10 things to know when buying a bespoke suit
Samrat Amarnani, MD of Collars & Cuffs in Dubai, explains what you need to know when going to a tailor.
They say that a fitted suit on a man is to a woman what lingerie on a woman is to a man. We're not sure who 'they' are, but we're 100 per cent sure that they are correct.
First of all, congratulations. You've steered away from off-the-rack suits and are at least considering a tailor-made body of armour. Maybe you're in the market for a tuxedo - dinner jackets in particular look fantastic when they're custom made.
Before you head off to the tailor though and dive head first into the world of bespoke suits, you need to understand some basic pointers. So we asked Samrat Amarnani, MD of Collars & Cuffs in Dubai, to explain the 10 things you need to know.
1. Establish its purpose
You should think about this aspect first. Every garment is bought to serve a purpose and you need to establish what you will be using your suit for. Do you need to make an impression in the board room? Is it for a festive occasion or social event? Are you going to be wearing it while travelling? Each consideration should influence the style, cut and material of your suit.
2. Find the perfect tailor
Finding a perfect suit means finding the perfect tailor. Look around a number of tailoring outlets and speak to the managers. Personal interactions are the most valuable way of informing whether you are likely to be able to build a good relationship with them.
Request testimonials and ask friends about their tailoring experiences, good or bad. Choosing a tailor you can trust could be the start of a lifelong sartorial partnership.
3. Choose your type of fabric
The foundation of your suit is its fabric. Taking the time to select the right material for your budget is extremely important. Ask your tailor about the advantages and disadvantages of different fabrics, but be aware of false economy by spending too little and getting a suit that doesn’t look as good as you had hoped and doesn’t wear as well. A 100 per cent wool suit is natural, breathes well, and is also extremely stylish.
4. Select the colour of your fabric
If you put on a suit after having made a bad colour choice, you won’t be wearing it, it will be wearing you; it will be drawing attention to you for all the wrong reasons. You should choose your suit’s colour with great care, even when selecting the conventional greys, blacks and beiges.
Light grey suits and beige suits can be very attractive, but they can also show marks easily. A black suit can be a good choice for someone with a larger girth, but it might be too sombre for a festive occasion. A navy suit can be very versatile, but it can also accentuate pale skin.
Your sense of style, degree of personal swagger and your accessories will make a difference, but the most important aspect of the look is the fit.
5. Choose your style
When creating your style you need to take into account your body type as well as the occasions where it will be worn. Do you want single-breasted or double-breasted? Is a waistcoat important? Do you need elaborate button-holes?
The advantage of using the services of a bespoke tailor is that it is an ongoing consultation process throughout the selection and fitting. A good tailor can advise you of what he thinks works for you.
6. Accessorise for effect
Accessorising your suit effectively will definitely enhance your look. The right pocket handkerchief can bring out the colour of your eyes. A lapel pin or cuff link can arrest people’s attention and accent areas on your garment.
7. Insist on hand-stitched details
On a traditional bespoke suit, the button holes and cuffs should be created by hand, not by machine. Similarly, the lining on the bottom of the jacket should be hand-finished. If you are paying for a bespoke suit, you should be receiving these traditional touches.
8. Factor in proportion and balance
If someone is creating a bespoke suit for you, they need to be aware of your stature and poise. You might be drop-shouldered, lean forward, or stand over-erect. If such posture and body dynamic issues aren’t taken into account, the buttons and button holes of the suit won’t be in alignment, resulting in creasing when they are done up.
A good tailor will assess your posture and body attitude to find any quirks that will affect the design of your suit.
9. Go for a close cut
The suit was made for you and should therefore look like it was made for you. It should appear snugly fitted but shouldn’t feel tight or restrict movement, especially in the arms. A correctly fitted suit will feel both feel comfortable but not look too roomy on you.
10. Don’t be boring
If you are having a suit made, why not push yourself a little out of your comfort zone? Try something a bit different that maybe you might not have considered. Be prepared to mix fabrics and designs, but always use your tailor for advice. He will have years of experience and will know whether something works or not.
Use his valuable opinions to create your unique design. Overall, choosing a suit should be fun!