I have recently been over in LA fitting various people for the Golden Globes and the Oscars. The most frequent question I was asked was “what makes the perfect suit?”
The first step is finding the right tailor. It needs to be someone you can relate to. They must understand your personality and how to display that through your style. You need to be comfortable around them. If you’re not, you won’t stand the way you normally would. As a result, your suit won’t fit as well as it could.
For the Oscars we set up our own area in one of the bungalows at the Chateau Marmont. It was specifically designed to relax our customers – including P Diddy and Benedict Cumberbatch. We were striving to create the perfect, relaxed environment, which is exactly what a tailor needs.
It’s essential to know what occasion the item is for when you’re tailoring the perfect suit. The pieces we took to LA were much more glamorous than a lot of our stock – always make sure you tell your tailor where and how often you intend to wear it. There is a big difference between a suit for a wedding and one for the office – a good tailor will be able to help you choose something appropriate.
When trying on a suit, your first impressions are vital. If it’s too tight and too small, how small? There are limits on how much a jacket can be tailored. A canvas product should always fit reasonably well, so you need to find the right one for you – even Lawrence Dallaglio fits into our canvas products.
Once your suit has been pinned back, how can you tell if it has been fitted correctly? An excellent suit should flow from your shoulders. If your shoulder doesn’t fit, neither will the rest of your suit.
Always check the length. When your arms are hanging straight down, you should be able to cup your fingers under the sides of your suit jacket. If not, mark this as an area for alteration.
The most vital thing with trousers is the rise. This is the distance between the crotch and waistband. We are all proportioned differently and so we all require a different rise. The waistband should fit comfortably but not snugly. The seat should follow your own contours – you don’t want to get a wedgie every time you wear them.
When you go back into the store to collect following the alterations, make sure you try it on. No tailor will be offended if you ask for more corrections. After all, we are in the business of making sure you look good and feel comfortable.
The most important bit of advice I can give a man buying a suit is to stay true to yourself and don’t try too hard. A good look is an effortless look. One of my aims when I started Spencer Hart was for wearers to be complimented about how good they look but for it not to be wholly obvious why.
Nick Hart is the founder of Spencer Hart. His flagship store is located on Brook St and he has branches on Savile Row and in Selfridges. Log on to spencerhart.com for more details