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New-(ish) to men's tailoring. Need some tips and advice.

SpaceFunk

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Hi all, I just have some questions regarding tailoring. I currently have 4 OTR suits (navy, navy with olive windowpane, charcoal with tan windowpane, pin stripe boucle) and one MTM suit (berry red linen 6x2 DB), please forgive me for my outrageous choices. Funnily enough, I don't even wear suits that often YET, and let's just say I'm planning for the future (I'm a musician, and hopefully I'll be attending parties and awards ceremonies of all sorts of levels, and touring all parts of the world).

I love the idea of building your own suit and having something that expresses your character - my imagination runs wild thinking of colour combinations of shirts/suits, fabrics, accessorising etc., but I also understand there is dressing for the occasion, and adhering to tailoring customs. You wear clothes to send a message, and I guess the choices I make in how I design and wear my suits is an expression of that?

So my first question: is there such thing as striking a balance between wearing something that makes you feel good/that stands out, and wearing something that adheres to traditions or rules (I see rockstars wearing trousers, vests, belts together, and that combination is a bit of rule-breaker if I remember correctly, but it is supposed to express their rebellious nature right?). Is there a fine line between looking like a mess/uninformed, and looking hip/different/cool?


Now more technical questions:
1. I want to get my first MTM cream/beige linen suit. What shade of cream is the most versatile? Wide-ish peak lapels are okay? I love the look of Cifonelli/pagoda shoulders, but would it work with this suit? (Please tell me if my ideas are atrocious) What fabric suppliers should I look at and is there such thing as linen that is higher quality, harder wearing? There are so many fabric suppliers and weights, I don't know where to start!

2. Navy (also MTM) blazer - what materials should I look at for a typical navy blazer? Are gold buttons standard? Go with notch or peak lapel? Is a 3 roll 2 button configuration acceptable?



Thank you for baring with me and reading my rant.
 

Phileas Fogg

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1) Yes you can strike a balance and yes, it is easy to go too far and look ridiculous. Rock stars can get away with it. The rest of us really cannot and should not try. Focus on something classic and basic and work on getting the fit right. Once you have fit down, then you can expand and start to wear clothes that more fit your personality.

2) As for which shade of cream, that's really hard to say. This will obviously be worn during the Summer and warmer months, so I think a lighter color, but it really depends on your preference and what looks good to you. How will you wear it? More casually? With or without a tie?

As for the fabric supplier, these are things I would discuss with the MTM shop (please tell me you're doing this in person and not online). They will have a range of fabrics to choose from. Baird McNutt is excellent but there are others. Discuss it with the tailor.

3) Gold buttons are the traditional choice but you need not be wedded to it. Pewter works just as well as does enamel. You can even do brown horn if you want to avoid the gold button blazer look. Some would argue that it would cease to be a blazer then, but so what.

As for the material, it depends on if you want something seasonal or 3 season. Hopsack is a nice warmer weather fabric. You could do doeskin for the cooler months, otherwise a nice 110 or 120 wool should work well for a 3 season fabric.

Good luck.
 

maxalex

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Hi all, I just have some questions regarding tailoring. I currently have 4 OTR suits (navy, navy with olive windowpane, charcoal with tan windowpane, pin stripe boucle) and one MTM suit (berry red linen 6x2 DB), please forgive me for my outrageous choices. Funnily enough, I don't even wear suits that often YET, and let's just say I'm planning for the future (I'm a musician, and hopefully I'll be attending parties and awards ceremonies of all sorts of levels, and touring all parts of the world).

I love the idea of building your own suit and having something that expresses your character - my imagination runs wild thinking of colour combinations of shirts/suits, fabrics, accessorising etc., but I also understand there is dressing for the occasion, and adhering to tailoring customs. You wear clothes to send a message, and I guess the choices I make in how I design and wear my suits is an expression of that?

So my first question: is there such thing as striking a balance between wearing something that makes you feel good/that stands out, and wearing something that adheres to traditions or rules (I see rockstars wearing trousers, vests, belts together, and that combination is a bit of rule-breaker if I remember correctly, but it is supposed to express their rebellious nature right?). Is there a fine line between looking like a mess/uninformed, and looking hip/different/cool?


Now more technical questions:
1. I want to get my first MTM cream/beige linen suit. What shade of cream is the most versatile? Wide-ish peak lapels are okay? I love the look of Cifonelli/pagoda shoulders, but would it work with this suit? (Please tell me if my ideas are atrocious) What fabric suppliers should I look at and is there such thing as linen that is higher quality, harder wearing? There are so many fabric suppliers and weights, I don't know where to start!

2. Navy (also MTM) blazer - what materials should I look at for a typical navy blazer? Are gold buttons standard? Go with notch or peak lapel? Is a 3 roll 2 button configuration acceptable?



Thank you for baring with me and reading my rant.
Much boils down to personal style and choice. Had you said you were a lawyer it would be more obvious to hew to rules. But you are a musician and thus don’t need to fit in to an office culture, or worry what clients (or juries) think of you. I am a writer; I wear what I like.

In addition, what might look over the top on one person can be worn easily by another. That depends on your attitude, confidence and sense of style.

Heavier linens last longer and wrinkle less, but are not as cool. It’s a choice. Be aware that many linens stain from sweat—meaning the stain doesn’t disappear when it dries, like a plain water stain. It will come out fine in the dry cleaners, but that leaves you needing to launder the suit quite often if you sweat around the collar or armpits.

Metallic buttons are standard on navy blazers in the US, less so here in Europe where they are often horn of a contrasting color. A double breasted blazer is fine; your choice. I avoid single breasted peak lapels which to my eye look like bat wings.

As others point out, good tailors will have a range of fabric samples. Grab the fabric and ball it up, hold for a few seconds, then let go; it should not stay wrinkled. (This test does not apply to linen.) Good luck.
 

soto_nw

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Hi all, I just have some questions regarding tailoring. I currently have 4 OTR suits (navy, navy with olive windowpane, charcoal with tan windowpane, pin stripe boucle) and one MTM suit (berry red linen 6x2 DB), please forgive me for my outrageous choices. Funnily enough, I don't even wear suits that often YET, and let's just say I'm planning for the future (I'm a musician, and hopefully I'll be attending parties and awards ceremonies of all sorts of levels, and touring all parts of the world).

I love the idea of building your own suit and having something that expresses your character - my imagination runs wild thinking of colour combinations of shirts/suits, fabrics, accessorising etc., but I also understand there is dressing for the occasion, and adhering to tailoring customs. You wear clothes to send a message, and I guess the choices I make in how I design and wear my suits is an expression of that?

So my first question: is there such thing as striking a balance between wearing something that makes you feel good/that stands out, and wearing something that adheres to traditions or rules (I see rockstars wearing trousers, vests, belts together, and that combination is a bit of rule-breaker if I remember correctly, but it is supposed to express their rebellious nature right?). Is there a fine line between looking like a mess/uninformed, and looking hip/different/cool?


Now more technical questions:
1. I want to get my first MTM cream/beige linen suit. What shade of cream is the most versatile? Wide-ish peak lapels are okay? I love the look of Cifonelli/pagoda shoulders, but would it work with this suit? (Please tell me if my ideas are atrocious) What fabric suppliers should I look at and is there such thing as linen that is higher quality, harder wearing? There are so many fabric suppliers and weights, I don't know where to start!

2. Navy (also MTM) blazer - what materials should I look at for a typical navy blazer? Are gold buttons standard? Go with notch or peak lapel? Is a 3 roll 2 button configuration acceptable?



Thank you for baring with me and reading my rant.

I'd agree broadly with @Phileas Fogg and @maxalex - I think you can go too far, but ultimately clothing is an expression and you have to do what works and feels right, for you.

Now non of the following is a hard and fast rule, and is purely my opinion an an attempt to help. Do with it what you will.

1) I think a good heavy linen will drape better, but see what the MTM shop has (if they are any good they will steer you in the right direction). It sounds like, at least stylistically, cream might fit in better with your aesthetic and you can combine it pretty well with casual shirts, prints, and fabrics (like denim). I'd say an off-white with just a tint of yellow/tan, think like a yellowish white eggshell. I also think cream can work well with solid ties, or interesting patterns in summer pastels. With that said I think if you have room to play with beige, I've always felt that lighter beiges feel much more traditional, but vacation-y, while a darker hue might be different enough without standing out too much (also lets you play more with reds and rust colors).

In terms of the shoulder, I think if you go the beige route I'd steer clear as it provides a lot of presence on such a relaxed tone. The pagoda shoulder might work better with a cream color, since it will stand out more anyway, but it depends on how you intend to use it. If you would want to use a cream jacket as a stand out piece to pair with a plain denim shirt and a plain tie, maybe a subtle pattern tie like repp or macclesfield neat (or no tie) then the pagoda could work. If you plan on mixing a cream jacket with a lot of loud patterns, then I would stay away for fear of it looking too much like a costume or like Im screaming to be noticed.

Lapel: Depends...more beige I'd stick with a wider notch lapel. Cream, also depends. If it's not with a pagoda shoulder, then notch (unless it really just is "your thing", the notch just helps keep the rest of the jacket subtle enough to wear with more exciting items)....if you do a pagoda shoulder, then maybe you can play with a wider peak, but honestly that depends on you, you're aesthetic and how comfortable you feel with that much of a statement piece. I see nothing wrong with a cream peak lapel jacket with a pagoda shoulder if that's going to be the loudest part of your outfit and makes you feel confident as hell. Might look off though if it's paired with a lot of other loud pieces (though might work with some accessories here and there).

2) On the Navy Blazer, I think hopsack would be a great choice. Here I'd stay closer to notch, just for versatility, unless peak lapels are just really "your thing". Gold buttons are standard here in the US, but I think the pewter suggestion is absolutely wonderful. More silver toned buttons can work. I've even seen suits with mother of pearl buttons (which can be white, dark grey, navy, etc.), you have room to play. 3 roll 2 would look nice.
 
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Don't buy for the future. Buy for now and in a way that will carry you into the future.

I know because I've been there and made that mistake.
 

johng70

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Don't buy for the future. Buy for now and in a way that will carry you into the future.

I know because I've been there and made that mistake.
Exactly. You've already got suits you don't even wear. Spending big money on another, more expensive suit that you don't wear makes little sense. Instead of focusing on the style choices for 5 days out of the year, focus your attention on the style choices for the other 360 days. If and when you make it big, you'll have ample opportunity to buy new clothing.
 

soto_nw

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I just wanted to add the following comment based on some of the other comments on here.

Regarding your suits, it completely depends on you and your plan for something. Regardless what you buy, you should have a plan about how you're going to wear it, and what situations you're going to wear it in.

I think there is value going the more traditional route, like buying a hopsack navy suit with notch lapels in a nice cut. However, you also have to do what you feel comfortable with. Don't do the safe thing if it's not you and you're not going to wear it. It sounds like you want to mix classic with fashion-forwardness - if so maybe it means getting a few peak lapels on some classic looking suits and may not wear what most people would consider "classic tailoring."

Do what makes you feel comfortable, as long as you know you will wear it.
 

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