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Valentino Suits/Short Man Woe

november

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I just purchased a Valentino suit in dark blue, two-button,one-vent,with pants with one-pleat. IT defnitely has more of a pinched waist compared to American suits. I haven't received
it yet as is it getting altered but I was surprised how well it
fit me as usually I need to alter suits a lot as I would be shopping in the petite section for men if there was one.

Speaking of small, the salesperson kept mentionning to me that I needed to wear a suit with broad shoulders in order to
look bigger. It's funny because I am 5'5 but I am pretty athletic yet I can only wear size 36 or 38S suits. Slim pickings
for sure.
I hope to go to Asia where I might get a bigger variety or in Italy. However, North American stores seem not to care much for the Danny de Vito set. One day, I'll go the custom suit
route when I can afford it.


I now know what not to wear. I don't look at all in 3-button suits. 2-vent-suits are not for me as I have soccer player butt. Armani is DEFINITELY for me. I felt very sloppy in one.
 

johnw86

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I feel your pain. I, too, wear "short" (although not a 36-38...). I have a hard time with the Italian designers and cuts because the jackets tend to run too long for me--and I need the fuller cut of the American style. I'm right with you on the 3-button thing, though. I have short legs, and the 3-button suit makes my torso look even longer and my legs even shorter.
 

Manton

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DO NOT get a broad shouldered suit if you are short. A high-shouldered suit is fine, good even. A nice pitched shoulder raises your overal silhouette. But the shoulder should end right on the deltiod.

Number of buttons is less important than where they are. You want a high gorge, high waist, high button stance, high everything. Except pockets. It's a nice touch to let the front pockets be a little lower than normal; it stretches the coat out and elongates your body. And you need as a short a coat as you can bear, not one centimeter past your butt.
 

FCS

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A nice pitched shoulder raises your overal silhouette.
Manton, what do you mean by a pitched shoulder? Something like a 'pagoda-shaped' sleevehead?
 

Manton

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Yes. But it's not enough that it curves upward at the end. The overall shoulderline should also be high. This requires a reasonably thick pad, which many dandies are loath to consider. But it works wonders for the short man.
 

november

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Thank you Manton for the suggestions.
The suit I bought does have a pitched shoulder from what
I remember. The shoulder also has a feature
that a neophyte like me found interesting: the stitching
is not parallel to the shoulder blade but instead is positionned in a way that makes it invisible when one looks at the jacket
form the front.
 

Renault78law

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The shoulder also has a feature that a neophyte like me found interesting: the stitching is not parallel to the shoulder blade but instead is positionned in a way that makes it invisible when one looks at the jacket form the front.
I noticed that my Jil Sander suit is the same way
 

Tyto

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Manton is dead-on about shoulder width--A salesman once tried to convince me to buy a jacket that made me look like a horrible marriage of Wellington and DeVito. The few suits I own have a fair bit of padding, though, and it definitely works, although I like the feel of a more natural shoulder and will probably go in that direction.

I'm 5'7" and a 36 short, as well. Oh, to be able to fit into a 38: the options at 38 grow exponentially. As it is, I can't seem to find anything between the Men's Wearhouse price point and about $800-$900 that is of good quality. And even when 36s are available, the selection seems sparse (maybe 2-3 suits) at best. Even though folks 'round here and at Andy's frown deeply on MW, at least I can point to any suit in the store and say, "please find one of those for me in a 36s."

I guess I'm on edge because I just spent a frustrating weekend chasing suits at sales (BB, Polo, etc.) in Beverly Hills and Pasadena, hoping to find something in the $500 range. Unfortunately, the wonderful-looking grey flannels ($498 on sale at BB) that I was chasing don't come smaller than 38, or the salesman simply didn't want to order them for me. The one suit BB carries in a 36 (Brooksease, and then only if you're lucky enough to find one) seems to me to be little more than a Men's Wearhouse suit with a BB label and a bad drape.

Are we shorter and narrower folk doomed to pay full price for a decent suit, outside of a lucky find? Do you folks have much luck at specific places?
 

Manton

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You mean the stitching of the sleevehead or the shoulder topseam on the coat?
 

Renault78law

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Speaking for my Jil Sander, I was referring to the shoulder topseam.  It starts at the collar in the usual place, but runs slightly backward, hitting the armhole a few inches on the posterior side.  Is this a fashion suit feature?  What do you think it does to the shape of the shoulder?

edit: if my description is unclear, i may be able to take a pic
 

Manton

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Speaking for my Jil Sander, I was referring to the shoulder topseam.  It starts at the collar in the usual place, but runs slightly backward, hitting the armhole a few inches on the posterior side.  Is this a fashion suit feature?  What do you think it does to the shape of the shoulder?
That means that the suit has a small backneck measurement. That is, the distance from the center back seam to the shoulder seam, up where the back meets the collar, is quite short. This adds fullness to the shoulder over the blades, and makes for a more comfortable, better draping suit. This is a halmark of the Scholte/A&S/Naples/Drape cut. Highly desireble, if you like that silhouette. I sure do.
 

Renault78law

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Thank you very much, Manton - I learned something today.
 

novalis

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Gentlemen, I too wear a 36S and fully commiserate. I have posted a new topic for short, slim men. Perhaps we can learn from each other's experiences about which stores and brands fit well.
 

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