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BUYING A SUIT

Long time no write! With work being incredibly busy over the last year I have sadly neglected this site. Anyway with some time on my hands I thought it a great chance to get back in the swing.

 

Over the last few months, in my 9-5 job,I have seen many suits sent to us to tailor that really should never have been sold to that customer, either the wrong size completely, the customer is completely the wrong shape for a brand’s block, the staff member at the store is trying to hard to change the style of the suit to their or the customer’s personal preference and in doing so are trying to recut the garment, and some times even sales consultants trying to adjust something out of their skill set. Now obviously I lean towards having things custom-made, but for many this is not possible, due to budget limitations, location or even simply time constraints. So what are some basic tips to make sure you aren’t being sold down the river, or having tailoring done you don’t need or won’t even notice. Some alterations are best done by a professional tailor if needed rather than having a sales consultant overstep their knowledge.

 

Starting out, it is important to remember that the person in the store is trying to SELL you something, not necessarily in your best interest, and while they want to sell you the thing that fits you best, that only applies to what they have in stock. It is good practice to know roughly what brand fits you well. For a rough guideline go back and read some of my earlier posts on dressing for your body type as these will give you a clue as what things to look for.

 

THE DEAL BREAKERS

These things are deal breakers in my mind and simply say. don’t buy this

  • Taking in shoulders or chest
  • Letting out of the chest
  • Changing the armhole shape
  • Taking in trousers more than 6cm
  • Shortening a jacket more than 3cm

All of these things suggest a much larger problem and quite simply the suit doesn’t fit you. Also they signify work required that your standard sales consultant doesn’t appreciate the complexity of or unintended consequences that can arise from such an adjustment. You are also relying then on the store having a very skilled (read expensive) tailor to do these adjustments well. This isn’t an exclusive list and trusting your judgment is important, if you think the garment is being adjusted to an unreasonable level then don’t buy it

In short if the suit (or jacket) you are trying on needs any of the above, walk away.

 

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THE BASICS

After having scared you of what to not do, the following are completely normal and should be considered standard wherever you purchase suiting

  • Trouser shortening (obvious I know)
  • Sleeve shortening
  • Lengthening of sleeves or trousers up to 4cm
  • Taking the jacket in up to 2 inches
  • Taking in trouser the waist up to 4cm
  • Letting out the trouser waist up to 4cm
  • Tapering the leg up to 2cm
  • Shortening a jacket body up to 2cm

These are all basic adjustments and can be done in store. If you are unsure at the staff members competence, the you can always take these jobs direct to your tailor of choice to have them done without fear.

 

THE TOUGH ONES

This is the group of alterations that I suggest exercising the most caution on. In skilled hands they can make the garment fit superbly, however done at the wrong time or too much can ruin a suit, or if suggested by someone who doesn’t understand completely could result in an ill-fitting garment that should never have been purchasedscreen-shot-2017-03-04-at-4-03-22-pm

  1. Squaring the neck, or Lifting the Nape. This is a very delicate job and should only be done in very specific circumstances. The client who needs this job has very sq, and usually quite boney shoulders and the collar is being pushed up creating a fold at the back of the neck IMMEDIATELY BELOW the collar. Sorry for shouting but creasing occurring lower on the back is something else completely. If you are a muscular client, do not get this job done as it will cause enormous problems, same goes if you are buying a coat that is quite snug (read tight). Even doing this adjustment may not completely cure the problem but only dissipate it. If you are unsure on this one and the problem is severe, don’t proceed
  2. Taking in of a jacket excessively. I see this all the time especially with the current look of very slim jackets. Taking in of a jacket more than 2″ is reducing the waist by more than a size and a half. If done too much it can cause issues with how vents sit at the back. Also if a jacket needs to come in this much, it quite often is too big in the front half of the jacket, and only the back panels can be reduced. This can result in a jacket although skin-tight at the back that is still too big at the front. This is quite common on big chested guys. Proceed with caution

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  1. Taking in a trouser more than  4cm. This sounds simple but if not done correctly will be a nightmare. 4cm is basically a size in most trousers, so why not get the size smaller? Some “big bootyied” people may need the waist only taken in, but it is essential that this is noted to prevent trouser from being too tight . The verdict on this is that it is ok only if the sales consultant is attentive and knowledgeable. If not, then take it directly to a tailor of your choice, but noting that if its love 8cm you may end up with a very hefty bill
  2. Slimming trousers excessively. Again with many people wanting slim trousers and suit brands having not moved as fast as fashion has, this is a common request. Slimming trousers a small amount is fine and requires minimal caution, however drastic tapering requires far more thought. Firstly wool is nowhere near as robust as a denim or cotton trouser and as such can’t be worn as tight lest it split. Equally important is that the majority of you are wearing suits for work and as such are in them for 10-15 hour stretches and really slim trousers are uncomfortable after that length of time despite what a salesperson may tell you.The other thing to note is that if you have large calves you cannot taper trousers to the same extent as the pant needs to fall over the calf not hug it, as this would cause “trumpeting”. Again it is all fine but exercise common sense
  3. Letting trouser seat out. in itself this isn’t difficult however most suit trousers only have 1-2cm in the seat which only makes a slight difference

 

 

 

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All in all it really isn’t that hard, just avoid the top group of alterations on any new purchase, and exercise caution on the bottom group.Remember  design team has been paid a lot of money to design the cut of these suits for a reason, use alterations to  augment, not transplant that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pitti Uomo 89 Day 3

Finally I have managed to find the time to write the last post on the amazing Pitti Uomo 89 held in January. In my research and reading I managed to get in contact with a great street style photographer Giacomo Mario Perotti and you can see more of his work here. Many thanks to him for the amazing selection of images he sent me, please note all copyright belongs to him and these images shouldn’t be shared without his permission. He is also a great instagram follow @giacomo_m_perotti  Enjoy!!

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The iconic Lino Ieluzzi looking very dapper as always

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Hugo Jacomet of style website Parisian Gentleman, which is a must read check it out!!

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Great use of turquoise and pattern combinations

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Loving the orange overcoat in the middle, and the double breasted vest on the right, as well as the overall dandy-ness of this group

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Love this photographers style, especially that hat!! Women can be dandys as well

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Great use of colour on the overcoat. Its a good way to ensure it goes with everything, just make it bold!!

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This scarf is fantastic, and this gentleman’s attention to detail as all the colours and textures line up beautifully

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Just pure style!

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Another bunch of incredible outfits, I love the coat on the far left

 

SUMMARY

In summary what are the key looks for people to take home?

  1. Hats are back big time. As a development of the accessories trend, hats are back in a big way, fedoras, panamas, trilbys etc are a great way to add panache to an outfit, especially in feature colours like orange and red
  2. Double breasted continues its revival and is accentuated by the variety of patterns available as well as the stronger colours men are wearing. Everything from casual sports coats to suits to overcoats are looking great in a strong DB
  3. Cuffed trousers are strong! With people wearing their trousers without a break at the shoe and the slimness present at the moment the cuff is adding a lovely highlight to the trouser line
  4. Bold accessory game. This trend is continuing from the last several seasons and shows no signs of abating. No longer do cuff-links and a watch provide enough pop. Pochettes, tie pins and bars, lapel pins, socks, bags, hats scarves, wristbands are all great ways to lift outfits and insert your personal style.

Pitti Uomo 89 Day 2

As promised here are some images from day two of Pitti 89

Here are two of Italy’s most stylish and perennial Instagram favourites, @mararomrraro and @eleosebastiani. There is nothing complex about either outfit, just superb cuts and quality. I also find the way they haven’t “couple dressed” but still have matching accessories with his gloves and her bag. Just amazing.

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Here are a group of guys with looks all on point! They are from menswear blog Gentlemen’s Fashion so definitley go there and have a look

Great reading. Love all the colour and bold textures and patterns as well as the contrast socks

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Again just a collection of incredibly dapper gentlemen. I don’t really know where to start with what is great here as it all is. Great hats and the level of accessorising is fantastic, as is the number of bold fabric choices.

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One final one for today of another Pitti mainstay Lino Ieluzzi (right), who is the definition of a dandy and once again looks amazing, despite breaking the rule matching checks of the same size and or colour is not recommended, however he nails it. I guess you to break the rules you need to know them first! I love the tones of the blues and the hint of colour from the gloves in the pocket. If you don’t follow this guy already, get onto it, @linoieluzziofficial

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I am looking forward to receiving some images in the next few days from a photographer on the ground in Florence and sharing them with you, and then sunmmarising what I think were the major trends

 

 

 

Pitti Uomo 89 Day 1

Always one of my favourite times of the year are when the menswear elite gather at Pitti Imagine in Florence.

While I would love to be there, unfortunately I am not, although hope to be next January!!, and instead I spend lots of time scouring Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest feeds for the best looks, which I want to share!!

Here are the first 4 from day 1!!  The Instagram feeds I have sourced these from are mentioned, so go on and check them out!!

This is an amazing outfit combining a beautiful teal tweed with a patterned waistcoat and button down collar. Love the level of pattern and texture coordination here!! tweed, check plain, geometric tie and paisley pochette, not easy!

From @lord_dollar

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This next look is striking. From @nmmanstore, again lovely use of jacket and pant separates. What really sets this off is the amazing wide brimmed hat!! I also love the use of a “summer” pastel jacket in winter

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Here are two epically stylish guys in bold checked suits with contrast details like lapel pins and hats. This is from @atlier. I am seriously loving seeing all these amazing hats being worn by dandys like this

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From @sandeeglam , these guys are channeling early 80’s punk with these Vivienne Westwood-esque suits. Also admiring the bowler hat!! Great looks for those willing to stand out!

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These looks aren’t for everyone or even most, but its always great to see the cutting edge in dandyism and mens style!!

 

My Satorial New Year’s Resolutions

Well as 2015 has ended and begun, many of us have made our New Year’s resolutions, I thought I would share my sartorial resolutions for the coming year and onwards. One preeminent resolution is to blog far more often after a poor year with only 5 posts!!

  1. Take better care of my shoes!

I am guilty of not ensuring my footwear is immaculate at all times. The effort in wearing a beautiful suit with a carefully cultivated shirt tie accessory combo is totally wasted when your shoes look like the one on the left!!

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2) Up my accessory game

I have long been of the mantra “less is best” when it comes to accessories. However with the plethora of amzing tie and pochette options available, and the multitude of other accessories available to the modern dandy, its wasteful not to take advantage of them more often.

 

3) Get a great pair of sunglasses

For seemingly forever I have been without this essential style piece and these stunners from Dita fit the bill I think!!

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4) Be bolder with my suits/jackets

Having the luxury of not having to tow a corporate dress code line, means I should be more adventurous with my suits although not crossing the line into crass or even worse novelty. I started this with a few fabric orders prior to Xmas as pictured below.

 

5) Get a tuxedo!!!

This is an extension of a project from mid 2015 and is well underway. I was invited to a “black tie” dinner and wrongly assumed that it would be like many other Sydney “Black Tie” functions, in which almost no-one would have a tux on, rather a crisp suit and tie. Boy was I wrong!!! The tailor was pretty much the only one in the room not in a dinner suit. This is currently being remedied and a beautiful new double breasted, grosgrain silk lapel tuxedo is due to be completed min Febuary (my garments always get finished last!!!)

6) Move away from the denim!!!

For decades men have relied on the jean as a go anywhere garment including me. This year no longer!! As several of my jeans need replacing, I shan’t be doing like for like. I, instead, will do so with cotton, linen, wool, flannel and many other more interesting options in almost all cases. Of course some jeans will still be part of the wardrobe, but no longer something I wear nearly always when not in a suit (although that is rare anyway!)Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 4.00.40 pm

7) Get some good hats

Kind of goes with the accessories comment, but in yesteryear hats weren’t just an accessory but essential. Here are a couple I would love to have

 

8) Lose some weight!!!!

None of these look any good if I am carrying 10kg too much LOL so time for the gym and a few less vinos!!!

9) Make the trip to Pitti Uomo in January 2017!!!

Enough said!!

 

Happy New year to you all, and may 2016 be filled with success and happiness!!!

THE RETURN OF THE DOUBLE BREASTED

For years the double breasted suit was considered a fashion sin as dire as flared trousers or the piano necktie! However in the last few seasons we have seen the reemergence of this classic style re-imagined for today’s style savvy man in a great new array of patterns and uses we would have cringed at merely 4 years ago. The DB has always been one of my personal favourite styles, and my first bespoke suit was a light grey pinstriped DB back in 2005. The style, when worn well, highlights the breadth of shoulder and slims the waist. There are multiple looks and styles to the DB both as a jacket and suit.

STYLES

Double breasted jackets originated before the became suits and are still the more classic of the style. However double breasted suits in my opinion are the height of elegance and style, providing a level of sophistication only challenged by a 3 piece suit. There is an air to double breasted garments that for some reason just exudes style.

There are several types of DB, as shown below varying in their form of closure.

The Carnaby St high closure.

The Carnaby St high closure.

This style is classic English Carnaby st of the 60’s in style fastening very high, and usually requires a bold colour as a tie to add some contrast. This style is almost exclusively a suit.

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The classic “6 by 4” closure

This is the “classic” double breasted in style with 6 buttons visible and 4 appearing to close (although only 2 do, the others are decorative”. This version is great both as a suit as shown here by Denzel in American Gangster, but also as a sports coat as below.

Double Breasted sports coat done to perfection.

Double Breasted sports coat done to perfection.

The low closure is the one often seen as the DB of the 90’s due to its use in that time, but in recent times has been refreshed by the likes of Rubinacci and can look good but is fraught with danger

The single closure, often worn in a baggier style with pleated trouser in the Dark days

The single closure, often worn in a baggier style with pleated trouser in the Dark days. Not my favourite look!!!

ORIGINS

The double breasted jacket traces its origins back to the imperial British Navy as a way of ensuring warmth on the cold decks of ships by way of the overlapping closure. Even today the classic navy blazer is rich with the Navy heritage from the name of the colour, to the “anchor” button on the inside of the jacket to prevent its flapping open. This then found it’s way into the army trenches then into hunting attire before making its appearance in the classic suit iteration in the 1920’s and 30’s.

An original Navy Double breasted

An original Navy Double breasted

THE DARK DAYS

After it’s heydays in the 1920’s and 30’s and a re-emergence in the 1950’s the double breasted was reinvented for the 1980’s and 90’s in a way the ruined its elegance for years. These versions of the style were oversized at the shoulders, minimal shaping at the waist and a low single closure that added very little of elegance to a man’s shape. this was magnified by many wearing this style un-buttoned, eliminating any semblance of fit to the style.

The stereotypical 80's or 90's styled DB.

The stereotypical 80’s or 90’s style, as Jordan Belfort would have worn.

THE NEW BREED

The renaissance of this style by today’s cognoscenti has developed many bold new styles and interpretations of this great piece. One only has to look back at many of the photos from Pitti Uomo to see how prevalent DB’s have become!

HOW TO WEAR:THE RULES

To wear the double breasted well, a few simple rules should be followed. The single most important being; it must always be done up, at least by the anchor button. Due to the additional fabric from the overlapping closure, even the most fitted DB looks like a sack if not done up, ruining the lines it should create.

This leads to point two, wear this garment as fitted as you can. If you don’t like fitted garments, don’t wear DB’s. The elegance of the modern DB is how it slims at the waist and adds gravitas to the wearer by highlighting broad shoulders and slim waist lines, so wearing them loose defeats the purpose.

Never wear it too long, a DB should just cover the seat and no more in order to avoid the “too much fabric” look

If wearing as a suit, always wear a tie. This rule is much more flexible than the others, but until you have a handle on wearing a DB suit, wearing a tie always sets off a DB perfectly.

WHERE TO BUY

As a huge part of the look is based on the fit, I am a huge advocate of having your double breasted garments tailor made for you. Not only will this garment fit perfectly, but you are able to specify the small details such as buttons and more importantly have access to 1000’s of fabric choices.

As far as off the rack goes, MJ Bale in Australia have a great selection of DB jackets, while Harrolds stock some amazing DB’s from international labels like Kiton, Brioni and Caruso. Zegna and Canali always offer high quality options too. Ralph Lauren has always been a champion of the DB and still has some of the best OTR options as do Brooks Brothers.

Although they haven’t been included in this piece, double breasted coats of different styles have always been a huge part of men’s wardrobes, from trench coats to chesterfields and peacoats and should also be embraced for colder times