Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Longmorn, Feb 3, 2013.
I couldn't agree more. +1
If you are new to bespoke, the first thing you need to realize is that 95% of the styling decisions are made the moment you pick a tailor. There's a reason a Huntsman looks like a Huntsman or a Rubinacci looks like a Rubinacci. The belly of the lapel happens to be one of the styling features most ingrained in the DNA of a tailor. If you like the shape of a Rubinacci lapel, for example, you will go through a lot of heartache trying to get Huntsman to replicate it--even if they are willing to, it will likely not look as you imagine, and they are likely not to make any number of minor changes necessary to integrate it as ideally as in your head. I realize you like the way Spoo's lapels look in that photo, but they are actually poorly executed. Please read my previous explanation. That's how easy things can go wrong. Just ask Vox how long it took and how hard it was to get Steed, an excellent tailor and eager to please, to round the lines of his patch pockets the way Italians do--and that's a strictly standalone change, unlike lapel shape. Nothing I've ordered from Rubinacci has ever come out exactly as expected, and they're decent tailors, too. Take a look at older discussions here, from when members who had bespoke experience used to actively participate. I can't remember anyone ever trying to get his tailor to fine-tune a lapel belly.
Also, please understand that proportioning and structuring a jacket around a fixed lapel width and length is lunacy. When you are first fitted, the tailor will determine where the jacket should be buttoned as according to your waist. The lapels will be unfinished and can be adjusted in width and gorge to then be harmonious. You might as well decide how high you want your breast pocket to be, then determine your buttoning point around that. It is highly unusual to move this point on future jackets. The lapels will be changed to accommodate it, not the other way around.
Don't mistake prudence for disinterest. Your tailor is a tailor, not a fashion designer. Bespoke is not about getting whatever you want, but about getting something done right. Not the same thing at all. It's better to learn this upfront than go in with false expectations. You and your tailor will be much happier that way.
Show your tailor a picture of lapels you like and lapels you don't like and then step back. Be specific about what you like and don't like. Don't expect him to see the same thing you see without explaining it to him.
Rarely think hacking pockets look good. The shape of the jacket can enhance the look of hacking pockets but not the other way around. In the same way the shape of a lapel, shape of a shawl lapel or button position can work or not work, the angle and height of hacking pockets make it or break it.
If I get chance I'll post some.
All my SBPL have been made by 2 tailors. All 1B. I would have to compare them, but I haven't noticed any real variance between them to be honest. I would notice if they were extreme.
If you are on the fence about the ticket pocket ask your tailor to stick pieces of cloth on the jacket to simulate the pocket flaps during fitting. See how you feel.about them. Good tailoring is about communication between tailor and client.
I would consider the chalkstipe to be a city cloth, but not the windowpane. Others may disagree with this. A City cloth to me is about pattern and colour not weight.
The Huntsman cut has an equestrian influence, longer coat, nipped waist, so a sporty look is part of its DNA. So it works and it looks good.
A suit with a bit of dash and very English. I approve.
Are you considering Huntsman?
Thanks, Chris - this is precisely how I've proceeded to date with good results. I posted my questions here in part to help me better articulate my stylistic preferences.
Interesting point about hacking pockets. I'm torn between either A) just sticking to regular flap pockets, or B) leaving the decision up to Will based on what he thinks will work best with the rest of the coat.
Great suggestion on the pockets. And could not agree more that good communication is key - in tailoring as in so many things.
I am not considering Huntsman at this time, for both geographic and budgetary reasons. Perhaps at some point down the road, but Field is very good and thoroughly English in his tailoring (by his own description more Poole and Huntsman). He's also very easy to work with and I'm quite pleased with the first venture, so I'm inclined to stick with him for the foreseeable future.
Mr. Field is fantastic, you are in very good hands.
Foo - suppose you like high peak lapels. Does this mean you should have a much longer jacket with peaks? Tolerate a longer line above than below the button as a necessary consequence of high peaks? Or do you view high peaks as fundamentally illegitimate?
No, the answer is that "high" is a relative term. An inch from your shoulder might make the peaks very high, where as it might be only a centimeter for me since I'm very short. One of the main things that makes bespoke worthwhile is that everything can be scaled appropriately for you.
After the buttoning point is established, you can then determine how wide and long the lapels should be. If you like really high peaks, the tailor might need to adjust the width accordingly on your frame so the lapels are neither to squat or too skinny. And there is always the chance the sort of lapels you have in mind simply won't work on you. Like I said, bespoke is not about getting whatever you want. It's about getting things done as right as they can be. That's why RTW examples are such a terrible starting point for guidance.
I respect where Chris is coming from, as he's as excellent a tailor as any, but disagree very strongly with him on his advice--coming from a client point-of-view. Your tailor may be willing to study a million photos with you, but what will he walk away with exactly? You were looking at X, he thought he was looking at X, but he was really looking at Y. You may spend a million hours on Styleforum learning to better articulate what you want, but how will he interpret it and then execute it? What if he's never done the thing you're asking for? What if it looks easier than it really is? Everything can go badly very quickly. Then, you have no one to blame but yourself.
In my account of ordering my overcoat from Rubinacci, I emphasized my trepidation in asking them to do so many things in a precise way I envisioned. It took hours batting the idea around. And guess what--I love what I got, but it is not nearly 100% of what I imagined. More importantly, I went into it understanding I was going at my own risk, not working with the tailor as I usually should.
I've been seeing 1-button peak lapel a lot from Paul Stuart and Phineas Cole. Not exactly CBD, but I'd be curious to hear opinions on the button stance and lapel width of their stuff.
Those I'd say are very high lapels, high buttoning pt, and short jacket.
I'd prefer slightly lower peaks, wider lapels, lower buttoning point, and longer jacket.
That model has huge hands.
I really like a lot about Phineas Cole, however, the jackets are way too short (as well as the button stance too high) and I don't like the hacking pockets. I do like the shoulder and the slimness, however. I'm a 38L, and a "38 Extra Tall" was somewhat an acceptable length when I tried them on... still short though. The lapels could be wider as well.
Really hate those. Lapel peaks are too peaky--they graze the shoulder line. Too skinny for peaks, too. Buttoning point seams high to me.
Funny, skinny, high buttoning, peak-lapeled jackets were all the rage five years ago. Then kaput. Gone. Now they're back apparently. At least at Paul Stuart.
Mafoo - I understand your points, and appreciate your effort in writing. I understand your point about the fundamental structural components and the balance between them and don't disagree. I also agree with you about asking an Italian tailor to emulate an English style or vice versa. You seem to be advocating an approach that involves placing oneself entirely in the hands of the tailor.
However...I work with Field because he's an English tailor, and the level of variation I'm thinking about is well within the bounds of that aesthetic lexicon. For example, I can see a number of differences between the two Huntsman coats I posted that, while subtle, add up to quite a big difference in overall impression, IMO. These include the width of the lapels, the button point in relation to the narrowest point of the waist, the position of the pockets, and the degree to which the lapels conform to a consistent curve to the button point (top) or curve in more sharply at an inflection point (bottom) (although this may be an artifact of buttoned vs unbuttoned).
I don't intend to be doctrinaire or overly dictatorial with Field, as I have every confidence in his ability to deliver a great suit (and evidence to that fact hanging in my closet). But I do want to be able to articulate the aesthetic concept I'm after in a way that is accurate and meaningful. Perhaps belly is not the right metric - perhaps it's the overall shape of the lapel.
In any case, thanks.
The Phineas Cole jackets also demonstrate part of what I'm trying to pin down - lapels of the same maximum width can have different shapes, and beyond the basic shape can have more or less belly. Presumably these are stylistic decisions that can and should be the subject of discussion between a client and tailor.
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