The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Friday Guest Blog: Dressing for the occasion

by Nick Hartshorne-Evans and the Team at Nicholas Jones Bespoke in Manchester

“It’s always the simple things in life that are difficult to get right”

This is very true and definitely relates to your choice of clothing. What you wear in terms of colour, texture and fit has a definite influence in how people perceive you.

Now this may sound very blunt but whether your clothing stimulates mutterings or just subconsciously flicks switches (remember these can be positive or negative) then it is worthwhile thinking about what you wear, the impression it gives and how your imported skin can affect the people you have relationships with whether it be business, pleasure or leisure.

What I will be giving you is some tips on how to ensure that you get the best out of your suit purchases. There are lots of rules that are archived in the vaults of tailoring history and they are not all necessarily correct. An example of this is that if you have a large frame steer clear of checks as they accentuate width. What isn’t taken into consideration here is fabric weight, texture and colours which considerably alter the equation. Being a person with a large frame myself, one of my best suits is a check and people generally ask where I got it from, for positive reasons of course.

Below is a list of guidelines, nothing too technical, to help you make an educated decision when buying a suit:
  • Straight Pockets on a jacket can cut you in half if you are shorter than the average – therefore go for slant pockets that accentuate your height.
  • The question of how many buttons at the front always crops up. For a classic look go for a two button jacket with notch lapels, three buttons is always more business orientated although for a casual jacket three buttons can work well with a notch lapel. For a real contemporary feel plumb for a one button with peak lapels, the jacket is cut with more shape and the jacket swings appealingly especially when accompanied with a peak lapel. If you have a large frame then generally steer clear of double breasted jackets – however if the wrap is small then they can work for you but they need to be well tailored.
  • Pinstripes can be very flattering but be careful as everything works through proportion – as a general rule keep the stripe under an inch between each stripe and not too bold.
  • Keep the jacket lapel in proportion to your shape – the shorter you are the narrower the lapel and vice versa.
  • For a jacket to be waisted it doesn’t have to be tight – it just needs to be well tailored – jackets that are pulling at the front look worse than anything else.
  • One of the most important aspects of a suit is how it hangs from the shoulders – if it is wrong then no matter what you do it won't look right. A jacket depends on the shoulders to hang from so therefore make sure that the “point to point measurement” which is the measurement between the two sleeve seams across the back of the jacket across the top of the shoulders is correct. This is a common problem when buying a suit as you may find this is too wide but then may go down a size to get it right and find it is too tight. This is a real problem with suits off the peg.
  • When buying a suit, if you have a larger frame then always try to plumb for a medium to heavyweight cloth as modern lightweight fabrics show all the bumps and curves. Medium to heavyweight cloths tend to have a better drape.
  • Flat fronted trousers give a cleaner more contemporary feel. Pleated trousers help more with the stout shape but saying that pleats also compliment tweed suits better than flat fronts.
  • Try not to wear a belt with a suit, if you ask yourself honestly this is probably because they don’t fit you. The belt provides a focal point which is not the focal point you want people to be looking at – if you can find trousers without belt loops then these create a cleaner profile. Belts give the effect of chopping you in half.
  • Pockets aren’t great at the back of trousers as you can create a cleaner shape without them because there is no pocketing inside the trouser which can bulge.
  • Turn ups are only for double breasted suits not single breasted suits.
  • Try not to use the exterior pockets on your jacket – you may find that pockets have been loosely stitched. This is done because they then retain their shape.

Above is a list of some very simple guidelines to take into account when buying a suit. If you buy off the peg then you will encounter one or more of these above. If you go to a tailor and remember go to a reputable one then all these points should be covered off without the tailor thinking about it and you knowing why the question has been asked.

If you would like to ask any questions then please feel free to tweet @NicolaTheFiat on Twitter, call us on 0161 834 4992 or visit our website at and we are more than happy to give you some complimentary advice.

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