapel on the same man.

4. But, the lapel on mafoofan's jacket on the lower right is wider than I would like. I goes past the center point of the left chest of his jacket...in fact, it appears to be so wide on the chest that it competes with, and even surpasses, the peaked DB lapel.

I tried to come up with a theory that would explain why the bottom two jackets look so different. It's not a mystery...the one in the lower left has a bit of roll above the buttoning point while the one on the right rolls hard and straight to the button. The higher roll, with a lapel cut the same way, pulls in the lapel compared to the same cut rolled lower. iammatt points out in another thread that it is stylistically typical for a Rubinacci to have a hard roll.

If so, my conclusion is that the SB lapels for mafoofan are too wide for my taste (emphasis on the last phrase). If a hard roll to the buttoning point is the Rubinacci intention, and it seems that it is, the jacket in the lower left escapes being too wide only by defying that intended roll: it rolls above the button in that photograph.

Your conclusion might be different, for example, that lapel with should be invariate with respect to physical statures.

Here are the full photographs to see the jackets in context.

Mafoofan: SB Donegal



Mafoofan: DB flannel



Mafoofan: SB tweed



iammatt: chest hair restrained by three layers of fabric



What are your opinons.



- B
 

TheFoo

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Well, this is going to be interesting . . .

I'd like to point out that I suffer the distinct disadvantage of having my head plainly attached to my body--and in my case, the disadvantage is not a small one.
 

Skyler

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I leave the various aesthetic and technical details to my betters but, Voxsatoria, this is one damn fine thread: well written, researched and thought through.

A great service to the Republic.
 

itsstillmatt

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I saw that Will, you prick!

Interesting that the shoulders are a bit different too, but I think that has to do with the fabric of the particular jacket I am wearing.

Good thread, you persistent bastard.
 

yachtie

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iammatt is is a better position to be a role-model for lapel width than mafoofan. The theorizing being that lapel width has to balance shoulder width and head/neck size. Generally, wider lapels look better on larger (broader) people and narrower on more slightly built people with all else being in porportion. Since 'fan's DB naturally visually extends his shoulders the wider lapels "look better" than the corresponding lapel width on the wider-lapelled SB.

$.02.
 

Holdfast

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Originally Posted by voxsartoria
My opinion is the following...

I agree with all 4 points you made. mafoofan's SB lapels just look a bit less elegant than the DB ones, and I think it's because they're proportionately even wider. If this has been done deliberately to counterbalance other physical attributes, I understand this on a logical level. But just don't think it works in the pics. Of course, there is a personal taste element at play here, and the difficulty of assessing fit on still photos. But that's what I feel about it, with the information we have.
 

voxsartoria

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Originally Posted by iammatt
I saw that Will, you prick!.

Yeah, I saw it too.

Originally Posted by iammatt
Interesting that the shoulders are a bit different too, but I think that has to do with the fabric of the particular jacket I am wearing .

As you know, even the same guy from the same maker is going to get a bit of variation. Sometimes that's fabric. Sometimes the cutter decides to go a bit one way or another. And then other times, since one is getting things made as time passes, there's evolution and change.

Whether one views that as charming or annoying in bespoke depends on one's personality.

Originally Posted by iammatt
Good thread, you persistent bastard.

Hah! Well, I think that this is where discussing bespoke clothes can have a wider interest than admiration or derision. In other words, in a garment where all things can be varied, what should and what should not be?


- B
 

Connemara

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Just when I thought this place couldn't get any nerdier...
 

Willsw

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Caught. I was trying to say what Yachtie did, with far too few words. Certainly not calling anyone portly.

Confirms my motto of "there is always someone who can do/say it better".
 

voxsartoria

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Originally Posted by Holdfast
If this has been done deliberately to counterbalance other physical attributes, I understand this on a logical level. But just don't think it works in the pics.

I'm unclear if MR was doing that. I could go either way. Mafoofan himself has been fairly clear that he does not seek a normalization of his physical features from clothes. I do not picture mafoofan interacting with MR asking to look taller or shorter, slimmer or fatter, or AFAIK, bigger or smaller headed.

And yet, why such a proportionally wide lapel on the mafoofan's SB jackets, assuming as iammatt has established that the intended roll is right to the button?

I think that if MR really had a goal the accomplishment of sartorial illusions unrequested by mafoofan (which all good bespoke tailors sneak in anyway), then I might question the inconsistency of the application of that objective.

When mafoofan strolls the streets of NYC, I would guess that his Rubinacci screams bespoke (and this approach is telegraphed in the question MR asks mafoofan about being brave.)

But, if physical normalization was the goal, there is a case to be made for the whisper. If the SB lapels were done for that reason, I would like to see more of the jacket follow...well...suit.


- B
 

voxsartoria

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Originally Posted by Connemara
Just when I thought this place couldn't get any nerdier...

Hah...made you click.

Obama, McCain, class, and religion are all tapped out as subjects. I gave solutions to each problem.

I have now moved on to more interesting subjects, like this.



- B
 

TheFoo

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Bill, I hate to spoil the fun, but I think the apparent disparity in lapel widths is a bit overblown--although reasonable given the photos I've posted. On the hangers, the lapels all appear equal in width. When I look in the mirror in the morning, I notice no difference. For whatever reason, these photos imply otherwise. I surmise that some of it has to do with lighting, angle, and poor image quality. Also, the jackets were all folded up in my suitcase until very recently (all the photos taken in my apartment are extremely grainy and blurred, so the lapels might easily appear as much as a centimeter wider than they really are).

Also, while you're right that I don't want to be normalized, I think it's worth noting that making my head look smaller and coming up with lapels that match my head may wind up producing the same results even though the motivations differ.

Some time this weekend I will try to take clearer photos of the lapels--at the very least, I'll take some measurements!
 

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