Let's face it—most men don't enjoy shopping for clothes. But there's something transformative about putting on a suit that fits you flawlessly. It can make your shoulders look broad and muscular, your waist looks trim and athletic, and give you the appearance of an extra few inches in height. A well-tailored suit conveys refinement, sophistication, and, most importantly, confidence.
So, how do you find that perfect bespoke suit that makes you look and feel like a million bucks? Don't worry; we have got you covered.
Get the Trouser Length Right
This aspect is where most men—yes, even the celebrity types we see on the red carpet—mess up when it comes to a tailored suit. Resist the urge to wear overly long, baggy pant that piles up around your ankles or shoes. Not only does it make your proportions look off and shorten your overall silhouette, but it looks messy and sloppy.
Instead, aim for trousers with a "quarter break" or "half break." This method means the bottom of the pants lightly grazes the top of your shoe, with just a subtle break in the line of the leg. It's a timeless look that elongates your frame for a polished finish. Remember, the beauty is in the subtle details of bespoke tailoring.
Ensure Your Shoulders Fit Perfectly
If the shoulder fit is off in a suit jacket, it throws everything out of whack. Tailors will tell you that the shoulders are the most complex area to alter appropriately on a pre-existing jacket. Get it wrong, and you'll ruin the garment.
When trying on a suit, the shoulder seams should align perfectly with the end of your natural shoulder, hugging it smoothly without strain. It should feel like an extension of your body. If it pulls across your upper back or front chest area, it's too tight. If there is any extra material causing it to look oversized and sag down your arm, it's too big.
Getting the shoulder dimensions tailored accurately is the most crucial step for achieving that coveted sleek silhouette. Most off-the-rack jackets won't get this right unless you are lucky with your sizing. Opting for custom will ensure a precise shoulder fit every time.
Nail the Sleeve Length
Besides too-long pants and poor shoulder alignment, oversized suit jacket sleeves are another trouble area for achieving an impeccable fit. Your sleeves should hit right around where your wrist meets your hand, revealing just a hint of shirt cuff peeking out from underneath. About a quarter to half an inch is ideal, depending on your proportions and style preferences.
If unattractive bunching occurs around your knuckles, that's a red flag. It's too long in the sleeves. Quick fixes include shortening from the cuff up and repositioning functional buttons farther down to take in the length. More complicated adjustments are required if working sleeve buttons already exist. But in most cases, some precise tailoring can remedy this issue.
Beware the Dreaded Collar Gap
You might not spot this readily from your point of view when assessing a suit jacket's fit, but everyone else will surely notice. I'm talking about the dreaded open space that appears between the collar of your shirt and the collar of your jacket. It creates an unflattering, disjointed effect instead of a clean line.
Several factors can cause collar gaps, from poor posture to a low-button stance. In minor cases, an experienced tailor can help minimize the issue through clever easing and steaming. But if the gap is prominent, reconsider that jacket unless your tailor confirms the required alterations are within their skill level to fix it. You want to avoid throwing money at a lost cause.
Define Your Waist
Most off-the-rack suit jackets are cut full in the midsection to accommodate the broadest range of body types. But if you have an athletic physique, this excess material around your waist can create an unshapely, boxy silhouette. Bring in that waist for definition—within reason for mobility—so your jacket follows the contours of your torso.
A good guideline: when buttoned, you should be able to slip a closed fist between your body and the jacket's interior. Much tighter, and the range of motion suffers. It is much looser, and you lose that sharp V-shaped effect a tailored waist creates. It's a delicate balance only a skilled tailor will get right.
Taper and Trim Excess Fabric
Consider tapering your suit jacket sleeves and pant legs for an even sharper silhouette. This sleeker cut visually elongates your limbs. However, slimming areas like sleeves complicate the tailor's job. Ensure the suit's internal lining and construction integrity when completing this task.
But in the hands of a true expert artisan, these adjustments can take a suit's aesthetic to the next level. Experiment with different styles and cuts to find one that suits your tastes and lifestyle demands. The most bespoke suits walk that fine line between art and versatility.
Choose a Reputable Tailor
Even with all this knowledge about fit and alterations, it only matters if you have access to an exceptional tailor. They make all the difference between an average suit and one that transcends into that echelon of "perfect." Do your research. Ask trusted friends for referrals: vet reviews and portfolios. Finding the right tailor for you is the first step in making your dream suit.
The rest of the process comes down to communicating exactly what you want, having reasonable expectations on cost and time investments, and then putting your trust in the master craftsman you select.