How a Men’s Suit Should FIT
Wardrobe stylist Jessica Cadmus, AKA Wardrobe Whisperer, joins with us weekly to answer your style questions. Have a query? Send to email@example.com
Q: In your column last week, you mentioned Don Draper. I’m over 6′ tall and work hard to stay fit yet I never look like he does in a suit. What am I doing wrong?
A: I find myself asking God a similar question when I see Gigi Hadid in a swimsuit. Part of it is genetics but the other part is using clothing to our best advantage. The most effective way to do this, especially with suits, is to concentrate first on fit.
The primary area of focus when trying on any suit is the shoulders. It’s the one and only area that can’t be altered. If your tailor says he can do it, run away and don’t look back. Messing with the shoulders will always throw off the lines of the suit. With that in mind, get in front of a full length mirror, slip on the jacket (make sure to wear a button- down so you can judge properly), and let your arms rest at your side. Have your companion or the salesperson stand behind you and see where the shoulder seam rests. The end of the seam should meet the end of your shoulder. If the seam hangs over, the suit is too big and you should go down a size. Remember that most suit fabrics “grow” as the day goes on because the fibers loosen. So if, at first, the jacket feels too tight (but the shoulder seam is correct), it’s most likely your proper size. As for the pants, make sure the waist is close fitting but not straining nor gapping. If you have either of those problems, have the tailor adjust accordingly. Then tell him to finish the hem with “little to no break.” I recommend using the in-house tailor whenever possible because if a problem occurs and you are unhappy, a reputable store will cover its own merchandise.
In general, I find that men wear suits that are at least one size too big. I blame this on the gravitational pull of comfort. But there’s a reason we can’t wear PJs to work. (No, not even on casual Friday.) Trust me, there’s something about wearing a proper fitting suit that provides a sense of occasion and purpose when you’re heading to the office. And if the result also yields appreciative glances from those you pass on the way, that’s okay too.
Jessica Cadmus, the Wardrobe Whisperer, is a former Goldman Sachs employee who is now a wardrobe stylist and personal shopper. She is recognized as an industry expert on dressing Wall Street professionals. She has appeared on Bloomberg’s Rewind with Matt Miller and has been interviewed by Wall Street Journal’s FINS.com. She is ready for your style questions. You can send them here and check this recurring column for a response: firstname.lastname@example.org
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